As we have been a plastic manufacturer for over 35 years, we have been able to work with some of the biggest industries such as domestic, food and medical. Due to technology and design evolving over the years, it has become increasingly more popular for medical devices to be produced from plastic rather than conventional materials, such as metal. Medical equipment is getting lighter, smaller and more complex within design to fight disease, save lives and deliver medication.
Plastic in medical devices
The new lightweight devices and equipment is due to the replacement of metals by plastics, as well as some being replaced with newer polymer formulations, and some by designing hybrid devices that incorporate both materials. Many newer plastics can withstand harsh disinfectants and survive multiple sterilization environments with properties intact. A lot of metal replacement has already started over the last few years due to applications containing metal parts becoming more expensive compared to injection-moulded plastic parts.
The engineering manager for Bayer MaterialScience, Mark Yeager has said in an interview that: "Injection moulding can economically produce millions of identical parts with complex geometries. For this reason, plastics have already displaced metal in a wide array of applications in which the high cost of metal fabrication is prohibitive.
He added: "Plastics offer many advantages over formed metal for the housings of electronic devices. These include moulded-in colour, the ability to mould rounded and easy to clean shapes, impact resistance, insulating properties, moulded-in assembly features, reduced weight, and dent resistance."
One example of this type of plastic is the torque-applying instruments used in orthopaedic surgery to inset surgical screws. These are traditionally made from stainless steel which could be easily cleaned, reprocessed and recalibrated after each surgery. Now, rather than using a stainless steel instrument with a silicone over-moulded handle, new versions are being made almost entirely of plastic.
It is becoming rare to see formed metal in medical devices, except those produced in very small quantities. Yeager said: "But even in these low production devices, we are seeing movement toward plastic because of the design freedom moulding provides and the many opportunities to mould in features that can eliminate secondary assembly steps and finishing."
We believe the use of plastic within the medical industry is extremely beneficial and cost effective for clients. At Coda Plastics we provide complete injection moulding solutions for our medical packaging ensuring your plastic product or device is ready for manufacturing. We use state of the art tools and have a highly experienced team to help you through the initial concept phase right through to the early functional testing.
If you would like further information on our services, call us on 01692 501020 and we will be more than happy to assist you.