All About Injection Molding in the Medical Industry

Intro

Injection molding is a commonly used style of manufacturing. It’s a great way to create low-cost units at high throughputs. In a highly competitive environment, this method can help a lot. This leads us to the topic of today’s posts: injection molding machines in the medical industry.

We’ll cover a little bit about injection molding, how it’s used in the medical industry, and some of the reasons why it’s so popular in that space. Some medical companies are completely reliant on injection molding, and you’ll learn why in a moment.

What Is Injection Molding?

Injection molding is a manufacturing process. It entails pouring molten plastic into a hollow piece of metal. The metal piece is called a mold, and it has a negative image of the part you’re looking to make.

The plastic is pumped into the mold, then cooled. Once it cools down, the once-liquid plastic becomes a solid piece that’s bonded together.

The part then gets pushed out of the mold, clearing up the mold for the next round of molten plastic. This process can continue for days on end, and each unit might only take a few seconds or minutes to complete.

Unlike 3D printing or CNC machining, injection molding operations require a lot of equipment, experience, and upfront costs to manufacture. Due to these reasons, most medical companies will partner with an external manufacturing company to handle all of their injection molding.

How Injection Molding Is Used in the Medical Industry

In the medical industry, an injection molder can be used for countless operations. It’s a way to mass-produce a part, so it typically isn’t used for prototyping or designs that aren’t matured. Instead, it’s reserved for parts that you want to make millions of.

In our experience, we’ve had medical companies use our injection molding services to make unique tools, one-off disposable instruments, housings for different medical equipment, and inserts. These parts can either be used in the field, during R&D, or sold directly to consumers.

To reiterate, these medical companies work with a manufacturer that handles all of the injection molding, that way the company doesn’t need to do it on their own.

Benefits of Injection Molding in the Medical Industry

So why might a medical company seek a manufacturing partner for injection molding? There are a few big reasons. All of the benefits have to do with how well injection molding compliments the unique needs of companies in the medical industry.

Low-Cost

One of the best features of an injection molding machine is how inexpensively it can make parts. It’s common to pay only pennies for a part when it comes from one of these machines.

It has to do with the volume that the machine operates at. After buying enough units, you’re essentially just paying for the raw material that goes into the mold to make the part. With the current prices of plastics, that can be as low as just a few cents (depending on the total volume and complexity). 

This is useful for companies that sell directly to consumers or operations that use the parts in-house, alike. In almost every application, keeping the price low can be paramount for a medical project. 

Fast Turnarounds

There aren’t any other manufacturing options that can deliver a big order in such a quick turnaround time. With injection molding, you could get thousands of units delivered to your facility within a week. Depending on the size and throughput of the manufacturer, that number can get even higher.

If you want a new product to hit the ground running, then fast turnarounds will help you get a bigger market share. The same is true for more mature designs that just need to get in front of consumers even faster.

With faster turnarounds, you can enjoy the benefits of having product in your facility. Through injection molding, medical industries get parts even faster.

High Volume Production

Another benefit of injection molding is its ability to produce batches of large volumes. We mentioned this a few times, but injection molders are designed to quickly produce parts and continue producing units 24/7. We’ve worked with companies that ordered hundreds of thousands of units through us annually.

Regardless of the project’s demands, it’s likely that an injection molding operation can keep up. In the medical industry, high volumes are commonplace. Think about something as simple as a syringe. The plastic housing needs to be created somehow. Moreover, billions of these housings need to be made every year to keep up with demand.

Through injection molding, this is possible. To create the same volume of product using a CNC machine or 3D printer simply isn’t possible.

Conclusion

As you just learned, injection molding allows medical companies to create products faster, at a lower cost, and at higher volume than ever before. Thanks to the wide material selection, more and more medical companies are turning to this manufacturing method in order to improve their market share. 

If you want to get started with your own injection molding operation today, reach out to our team at Rapid Axis. We can create the tooling and run your product at whatever rates you specify. We are experts in this space, so you’ll be able to enjoy faster turnarounds and lower prices when you choose Rapid Axis

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