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Innovation | medical


Customers in the medical industry want devices that work better and cost less. Automated plastics manufacturing can satisfy these demands, reports Chris Smith


Making medical parts better


Global demand for medical devices continues to grow and plastics play a large part in that growth. But this is a highly regulated market sector. Medical devices must be produced to the most demanding standards of performance and cleanliness and very often at output rates that would be considered demanding even by producers of disposable packaging. Medical device manufacturers and their suppliers


are, however, not exempt from the pressure to deliver cost reductions. Automation is essential, as is the use of innovative manufacturing processes that make it possible to eliminate not only labour but also unnecessary production processes and materials consumption. This article takes a look at some of the latest innovations in polymer-based medical device manufacturing and product design. Production of injection cannulas and syringes is one of the most highly automated areas of medical manufacturing. But German mouldmaker and automation specialist Zahoransky has shown it is still possible to further simplify manufacturing in its latest disposable cannula production system. The conventional approach to cannula production is to bond the steel needle into the injection moulded Luer lock barrel


www.injectionworld.com


using adhesive, a complex multi-step process. Zahoran- sky has eliminated the need for adhesives by using a highly automated direct overmoulding process. The new approach eliminates the bonding process,


together with the need for UV bondable curing adhe- sives. But more importantly, according to Zahoransky, the adoption of an inline production technology minimises rejects, simplifi es quality assurance and improves the reliability of the entire manufacturing process. “There can no longer be any contamination due to harmful particles, as the needle is no longer inserted into the Luer lock barrel,” says Zahoransky’s head of business development and sales of systems engineering Berthold Schopfer, “In addition, the risk of soiling the barrel is reduced and the danger of injury from handling the needle is eliminated.”


Benefi ts of automation Full automation of the process presents a further benefi t in that orientation of the Luer lock barrel is maintained at every stage, with no need for reorientation of parts at any point in the process. Schopfer says this makes further processing easier and results in greater freedom in cannula design. Zahoransky demonstrated its latest


Main image:


Diagnostics is a fast growing area for medical


plastics. The fi ne fl uid


channels use


capillary action to drive reagants


around the chip


Left: Over- moulded disposable injection needles produced on a Zahoransky rotary system


September 2013 | INJECTION WORLD 11


PHOTO: LPKF


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