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In an effort to boost productivity, companies molding parts for medical applications increasingly favor the use of multicavity molds and larger injection molding machines, according to machine maker Engel (Schwertberg, Austria). At NPE2015, the company will demonstrate how a coordinated systems approach can achieve high levels of performance without affecting part quality, a fundamental requirement in the medical technology industry.

January 7, 2015

2 Min Read
NPE 2015: Engel showcases automated cleanroom molding of insulin pen component

In an effort to boost productivity, companies molding parts for medical applications increasingly favor the use of multicavity molds and larger injection molding machines, according to machine maker Engel (Schwertberg, Austria). At NPE2015, the company will demonstrate how a coordinated systems approach can achieve high levels of performance without affecting part quality, a fundamental requirement in the medical technology industry.

Insulin pen holder mold

At stand W1303, Engel, assisted by automation specialist Hekuma (Eching, Germany) and mold builder Braunform (Bahlingen, Germany), will mold needle holders for insulin pens. The cores of the 96-cavity mold measure just 0.3 mm in diameter; to prevent deformation of the small cores, the electric injection unit of the Engel e-motion 440/240 T US that will be running at the show is equipped with a direct drive that achieves injection speeds up to 500 mm/sec.

If the machine vision system detects a defective part, cavity-specific handling automatically separates the reject, allowing injection molding to continue without having to deactivate the cavity. The all-electric machine has a cycle time of approximately 3.5 sec.

Engel will have a second medical application on display at NPE2015 designed to illustrate how integrated processes can boost efficiency. An e-victory 310H/80W/50V/180 combo US three-component system will injection mold drip chambers with an integrated filter for blood transfusions. Combining ABS and PP components, the drip chambers are molded, fitted with the filter, and joined via overmolding in a single-step process.

In conventional methods, the two hollow-body components are individually injection molded, and the inlay is fitted and bonded in subsequent process steps. The one-shot process shown at the Engel stand reduces cycle times as well as the risk of contamination. The system also saves floor space, since multiple processes require several manufacturing cells. Other industries could benefit from this technology, notes Engel, citing fuel filters, which also are hollow bodies with an integrated inlay, as an example.

Moldmaker Hack Formenbau (Kirchheim, Germany) partnered with Engel for this application.

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