Medical Musings: Micro features and more from ANTEC

Colocation of the National Plastics Exposition with the Annual Technical Conference of the Society of Plastics Engineers creates a great synergy, at least in my opinion. If you were interested in a particular subject, such as medical plastics, there were technical presentations at ANTEC and opportunities to see examples of technology and processing on the floor at NPE2012, held last month in Orlando, Florida.

Attendance at ANTEC last month was 1432, a bump of 9% over the conference at NPE2009. There were a total of 623 papers this year. Of this, 512 were podium presentations, 31 were professional poster presentations, and 80 were student posters. Importantly, the student presence this year was especially strong—in fact, a record for recent years.

Here are some examples of the some of the interesting medical papers at ANTEC:

  • Researchers at Lehigh University discussed the role of micro features in bioengineering in a paper titled: "Micro Injection Molding of Polymers for Biomimickry of Organ Tissue". Parts with microfeatures can be used to direct and control the biological activity of cells. "Cells are equipped with a mechanical sensitivity to their environment, in which they can turn a mechanical cue into an internal chemical signal to initiate cell migration and even differentiation," according to the paper.
  • Speakers from Desma and KUZ in Leipzig reviewed a new development in liquid silicone rubber injection molding in "High Precision Micro Molding Injection of 2-Component Liquid Silicone". They reported that a new approach developed by IKV Aachen improves precision while reducing waste and cycle times. The new method uses a plunger for injection in place of a reciprocating screw. "Only the plunger principle can guarantee the high injection precision together with the homogenous and smooth handling of the thermoplastic materials," the authors state.
  • Two speakers from the University of Applied Sciences/ Schmalkalden in Germany reviewed special coatings for lubricant-free manufacturing in "Injection Molds In Cleanroom Environments". The authors recommend use of coatings for ejectors and bar elements or collapsible cores. "By use of suitable coating and surface technologies wear resistant, corrosion-resistant and well sliding surfaces are possible," they state. Coating systems of chrome nitride (CrN) and zirconium nitride (ZrN) with a carbon top layer showed the best properties.

ANTEC 2013 will be a standalone event held April 21-25 in Cincinnati, Ohio.



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