The different applications of plastics in medical devices and equipment have become so diverse and widespread that quality plastics—and therefore quality plastic manufacturing—are now essential to the delivery of life-saving healthcare.
More and more prosthetics and implants—knees and hip replacements, for example, and new heart valves—are made of sophisticated plastics that offer greater durability at less cost than the alternative materials. Single use objects (tubes, bags, bandages, and catheters among countless others) are also now routinely made of plastics because healthcare providers can replace plastic items more cheaply than they can sanitize items made of other materials. In short, wherever you look in a 21st century healthcare facility, you’re sure to see a device and equipment that relies in some way on plastic to lower costs while improving care.
But despite the staggering diversity of these items, all the applications of plastics in medical devices and equipment have something in common: the items have to be made right because people’s lives depend on them. If the manufacturing isn’t done with tight tolerances, strict documentation, and effective process validation, it isn’t just the providers who end up paying the price—it’s the patients.
So if you’re looking to start making the most of the applications of plastics in medical devices and equipment, here are some things to keep in mind to make sure patients always get the care they deserve.
1. Medical Performance Depends on the Tight Tolerances You Can Achieve with Injection Molding
For medical devices and device components to perform at the level providers and patients can rely on, they must be manufactured with extremely tight tolerances. This is particularly true for devices that leverage new and complex technology, but even long-existing technology depends on reliably precise manufacturing.
Meeting these high standards—not to mention meeting them every time—can be beyond the reach of manufacturers who don’t rely on injection molding. This technique, based on the injection of molten material into a mold, can produce devices of small dimensions with tight tolerances. Machining, additive manufacturing, and other processes cannot duplicate these results at any significant production volume.
2. Providers Can Quickly Implement Innovative Care Using Injection Molding
Thanks to injection molding manufacturing, healthcare providers can more quickly take advantage of new life-saving devices, components, and equipment developments than ever before.
That’s because injection molding speeds up the manufacturing process: after a simple prototype molding process to test new technology, it’s a quick leap to high volume production without the huge costs ordinarily associated with changing the manufacturing process.
This means that for high volume production, injection molding pays off quickly. But even at lower volumes, there are many cost-effective ways to produce the necessary parts at tight tolerances so that nobody has to let slow and expensive manufacturing stand in the way of excellent and innovative care.
3. Plastics Will Help You Deliver Cutting-Edge Healthcare
American medical manufacturing is one of the fastest growing sectors of the injection molding industry. That’s because the certified and safe resins available are strong, flexible, and durable—and therefore meet the standards required for a wide array of applications of plastics in medical devices and device components.
With more biodegradable and recycled plastic resins available than ever before, injection molding manufacturing is becoming an increasingly environmentally sustainable option. As a result, market demand and legislative support are both increasing, ensuring that plastics will only become more integral to the quality care that people can depend on.