Donna Bibber, CEO of Isometric Micro Molding Inc., recently participated in a virtual event for the Society for Plastics Engineers (SPE) Medical Plastics Division. The SPE Medical Plastics Division encourages the interchange of technical and regulatory information on polymer materials/components used in medical devices among engineers and others working in medical device and related industries. (For more information on the Medical Plastics Division of SPE: https://mpd.4spe.org/)
With a mass movement towards self-care, targeted delivery, and remote patient monitoring, medical and drug delivery devices are becoming smaller and smarter. To meet the explosive demand for these less invasive, portable, and miniaturized wearable health devices, scalability is paramount for commercializing platforms using miniaturized, highly precise micro molded components and automated assemblies.
The virtual presentation, “Miniaturized Device Platforms Accelerating MedTech Growth” outlined state-of-the-industry constraints and boundary-pushing case studies in size, materials, and aspect ratios that enable existing and near-future miniaturized MedTech devices. It also discussed product platforms (a set of common technical components, parts, or technology) and the advantages associated with them including increased speed in developing new products, reducing development costs and the ability to upgrade products easily. Examples of miniaturized device platforms include lab-on-a chip, wearables and implants, and robotic surgery.
Both theoretical and empirical-based data addressed science and rigor in producing and validating micron tolerance miniaturized devices. The webinar provided attendees with the following take-aways:
• How to achieve theoretically impossible aspect ratios and thin-walled vessels in PEEK, FEP, and other challenging-to-mold resins
• Scaling platform miniaturized parts and assemblies using high speed automation to produce 1–2-micron positional accuracy and 1.33 Cpk
• State of the art micro injection molded 3 micron wide/deep microfluidic channels
• Methods of manufacturing microneedle arrays with 2-micron molded sharpness
• How advancements in micro 3D printing technology enable faster design iterations and time-to-market speed
• How challenging resins like bioresorbable, silicone, and long-term implantable can be incorporated into micro medical and drug delivery devices