Micro Molding FAQ's

ISOMETRIC 'S TEAM OF EXPERTS PROVIDE ANSWERS TO COMMON
MICRO MOLDING QUESTIONS, AS WELL AS INFORMATION ON ISOMETRIC'S KEY ELEMENTS TO CREATING SUCCESSFUL MINIATURIZATION SOLUTIONS.

What is Micro Molding?

There isn’t one agreed upon definition of micro molding.  Parts in overall size smaller than a pellet of resin clearly meet the visual criteria.  However, micro molding is also larger parts with critical fine features, micro holes, and tight tolerances.  

Is Micro Molding just smaller conventional molding? What are the differences?

No, there are significant differences between conventional molding and micro molding. First, it is the mindset. At Isometric, we talk microns every day, it is all that we have done for the past 33 years.  Specialized equipment to build the sub-micron capable molds, presses with specific controls for micro molding, micro automated assembly to keep positional accuracy down to +/- 1.5 microns, and 0.1-micron resolution CT scanning to validate components and assemblies all run by a highly experienced staff of experts.  Not to mention static solutions, bioburden reduction, proper handling, assembly, packaging, and measurement without damage or deflection.

Is Micro Molding more expensive?

No, micro molding may sound expensive, but it is competitive with conventional molding. 

Are lead times longer for Micro Molding?

No, similar to conventional molding lead times. 

Does Isometric make all of its micro molds?

Yes, making our micro molds in-house is THE Enabling factor.  Mold design and sub-micron accurate mold fabrication are the crucial first steps in creating a successful micro molded component and assembly. 

Is micro molding possible in multi-cavitation molds?

Yes, we create multi-cavitation molds to support high volume applications.  In addition, with our CT scanning technology, we can take high resolution point clouds of the molded parts from each cavity in Part A and each cavity in Part B and show assembly stack-ups of all cavity combinations.

How important is DfM (Design for Manufacturability) for micro molding projects?

DfM from the very beginning, including quoting, is vital to reducing development time and expensive design changes.  Isometrics’ 31 years of experience and Subject Matter Experts in miniaturization, micro tooling, micro molding, automation, and materials support our customers projects.  This can make Isometric look different from other companies, noting risks, creating alternatives, additional tooling costs and options, etc… where others may not say anything and run into these issues further in the project and after the mold is built.  Please ask yourself, when would you rather know and create solutions, early with Isometric or later with someone else? 

What are the highest risk factors Isometric sees in programs?

Not taking the time up front to evaluate DfX (Design for Excellence), DfM (Design for Manufacturability), and DfA (Design for Automation).  Aspects include resin selection, mold design, mold construction options, venting, gate style, gate size, surface finish, mold flow analysis, molding technology and equipment, resin residence time, static mitigation, part handling, inspection, packaging, assembly, etc.

Are resin pellets off-the-shelf or do you need custom/smaller resins?

No, Isometric can use standard resin pellets. 

What resins can be micro molded by Isometric?

All thermoplastic resins that are unfilled or highly filled, natural and colored.  Also, fluoropolymers, bioresorbables and liquid silicone rubber (LSR). 

Learn more about our materials and resins HERE.

Can Isometric provide resin assistance for implants and other applications?

Yes, Isometric has Subject Matter Experts on staff who can provide resin suggestions.  Ultimately, the customer choses the resin.

What is the thinnest wall thickness that can be micro molded by Isometric?

We have molded less than .001″ (25 microns) wall thicknesses. 

What is the longest aspect ratio molded at Isometric?

While our longest has been 400:1, we have also achieved an impressive accomplishment of 208:1 in PEEK with a .006″ (152 microns) wall thickness.  Each situation is unique based on wall thickness and distance of flow, resin, gating, venting and geometry.  Isometric continually pushes beyond what has been done before and far surpasses published aspect ratios. 

How small of a feature can be micro molded by Isometric?

 3 microns in standing steel.

How tight of tolerances can be micro molded by Isometric?

We have a current project that is +/- 1 micron.  Typical tolerances are larger than this. 

What is the smallest hole micro molded by Isometric?

.003” (75μ) lumen diameter

What are the smallest and largest parts micro molded by Isometric?

The smallest part Isometric has molded is 1/1,000 the size of a pellet of resin and we are currently working on 3 parts that will be 1/2,000 the size of a pellet of resin, that is 2,000 parts from 1 pellet of resin for scale.  The largest part we can mold with micro features or tight tolerances is 7″ in length. 

What surface finish can be accomplished?

Surface finish is a very important aspect to micro molding, overall part success, and the ability to validate. Isometric can create A2 surface finishes without diamond turning. A3 surface finishes are fairly common for Isometric’s micro molds and for comparison, conventional molds are in the C range of surface finish. 

How does Isometric risk mitigate micro molding projects?

Isometric has a comprehensive Business Continuity Plan, as well as our Microns Matter® PFMEA process for all projects.  This internally created, powerful Microns Matter process addresses the individual contributors to hitting tight tolerances by controlling Tooling accuracy to 20%, Gauge R&R to 20%, Molding Process to 20%, Material Lot differences to 10%, Material Drying to 10%, and 20% for overages of the tolerance. 

Learn more about our Microns Matter PFMEA process HERE.

How is CT scanning different than vision inspection?

CT scanning down to 0.1 micron resolution is a vital tool in validating a part or assembly.  Not only goes CT scanning eliminate Gage R&R variability and create a high resolution point cloud of the part that can be compared to the original CAD model to see all dimensions, not just toleranced dimensions on a drawing, it creates a life long part retain.  Time, temperature, packaging of a physical part will never change the high resolution point cloud.  So parts from year 1 and year 10 can be compared.  Also, since the part can be x-rayed we can get internal dimensions without destructive sectioning that can warp dimensions. 

Is there specialized equipment for micro molding at Isometric?

Yes, Isometric has heavily invested in micro tooling, micro molding, micro 3D printing, robots, and CT scanning to support the entirety of the micro molding process. 

Can we watch our parts being micro molded?

Yes, Isometric is an open and collaborative partner that welcomes you to watch your parts being molded.  You can audit our manufacturing floor as well. 

Does Isometric have a clean room? If so, what class?

Yes, Class 7 (10,000) 

Is Isometric ISO 13485 certified?

Yes, since 2014.

Where is Isometric located?

Isometric has 2 facilities in New Richmond, Wisconsin USA, just outside of Minneapolis / St. Paul. 

How are micro sized parts handled and assembled?

Handling without damage, adding bioburden, and keeping micron positional accuracy all while mitigating static has been developed over time.  Taking the part from the mold and placing it into assembly automation  is a significant cost savings for our customers.  Reestablishing datum structures after molding can be difficult, cause part damage, and add bioburden.  

What are Isometric's automated assembly capabilities?

Isometric can perform a wide range of automated processes for micro assemblies. Some of these processes include tight tolerance component assembly, ultrasonic welding, laser welding, heat staking, thermo-compression bonding, micro epoxy dispensing, laser ablation, and wafer die processing. Isometric is also able to integrate 100% in-line inspection, testing, and final product packaging into automated processes as well. 

Does Isometric provide Industry 4.0 data?

Yes, Isometric provides Industry 4.0 data from our automation systems.  This data is a power tool for our customers to design better components and device platforms.  

Does Isometric provide 100% in-line inspection?

Isometric has 100% in-line inspection with our assembly automation projects. 

What is Isometric's validation protocol?

C=0/AQL 1.0 

Can Isometric micro mold microfluidics or fluidic channels?

Yes, Isometric has vast experience with microfluidics and molds a microfluidic channel 3 microns in size.  That also means we created a 3 micron curved standing feature in the micro mold and can mold without damaging that fragile feature. 

Can Isometric micro mold needles and other sharps with and without holes?

Yes, Isometric has molded high volume and a variety of sharps with and without holes. 

Can Isometric micro mold fluoropolymer resins?

Yes, and Isometric understands the special requirements and difficulties to be successful. 

Can Isometric micro mold bioresorbable resins?

Yes, Isometric has a significant number of projects in bioresorbable molding. 

Micro Molding FAQ's

There isn’t one agreed upon definition of micro molding.  Parts in overall size smaller than a pellet of resin clearly meet the visual criteria.  However, micro molding is also larger parts with critical fine features, micro holes, and tight tolerances.  

No, there are significant differences between conventional molding and micro molding. First, it is the mindset. At Isometric, we talk microns every day, it is all that we have done for the past 33 years.  Specialized equipment to build the sub-micron capable molds, presses with specific controls for micro molding, micro automated assembly to keep positional accuracy down to 2 microns, and 0.1 micro CT scanning to validate components and assemblies all run by a highly experienced staff of experts.  Not to mention static solutions, bioburden reduction, proper handling, assembly, packaging, and measurement without damage or deflection.  

No, micro molding may sound expensive, but it is competitive with conventional molding. 

No, similar to conventional molding lead times. 

Yes, making our micro molds in-house is THE Enabling factor.  Mold design and sub-micron accurate mold fabrication are the crucial first steps in creating a successful micro molded component and assembly. 

Yes, we create multi-cavitation molds to support high volume applications.  In addition, with our CT scanning technology, we can take high resolution point clouds of the molded parts from each cavity in Part A and each cavity in Part B and show assembly stack-ups of all cavity combinations.  

DfM from the very beginning, including quoting, is vital to reducing development time and expensive design changes.  Isometrics’ 31 years of experience and Subject Matter Experts in miniaturization, micro tooling, micro molding, automation, and materials support our customers projects.  This can make Isometric look different from other companies, noting risks, creating alternatives, additional tooling costs and options, etc… where others may not say anything and run into these issues further in the project and after the mold is built.  Please ask yourself, when would you rather know and create solutions, early with Isometric or later with someone else? 

Not taking the time up front to evaluate DfX (Design for Excellence), DfM (Design for Manufacturability), and DfA (Design for Automation).  Aspects include resin selection, mold design, mold construction options, venting, gate style, gate size, surface finish, mold flow analysis, molding technology and equipment, resin residence time, static mitigation, part handling, inspection, packaging, assembly, etc.

No, Isometric can use standard resin pellets. 

All thermoplastic resins that are unfilled or highly filled, natural and colored.  Also, fluoropolymers, bioresorbables and liquid silicone rubber (LSR). 

Learn more about our materials and resins HERE.

Yes, Isometric has two material Subject Matter Experts on staff and can provide resin suggestions.  Ultimately, the customer choses the resin. 

We have molded less than .001″ (25 microns) wall thicknesses. 

While our longest has been 400:1, we have also achieved an impressive accomplishment of 208:1 in PEEK with a .006″ (152 microns) wall thickness.  Each situation is unique based on wall thickness and distance of flow, resin, gating, venting and geometry.  Isometric continually pushes beyond what has been done before and far surpasses published aspect ratios. 

We have a current project that is +/- 1 micron.  Typical tolerances are larger than this. 

The smallest part Isometric has molded is 1/1,000 the size of a pellet of resin and we are currently working on 3 parts that will be 1/2,000 the size of a pellet of resin, that is 2,000 parts from 1 pellet of resin for scale.  The largest part we can mold with micro features or tight tolerances is 7″ in length. 

Surface finish is a very important aspect to micro molding, overall part success, and the ability to validate. Isometric can create A2 surface finishes without diamond turning. A3 surface finishes are fairly common for Isometric’s micro molds and for comparison, conventional molds are in the C range of surface finish. 

Isometric has a comprehensive Business Continuity Plan, as well as our Microns Matter® PFMEA process for all projects.  This internally created, powerful Microns Matter® PFMEA process addresses the individual contributors to hitting tight tolerances by controlling Tooling accuracy to 20%, Gauge R&R to 20%, Molding Process to 20%, Material Lot differences to 10%, Material Drying to 10%, and 20% for overages of the tolerance. 

Learn more about our Microns Matter® PFMEA process HERE.

CT scanning down to 0.1 micron resolution is a vital tool in validating a part or assembly.  Not only goes CT scanning eliminate GR&R variability and create a high resolution point cloud of the part that can be compared to the original CAD model to see all dimensions, not just toleranced dimensions on a drawing, it creates a life long part retain.  Time, temperature, packaging of a physical part will never change the high resolution point cloud.  So parts from year 1 and year 10 can be compared.  Also, since the part can be x-rayed we can get internal dimensions without destructive sectioning that can warp dimensions. 

Yes, Isometric has heavily invested in micro tooling, micro molding, micro 3D printing, robots, and CT scanning to support the entirety of the micro molding process. 

Yes, Isometric is an open and collaborative partner that welcomes you to watch your parts being molded.  You can audit our manufacturing floor as well. 

Isometric has 2 facilities in New Richmond, Wisconsin USA, just outside of Minneapolis / St. Paul. 

Handling without damage, adding bioburden, and keeping micron positional accuracy all while mitigating static has been developed over time.  Taking the part from the mold and placing it into assembly automation  is a significant cost savings for our customers.  Reestablishing datum structures after molding can be difficult, cause part damage, and add bioburden.  

Isometric can perform a wide range of automated processes for micro assemblies. Some of these processes include tight tolerance component assembly, ultrasonic welding, laser welding, heat staking, thermo-compression bonding, micro epoxy dispensing, laser ablation, and wafer die processing. Isometric is also able to integrate 100% in-line inspection, testing, and final product packaging into automated processes as well. 

Yes, Isometric provides Industry 4.0 data from our automation systems.  This data is a power tool for our customers to design better components and device platforms.  

Isometric has 100% in-line inspection with our assembly automation projects. 

Yes, Isometric has vast experience with microfluidics and molds a microfluidic channel 3 microns in size.  That also means we created a 3 micron curved standing feature in the micro mold and can mold without damaging that fragile feature. 

Yes, Isometric has molded high volume and a variety of sharps with and without holes. 

Yes, and Isometric understands the special requirements and difficulties to be successful. 

Yes, a significant number of projects in bioresorbable molding. 

Contact Us

Reach out to discuss your project with one of our Micro Molding Experts.

Pop Up Form