The art of injection-moulding has been around for decades. But over the years, the technique has become more refined and the materials more sophisticated. Today, it is possible to produce plastic details with maximum precision and accuracy in dimension and surface. However, new market demands are constantly challenging the production process. In this blog post, I will share 5 injection-moulding trends in the medtech industry and what we do at Microplast to keep up with the new demands.
1. Injection-moulded products produced in Europe are becoming more attractive
The last fifteen to twenty years, China has had a dominant position in mass production of injection-moulded plastic products, and many companies have outsourced their production to the country due to its low labour cost. But we are now starting to see companies returning their production to Europe because of quality reasons. Chinese medtech companies purchase moulding tools as well as injection-moulded plastic products from Europe because of the poor quality in their domestic market. At Microplast, process control and quality follow-up have always been an extremely important part of our production process to meet the most stringent requirements on quality. We follow appropriate ISO standards and ensure a high level of process management and control. Quality awareness permeates our entire operation.
2. Automation is leading the way for injection-moulding in the medtech industry
In recent years, a wave of automation has swept over the medtech industry worldwide. There is an ongoing trend to increase production efficiency with the benefits of reduced human labor costs, saved energy and materials – but more importantly – improved quality, accuracy, and precision. To meet the demands of tomorrow’s market, Microplast recently extended our production site in Sweden and made ambitious investments in the latest high-tech robots, injection-moulding machines and equipment for clean room manufacturing. This allows us to further increase and streamline our production of injection-moulded products.
3. More partners along the supply chain are realising the advantages of traceability
Traceability is an important factor in the production of medtech products, especially the small plastic details used inside the body, as non-compliant materials can be a matter of life or death for the patient. Today, more partners along the supply chain are realising the advantages of traceability. It is in multiple partners’ interests to comply with local and international policies and regulations, and reduce the risk of non-compliant materials entering the supply chain. Traceability also provides coordination between authorities and relevant bodies, and can be used as a method of stock control and monitoring. At Microplast, the injection moulding process is fully traceable, from the point at which the thermoplastics material is delivered to us, until the products are delivered to the end user. Every batch has its own unique identification, allowing it to be traced at any time through our database.
4. Higher demands on delivery precision and packaging of medtech products
We can see a clear trend where more customers place higher demands on delivery precision and packaging. Many companies want to maximise the efficiency of their logistics and have their products delivered to the door – sterilised, packaged and ready to use in a clinical situation. At Microplast, we now have the possibility to carry out the actual injection-moulding of the plastic products in clean rooms, where we also perform testing, product assembly, packaging and labelling. Thanks to our VMI system, we can also guarantee that our customers always have the right number of products at the right time.
5. Customers request a single source from design to manufacturing and distribution
Another strong trend in the medtech industry is that companies want to outsource not only the manufacturing, but the entire production process – to one single contract manufacturer. The reason is higher demands on work processes, documentation, quality, accuracy and precision. To meet this challenge, Microplast is offering a complete performance, meaning that we take care of everything from design and manufacturing to packaging, distribution and logistics. To us, an important part of this is working closely with our customers, especially in the design and development phase, bringing knowledge to the table and helping our customers make the right choices of materials and injection-moulding processes right from the start of their product’s life cycle.
We produce more than just a piece of plastic – we produce life-changing medical devices
At Microplast, we have been producing injection-moulded plastic products since 1971. A lot has changed over the years, but one thing has remained the same – our products still make a difference. Our products are used in medical areas such as diagnostics, cardiac rhythm management and in vitro fertilisation, meaning, we actually help save people’s lives.
It is with great pleasure I can say that we look forward to new market demands in the medtech industry, so that we can continue to improve life saving products! Does that make sense to you? Please let me know by sharing your thoughts it in social media.