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Micromolding

Top Features

The micromolding of liquid silicone rubber is increasing because of LSR’s ability to accommodate difficult-to-mold geometries, such as undercuts, tapers and angles.

Metal injection molding (MIM) has been around for nearly 30 years, but it’s only been in the last decade that its use has picked up steam, particularly in the manufacture of dental devices, medical instrumentation, firearms and other industrial parts.

Manufacturing molds used to produce plastic parts with features too small to be seen with the naked eye or measured with standard devices is challenging. That’s why moldmakers that perform this work tend to specialize in designing and building micromolds.

Company invests in molding equipment, employees to tap new markets

Dynomax Inc. is seeing strong growth in defense and aerospace orders for its micro-injection-molded products. While many companies might be satisfied with that, Dynomax wants more. It has targeted the medical industry for new business.

Microextrusion: mainstay of medical device manufacturing

The extrusion process is great for making tubes, and microextrusion is great for making really small tubes. The smallest are drug-eluting tubes and those used in brain surgery or cancer surgery, which can have ODs as small as 150µm to 200µm. Some steerable catheters have sublumens (voids within the tube) with diameters of 10µm and layers as thin as 3µm to 5µm. The smallest extruded fibers and hollow fibers have diameters of 700nm.

Use of micromolded medical parts grows despite lack of micro-specific resins

Medical applications for molded microparts are increasing at an almost exponential rate as more device manufacturers and their suppliers gain familiarity with micromolding medical-grade materials. According to Dr. John Clay, research leader in advanced materials, Battelle Memorial Institute, Columbus, Ohio, materials suppliers are responding to increased interest in micromolding by developing materials with improved melt-flow properties, which can better fill tiny mold cavities.

Top Videos

T-Ink Inc., New York, offers a "thinking ink" technology that reportedly can replace physical switches, wire and sensors with printed components that create circuits without wires, as the company illustrated in a recent video animation of the process used to make an automobile overhead light.

Japanese machine tool builder Matsuura Machinery Inc. has introduced a machine designed for moldmakers that combines subtractive and additive processes: metalcutting and laser sintering.

MICROmanufacturing Senior Editor Alan Richter recently met with representatives from Dynomax Inc., Wheeling, Ill., to discuss the company's recent expansion. Dynomax, which is targeting the medical device market for growth, has added two new facilities in the past 2 years. The company's headquarters in Wheeling, Ill., and the new Lincolnshire, Ill., facility gives Dynomax four locations throughout the Northwest suburbs of Chicago.

Feb. 14, 2011—Since opening its doors in 1997, Indo-MIM has grown to become a leading global supplier of metal-injection-molded products. The company is headquartered in Bangalore, India, and has satellite offices in Princeton, N.J., and Stuttgart, Germany.

Top Products

Metro Mold & Design

micro moldingMetro Mold & Design specializes in creating micro-sized plastic parts and components with high-precision accuracy in a state-of-the-art clean room environment, according to the company.

SigmaPro Engineering & Manufacturing

SigmaProSigmaPro Engineering & Manufacturing, a developer of miniature injection molded parts, molds features as small as 0.010" to tolerances of 0.0001", according to the company.

Mold Craft Inc.

VICTREX_90-SeriesPolyaryletherketone materials manufacturer Victrex Manufacturing Ltd. offers its 90 series high-flow PEEK polymers, which were developed for thin-walled, intricate component applications. The polymers offer higher mechanical properties with improvements in modulus, toughness and coefficient of thermal expansion, the company reports.

PTI Engineered Plastics

PTI toolsPTI Engineered Plastics provides a full range of injection-molding services, including micromolding parts as small as 0.029 inch3.

Micro Tool & Mfg. Inc.

roboformMicro Tool and Manufacturing Inc. and Micro Plastics Inc., Meadville, Pa., offer moldmaking and molding, precision machining and engineering and design for the aerospace, automotive, electronics, medical, military and consumer products markets.