February 5, 2015

2 Min Read
10 Finalists Chosen for Supplier Innovation Challenge (Diversified Plastics)

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Name of Supplier 
Diversified Plastics

Describe an innovation your company developed between 2012 and the present and its potential application in medical devices. 
Diversified Plastics introduced an innovative new process, 3-D printing injection molds, nearly two years ago. It allows for prototype parts to be molded from a 3-D printed mold in the actual resin selected for production. It's faster and cheaper than building soft steel or aluminum molds. Further, it allows for testing function and sterilization.

How does the innovation work? Please describe the technology.
3-D printed injection molds start the same as any other prototype mold, with CAD files of the component. From these CAD files a 3-D printed plastic mold is designed, very differently from those of steel or aluminum tools. After the mold design is complete, the file is sent to the 3D printer and the mold is grown. The length of time for this step depends on the size and complexity of the part. It ranges from 12 to 36 hours.  

This new process is able to produce high quality, tight tolerance prototype parts. ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is used for this process and there are some restrictions on the type of plastic that can be used. Some of the high temperature resins such as Ultem, Torlon and PEEK cannot be used at this time, but Diversified Plastics is working on this issue. The best materials are thermoplastic rubbers, Polypropylene, Polyethylene, ABS and some Nylon and Polycarbonate.

Describe how your innovation adds value for medical device OEMs. Can it make work processes more efficient, reduce costs, improve quality, or improve patient outcomes?
Development costs and time are critical considerations for today’s manufacturer. DPI worked with Coloplast, a customer, to produce prototype parts for a new urology device using this new process. It was a huge success with an 88% cost savings and reduced the time from five weeks to just one.

What distinguishes your product/service from those of competitors and what makes it unique in the market?
This innovative, new process greatly reduces the cost and time to produce prototype parts, adding value with not only cost reductions but streamlining the process of introducing a new product to market. Diversified Plastics was one of the first injection molders in the U.S. to introduce this process.

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