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Originally Published MPMN July/August 2005

Outsourcing Outlook

Prototyping and Rapid Prototyping

Digital Converting Technology Requires No Hard Tooling

Single- and multilayer substrates for the IVD and microfluidics market can be prototyped using digital converting technology. The Precision Medical Converting Group of LasX Industries uses LaserSharp to prototype with no hard tooling required. This allows for a noncontact process without die constraints. The technique is used throughout the design stage. As a result, the manufacturability of the device remains constant, resulting in decreased time to market. Through-cutting, kiss cutting, scoring, and perforating are preformed for feature sizes down to 100 µm with tolerances in the ±50-µm range. LasX Industries, White Bear Lake, MN

Functional Prototyping Speeds Time to Market

A thermoplastic injection molder and full-service supplier offers short-run through production components. More than 30 highly skilled mold makers provide functional prototyping. The company’s toolroom offers 36 toolmakers and is equipped with 13 CNC machines. The most complex parts can be prototyped in production resins and made available in 5 days. PTI Engineered Plastics Inc., Clinton Township, MI

Company Installs a Controlled Environment Manufacturing Area

A company has devoted 2000 sq ft of its facilities to controlled environment assembly and final packaging. Design, development, and manufacturing services are available to medical device companies. Services range from brainstorming through concept and prototype development to the delivery of clinical, pilot, and market-release sterile products. Complex handheld devices are a specialty. TDC Medical Inc., Marlborough, MA

Laser Sintering Now Available for Rapid Prototyping

A company has purchased a laser sintering system and can provide its customers with accurate sintered nylon parts directly from their CAD data. The EOS machine enables the company to offer real nylon parts, suitable for direct manufacturing and prototyping applications, in a 2-day time frame in most cases. The firm specializes in high-quality stereolithography models, RTV molded urethane, and silicone castings. Protogenic Inc., Westminster, CO

Streamlined Organization Offers Product Development

A mechanical design engineering company uses engineer and designer teams and a network of diverse fabrication associates to reportedly minimize time to market and the cost of product development. Services include concept, design for manufacturing, and rapid prototyping of assemblies. Special machines and processes are offered for the manufacturing and assembly of the finished products. Device Development LLC, Buffalo, MN

Quotes Available in 24 Hours

A company has set up a rapid prototyping center to accommodate quick turnarounds for prototyping needs. The firm uses its clients’ electronic files to eliminate errors and minimize time to market. Quotes are returned within 24 hours, and sheet-metal prototypes are shipped within 72 hours of the time the order is placed. All that is needed is a sheet-metal CAD model and all associated feature and component files. Materials must be readily available and the prototype cannot require outside services. Dayton Rogers, Minneapolis, MN

Company Offers High-Tolerance Plastic Part Prototypes

Working with aluminum tooling, a company can produce aesthetic and high-tolerance plastic parts. Threads, undercuts, and side actions can be accommodated by its prototype tooling program. Capabilities range from micromolded parts that weigh a fraction of a gram to larger 2-kg parts.
Customers can choose the exact plastic or elastomer needed for a specific application. A choice of colors is also available. Other services include insert molding, overmolding, and encapsulation. Deliveries arrive within days, according to the company. Mold Threads Inc., Branford, CT

Rapid Tooling for Medical Devices Enabled Company to Jump-Start Testing

A company has developed an advancement in prototype tooling that has allowed its clients to get specified material parts quickly. This tooling application enabled St. Jude Medical to get a jump start on its testing and certification. The pictured parts were created using a family of tools designed to keep costs and lead times to a minimum. Custom color and laser marking were also applied to simulate production quality.

All the parts have undercut features, which are captured using manual slides and hand pick-outs. The first parts off the tools were shot in 2 to 3 weeks. The tools were modified to meet the required changes once the fit-ups were tested in assembly. Injection-molded parts from prototype tooling are often used to expedite testing before production tooling is released. Production tooling lead times can typically run 8 to 14 weeks. Vista Technologies, Vadnais Heights, MN

Copyright ©2005 Medical Product Manufacturing News

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