Advances in Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Highlighted at MD&M East

September 1, 1998

8 Min Read
Advances in Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Highlighted at MD&M East


Advances in Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Highlighted at MD&M EastNew developments in adhesives, laser marking, and extrusion exploredAccording to experts speaking at a seminar presented at the Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) East Conference and Exposition in New York City held June 2–4, medical device manufacturers can use a variety of new adhesives to improve product performance. Patrick J. Courtney, senior application engineer for Loctite Corp. (Rocky Hill, CT), discussed how recent developments in cyanoacrylates—one-part adhesives curable at room temperature—are worth considering. Courtney said, "Performance limitations of early generations of cyanoacrylates, such as poor thermal resistance and peel strength, have led to various product improvements that include fixture in seconds, room-temperature cure, and excellent adhesion to substrates." According to Stephen Cantor of Dymax (Torrington, CT), advances in UV/visible-light curing adhesives also provide a range of benefits including faster cures, safe visible (blue) light, and bonding of UV-blocked or tinted plastics.9809p2a.jpgStephen Cantor of Dymax described recent developments in UV adhesives and Patrick Courtney of Loctite discussed advances in cyanoacrylates during MD&M East.
At another seminar, "The Basics and Beyond: A Practical Guide to Better Injection Molding," the theory and practice of this increasingly important technology was discussed. The seminar's instructor, Robert Beard of Robert A. Beard & Associates (Kenosha, WI), provided updates on materials, mold and part design, equipment, and troubleshooting. The importance of employing the correct mold was emphasized in an overview of mold design that highlighted the different types of injection molds. The seminar's participants were also updated on injection molding software that can help to prevent mistakes and achieve satisfactory outcomes.New laser marking technologies were discussed in the seminar, "Laser Marking of Medical Devices: Advances and Applications." Traditional marking methods such as direct printing and labeling have many disadvantages that can be overcome with laser marking, according to Alan Burgess of M.A. Hanna Color (Suwanee, GA) and Ronald Shaeffer of PhotoMachining (Pelham, NH). The most serious problem is that traditional printing methods do not make permanent marks. Sterilization, contact with chemicals and body fluids, or simply wear over time can render a mark or label unreadable. To have this happen to warning labels or marks is simply unacceptable in the medical industry, the speakers agreed. Laser marking eliminates this problem by making permanent marks. A further advantage of laser marking is that the mark can be applied at high speed and in-line, whereas direct printing and labeling must often be accomplished in secondary operations. "Typically, marking a plastic part costs four or five times the cost of the part itself," Burgess explained. "With laser marking, you can typically cut that cost in half."9809p2b.jpgMD&M East featured products and services from more than 700 companies.
The increasing popularity of bar coding has fostered different forms of the technology—and medical device manufacturers and packagers must make sure they are using the kinds of bar codes that their customers want. That was the consensus at one of the seminars given at the third annual Medical Packaging Symposium, held in conjunction with MD&M East. According to Bonney Stamper Shuman, CEO of Stratix Corp. (Norcross, GA), many companies will not do business with those who do not use bar codes or some sort of identification technology. "You should look at your customers' needs, because doing so can bring you all sorts of benefits," Shuman said. "Find out what they use today and what they might be ready for in the future. Figure out their item-level and carton-level requirements."At another Medical Packaging Symposium seminar, Cathy Nutter, senior scientific reviewer at FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH), said that medical device packagers may not need to present as much data to FDA as they used to before the FDA Modernization Act of 1997, but they will have to make sure they have thorough documentation in their own files. Nutter said that the agency is in the process of implementing the new regulations with the goal of forming consistent standards from guidance to enforcement. Though it is too early to tell what all the end results will be, she said that there are several things that those in the medical device industry should keep in mind. "First, know your standards well and which ones apply to your device. Second, just as location is important in real estate, documentation is important in regulation. Third, stay tuned to the CDRH Web site for guidance updates."Some of the MD&M East show's attendees actually spent the first day of the show in Connecticut, where they toured Harrel Inc. to learn about medical tubing extrusion systems. The company's focus is on complete automation of each step in the extrusion process. Benefits of this automated system are multifold. A process engineer can determine and enter specific parameters for any given day, at which point a floor operator need only open a computer file and run it. System software runs continuous surveillance of all process parameters and makes any necessary adjustments to keep production running smoothly. This capability greatly reduces operator labor and virtually eliminates human error.The MD&M East Conference and Exposition and the Medical Packaging Symposium were attended by nearly 6000 people. More than 700 companies exhibited their products and services.The next MD&M Conference and Exposition will be held in Minnesota, November 2–4. For information, call the trade show department at Canon Communications LLC, 310/392-5509.Return to the MPMN home pageNew on the Industry LandscapeNorton Performance Plastics (Wayne, NJ) established a 22,000-sq-ft polymer technology center at its corporate headquarters. The center was created to provide multidisciplinary support for the firm's 11 decentralized R&D teams, undertake long-term development projects, and conduct research on glass and plastic composites for Norton's parent company, Saint-Gobain. Product testing firm Intertek Testing Services (Boxborough, MA) opened a 44,700-sq-ft testing campus to incorporate its global product testing and certification services. The thermoplastic elastomers division of GLS Corp. (Cary, IL) is establishing a new facility in McHenry, IL, with a completion date scheduled for mid-December. Construction for Dow Chemical's Freeport, TX, Inspire polypropylene production facility is expected to be completed in 2000. According to Dow, the facility will use Spheripol technology and will produce more than 500 million lb of polypropylene per year. Laser micromachining company Resonetics Inc. (Nashua, NH) added a 2000-sq-ft environment-controlled cleanroom to its facility. AlphaGary Corp. (Leominster, MA) is enlarging AW Compounders, its manufacturing company in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada. The 25,000-sq-ft expansion will include a new twin-screw compounding line, which will increase capacity by 10 million lb per year. Fractional and subfractional dc motor maker Maxon Precision Motors (Burlingame, CA) opened a facility in Fall River, MA, to house administrative, sales, and marketing offices, as well as a model shop and warehouse. Adhesives Research (Glen Rock, PA) is constructing a 24,000-sq-ft manufacturing facility in Limerick, Ireland, that is expected to be completed by the year's end. Miniature air pump manufacturer Sensidyne Inc. has completed construction of its dust-free manufacturing room within its Clearwater, FL, facility.Return to the MPMN home pageAcquisitions and Business ActionCincinnati Milacron's Plastics Technology Group (Batavia, OH) expanded its presence in the vertical insert injection molding machinery market with its purchase of Autojectors Inc. (Avilla, IN). Autojectors will maintain its company name, operations, and separate distribution channels. MetroLine Industries (Corona, CA) has acquired the Branson/IPC line of batch plasma systems from GaSonics (San Jose), adding plasma equipment to MetroLine's plasma surface-treatment operations. Testing systems maker MTS Systems Corp. (Eden Prairie, MN) reached an agreement to acquire Nano Instruments Inc. (Oak Ridge, TN), a manufacturer of instrumented indentation systems for ultra-low-force nanoindentation testing of surfaces and thin films. Nano Instruments markets three mechanical properties microprobe systems for low- and ultra-low-load indentation testing, including a dynamic contact module for the biomedical industry. Tektagen Inc. (Malvern, PA), a biosafety and bioanalytical testing service firm, was acquired by Charles River Laboratories (Wilmington, MA). Davis-Standard Corp. (Pawcatuck, CT) acquired the complete extrusion machinery business of Betol Machinery (Luton, UK). Assembly and packaging services provider GDM Electronic & Medical (Milpitas, CA) is teaming up with contract sterilization and irradiation services provider Nutek Corp. (Hayward, CA) to offer combined services as one vendor. Dispensing equipment manufacturer Liquid Control Corp. (North Canton, OH), through its acquisition of Florida-based Decker Industries Inc., expanded its offerings to include two-component polyurethane processing equipment. Molded Rubber & Plastics Corp. (Butler, WI) completed its purchase of Beere Precision Silicone Rubber Products (Racine, WI). Beere, an extruder of precision silicone tubing, will operate as the extrusion division of Molded Rubber & Plastic Corp. Full-service plastic thermoformer and fabricator Specialty Manufacturing Inc. (San Diego) acquired Protogenesis, a 3-D CAD/CAM company specializing in mechanical design, prototyping, modeling, and CNC-machined tooling. Protogenesis has moved to SMI's manufacturing facility. Anorad Corp. (Hauppauge, NY) was honored with the Hauppauge Industrial Association 1998 Business Achievement Award for large firms.Return to the MPMN home page

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