Donna Bibber, VP of business development at Isometric Micro Molding, a New Richmond, Wis.-based micromolding
company that provides medical and drug delivery OEMs with micromolded and automated assemblies.
molders, though the firm was started five years ago in Acton, Ont., by a veteran of another Ontario firm, Mold Hotrunner Solutions (MHS), which builds hot runners and micromolding
The increasing demand for plastic and silicone products produced in microextrusion and micromolding
processes is partly attributable to the excellent characteristics of the materials, primarily their biocompatibility, which makes them easy to use in the production of medical devices.
This may seem 'large' when thinking about micromolding
, but it is a good fit for micro-molding technology when there are micro-sized features on that part--such as complex geometry with critical tolerances, small holes, and sharp corners."
The company acquired the innovative Spectrum Plastics of Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2013, providing it a base in injection- and micromolding
solutions for surgical device products and surgical implantables, including bioresorbable materials.
Rapidwerks Inc of Pleasanton, California, Is promoting Its Precision MicroMolding
manufacturing expertise in this specialized area to product designers, OEMs, and processors.
Some of the well known micro molders include Accumold, ALC Precision, Micromold Inc, American Precision Products, Makuta Technics, Micromolding
Solutions, Micro Precision Products, Precimold Inc, Rolla AG, Rapidwerks, Stack Plastics, Stamm and Sovrin Plastics among others.
Using materials known as elastomers, soft lithography methods include variations and subcategories such as microcontact printing, micromolding
, cast molding, and embossing with resolutions down to the nanometer scale.
To achieve a mass production of precise plastic microchannels, a microinjection molding process, which is the most productive one among various micromolding
technologies, was carried out using a micromold of half-circular microstructures.
Conventional techniques, such as micromolding
and organ printing, are limited by slow cell assembly, large volumes of cell suspension, complicated multi-step processes and expensive instruments.
Professor Lagae added, "At high volumes, perhaps silicon is not competitive anymore, so then we have to compare with micromolding
companies, and micromolding
companies today have not been able to realize all the functionalities" that imec can realize in silicon.
"What's exciting about this work is that not only have we designed a new method for making nerve guide scaffolds which support nerve growth, we've also developed a method of easily reproducing them through micromolding
. This technology could make a huge difference to patients suffering severe nerve damage," he added.