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Published articles about micro and nano manufacturing,
micro machining, micro engineering, micro molding and
applications for medical technology

Early support and successful adoption of new technologies can lead to considerable economic and technological benefits for the industries involved and for the world economy.

The articles published on the Microsystems website are about micromoulding, the latest developments in plastic injection molding, micro precision manufacturing, nano manufacturing, and high tech solutions used by the medical industries and biotech devices. They have all been published in international technical magazines that support and promote commercial micro manufacturing and solutions for medical device components.

 

Fig 1 Size effect macro adn micro scale milling

Fig 1: Size effect in (a) macro-scale and
(b) micro-scale milling.

 

Key success factors in micro-milling of hardened steels

The differences between milling using large cutters (macro-scale) and milling using cutters of less than 1mm in diameter (micro-scale) influence the quality of parts that can be produced.

Research and development has shown that factors such as chip formation, cutting interface temperatures, forces, strains, and strain rates are all influenced by the 'size effect'. An understanding of these factors is important for all those involved in the micro-milling industry because they are significant for tool design and selection, types of tool and coating to be used, machining strategies and workpiece materials.

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fig 1
Fig 1: Sequential ray tracing through refractive optical lenses in a miniature camera design.
 

Polymer micro-optics via micro injection moulding

A wide range of polymer micro optics are now used in technically functional applications. Injection micromolded micro-lenses are used for miniature cameras in mobile phones, computer accessories, cars, and medical devices.

CD/DVD pickup units, sensors, and fibre-optics utilise polymer micro lenses and diffraction gratings. Lightguides with micromoulded microdot structures or gratings are used for display backlighting and front-lighting, and micro structured films for brightness enhancement and anti-glare applications are used in displays.

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fig 1  

High aspect ratio micromolding for application in dental surgery

A new type of dental surgery device has been developed for root canal treatment.

One of the key challenges in taking the concept to reality was that of finding a mass production method to make a high aspect ratio x-ray opaque core with a tip diameter of less than 0.2mm. The solution to this has been found through innovative tooling design and micro-moulding.

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fig 1

Fig 1: Micro-molded fibre optic connector with 0.2mm through holes.

 

Micromolding facilitates the miniaturisation of medical device components in plastics

Molding of plastic 'micro-scale' components or parts that have micro-scale/nanoscale features has become increasingly possible over the last few years through developments in processing technology and in machining and mould manufacturing techniques.

Examples of micro-moulded medical components include parts featuring miniature holes and meshes, surfaces with sub-micron structures, overmoulded micro-inserts, and combinations of dissimilar materials for drug delivery devices.

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fig 1
Fig1: Temperature increase across 32
cavities with system switched off.

 

Developments in multi-cavity hot-runner tooling for medical molds

Multi-cavity molds with 16, 32, or more impressions, are a long-established method of manufacturing large production quantities of molded medical device components. Such moulds are fed by hot runner systems, often with pneumatically operated valve gates.

The use of valve gates as against hot tips improves the accuracy of the moulding as the polymer in the mould gate can be kept in a molten state until an exact preset time when the gate is closed. Despite this, controlling the accuracy of all the parts moulded in multi-cavity tools can be challenging, and various systems have been developed aimed at improving the process control.

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fig 1

Fig 1: Micro-moulded part for a medical staple. The pitch of the teeth is 0.3mm.

 

Micro molding and nano-structuring for medical and biotech devices

The continuing industrial interest in micro-components and micro/nano structuring of devices is being driven by increasing needs for point of care diagnosis, portability, minimally invasive surgery, and other factors outside the medical device industry that require miniaturisation.

In addition to the established know-how in production micro-moulding, there is a technology push from research and development as methods are developed to design at the nano-level and to achieve specific component functionalities.

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