Increasing Effectiveness with 3-D Printing – faster Route to Prototype or Mold Insert
As an important expansion of their R&D potential during 2016, when a Technology Center was inaugurated, Spang & Brands GmbH, Friedrichsdorf, Germany, have re-cently introduced a 3-D printing facility. The aim is to print not only representative samples of medical components, but predominantly to produce mold inserts.
With 3-D printed mould inserts injection moulding trials using the original plastics material (dependent on the relative process temperature) can be carried out. Equally, the 3-D printer offers the application of multi-component processes. Simultaneously, different color spectrums and degrees of hardness can be printed. Fully functional medical device samples in the original material are producible in quantities of between 10 and 100 – dependent on material and design – more cost-effectively and significantly faster. With a construction volume of 342 x 342 x 200 mm the PolyJet® 3-D printer can produce components with an accuracy of 16 µm (layer thickness accuracy 200 µm). Original size, characteristic and feel of the printed medical device offer the opportunity to access function testing, thus avoiding production of time consuming and costly aluminium or steel moulds. The use of 3-D printing increases Spang & Brands’ effectiveness – once again – in the development of medical devices for the benefit of customers and patients.
‘Mindful of high initial costs of medical devices customers expect speedy product development from an all-inclusive provider in order to reach validation*, clinical trials, and introduction to market. Starting with the initial 3-D prototype or 3-D printed trial mould analysis of the prototype status leads to quicker and more flexible optimisation of the individual parts, components and assembly – in respect of value to design and manufacturing, including assembly’, adds Friedrich Echterdiek, managing director of Spang & Brands GmbH.
During COMPAMED Spang & Brands will exhibit a variety of different plastics engineering solutions for applications in medical technology, such as syringes, cannulas, piercing membranes, implant components, and parts for minimally invasive medicine, plus components for infusions and blood, as well as transition and connection systems. Visitors can see mounted assembled systems and in-house produced complete systems with high-precision geometries and features ready for sale (for instance with precisely defined predetermined breaking points or linking points).
Across the entire value-added chain of a medical devices specialist Spang & Brands demonstrates ground-breaking R&D technology and, supported by a state-of-the-art tooling facility and machine park, i.e. the entire diversity of optimized plastics technological product ranges. Consequently, special plastics compounds, such as TPU, TPE, TPV, resomere materials, and polylactides are used. ‘Employing multi-component injection moulding technology our starting point is to embrace increased comfort enhanced with innovative functions and benefits based on the very latest moulding technologies’, emphasizes the managing director of Spang & Brands GmbH.