Reaction Injection Molding Tooling For Medical Products

The healthcare industry is filled with engineering and medical professionals’ innovations solving some of today’s most complex healthcare issues.

More than almost any other industry, the medical industry calls for the highest quality polyurethane and urethane parts available. To meet that need, special blends of polyurethane and urethane have been developed to meet special medical standard requirements. In light of the recent availability of specialty urethane blends custom to the medical field the right RIM Tooling is critical to a projects success in the field.

Polyurethane and urethane blends continue to evolve. VMW is a RIM Tooling supplier that is evolving with the industry. We understand that every RIM Tool created needs a fresh understanding of the new material as well as the end user needs.

Polyurethane and urethane plastic parts will continue to grow in the medical field. Quality RIM Tools from aluminum, epoxy laminates, castable epoxy systems, nickel shell, and steel, play a greater role than ever in lowering manufacturing costs. Medical standards demand precision polyurethane plastic components. VMW has years of engineering experience designing and building tools that insure customer success by matching the correct tooling style to the application.

The Reaction Injection Molding (RIM) process is often used to form enclosures for large medical equipment devices, such as lab, diagnostic, procedure component housings as well as cabinets for medical supplies. RIM Tooling is also used for smaller medical soft touch devices as well as larger components.

7 Reasons RIM Tooling is Perfect for Medical Product Enclosures

1. Polyurethane Has Naturally Hygienic Properties

Polyurethane is extremely resistant to bacteria, virus and fungi growth. Medical professionals need equipment that can be easily and quickly disinfected. There are special polyurethane and urethane blends created expanding on these properties.

RIM Tooling can create soft touch to rigid medical equipment from resins engineered specifically for the medical industry like Texin® and Desmopan® from Bayer Medical. Both of these the thermoplastic polyurethane’s (TPU) range in Shore hardness from soft 85A to rigid 70D. RIM Tooling is flexible enough to accommodate endless medical applications from these two examples alone.

2. Polyurethane is Chemical, Oil and Corrosion Resistant

Polyurethane is highly resistant to many acidic liquids, chemicals and solvents. Doctor’s offices, medical facilities, hospitals, etc. all use harsh cleaners to combat infectious material. Rim Tooling medical equipment housing enclosures made out of polyurethane stand up well to repeated cleanings without loss of aesthetics or color shift.

Many polyurethane’s stand up well to various sterilization methods. Texin® and Desmopan® from Bayer Medical mentioned above have been designed for a variety of medical sterilization methods as outlined in their product literature. However these two particular polyurethane blends in this example do not stand up well to steam autoclaving or boiling water techniques. You should always check with the resin manufacturer on the exact recommended sterilization methods to make sure the resin will work for your project.

3. RIM Tooling for Large Housing Enclosures

RIM Tooling is perfect for making large medical instrument cabinet housings and equipment enclosures. Other tooling methods like Injection Molding often create many small pieces that are fitted together like a jig saw puzzle to form a single piece. One large single piece equals fewer areas where dirt and other undesirable grime can collect on a medical component.

VMW has 8 CNC machine centers that can accommodate small molds and large molds up to 6ft x 8 ft in size. The fact that RIM molding pressures are much lower than other processes allows lower pressure materials such as aluminum, epoxy and castable resins to be utilized for many applications. This allows lower cost tooling, durability and part dimensional accuracy.

4. RIM Tooling Creates Light Weight Plastic Components

The RIM tooling method creates large flat panels that are structurally sound with an even flow that results in no sink marks. RIM Tools can be built to accommodate varying wall thicknesses to add extra strength without extra weight.

Lighter weight medical equipment is easier for medical professionals to move around as needed. RIM is also a good choice for large components and mobile diagnostic equipment because by nature polyurethane is impact and scratch resistant thus lessening wear and tear damage over the life of the equipment.

5. Polyurethane is Naturally Heat Tolerant and Radiation Resistant

Polyurethane is a non-conductive material that also stands up well to heat because it has a high R-Value of insulator properties versus it’s light weight (R5.5 – R8). Polyurethane panels are used as enclosures for electrical equipment that generates excessive heat because polyurethane does such a good job controlling heat dispersion.

Polyurethane is radiation resistant making it a perfect choice for medical and dental equipment that emits radiation. Various RIM mixtures of polyurethane and urethane meet UL94 flammability ratings of V-0 and 5VA. Other RIM mixtures have elevated temperature resistance (up to 180 – 356ºF ). Elevated temperature resistance along with naturally high R-Values makes Polyurethane Tooling stand out when choosing the right production method for the application.

6. Any Surface Finish is Available

This is where expertise quality RIM Tooling really shows. VMW has over 30 years of creating RIM Tooling for Tier 1 automotive clients, household name brand appliances, medical applications, and emerging green product technologies. VMW’s Tool room can create a custom RIM tool that can produce a smooth glossy Class A surface finish or any textured finish.

Aesthetics are important in medical equipment. Psychologically people need the subliminal reassurance that the equipment their medical professionals are using is the best for their procedure. The right RIM Tool can make all the difference in the appearance of the finished product.

7. Lower Cost of Tooling and Production

RIM Tools can be created from lower cost mold materials, such as aluminum, and epoxy without sacrificing complex designs. The choice of mold material is determined based upon material choice, part volume and end product quality requirements.

Aluminum, and epoxy RIM molds often can be built in half the time of other molding processes. RIM Tooling creates dimensionally stable parts that use less energy to produce over other manufacturing methods.

Encapsulation and Over molding inserts put into the RIM tool before the mold is filled helps eliminate a secondary process like post molding assembly. Encapsulation is easily done on electronic boards, wires, glass enclosures, and other components because of the low pressure and low heat used by the RIM process. Many times encapsulated threaded inserts can eliminate a great deal of post mold labor by including these components in the RIM molding process thus saving the molder and end consumer cost on the overall product..

These are just 7 reasons RIM Tooling has advantages for medical product designs that other manufacturing processes can not match. RIM Tooling is extremely flexible and while it might not be the right choice for every medical device, hygienic properties along with design flexibility and lower tooling costs make it a very viable choice for many medical prototype and production parts.

Please contact us to find out how VMW can make your medical device project a success. Or fill out our quote request form to get a quote promptly. In many cases tool costing can be completed in 2 days or less. Once VMW receives the part data and understands the application, we can quickly assist with urethane selection, tool style and get your project moving forward.