Depending on the medical device you are making, take into consideration which molding press and material best suits your project requirements. For example, the GS-5T Tabletop Molding Press works best with, but is not limited to, thermoplastic polymers like polyurethane, Pebax, nylon, polycarbonate, polyethylene, polypropylene, ABS and other non corrosive materials; thermoplastic molding means after the plastic is heated, melted into a liquid and injected into the mold, the plastic quickly cools off while still in the mold, retaining the mold’s shape. Below are some of the most common used materials within injection molding.
Polyurethane is used in a variety of applications in the medical arena including shoes, hubs for the end of catheters, catheter strain reliefs, soft tips, etc. Polyurethane is unique in that its hardness greatly ranges from the softness of a pencil eraser to the firmness of a golf ball; similar to a golf ball, it is resistant to scratches and water absorption, along with chemicals or radiation.
Pebax’s characteristics include a high resistance to water and chemicals and breaking under pressure. Additionally, Pebax has high tensile strength, along with moisture vapor transmission rate, which measures water vapor moving through a material.
Nylon is one of the most well known materials on this list as it holds many common applications including clothing, rubber and equipment. Nylon is best known for its resiliency to external factors, such as absorbing moisture, friction and chemicals.
Besides using polycarbonate for medical products, it is often used in airplanes, electronics and other appliances because of its tensile and flexural strength. Polycarbonate has a heat deflection at 270°F and decomposes if placed in alkaline or chlorinated hydrocarbon solutions.
Although polyethylene is a lighter material, and therefore easier to recycle, this does not take away from its strength and insulation characteristics. In higher temperatures, polyethylene becomes more resistant to force and moisture.
Due to polypropylene’s flexible properties, it is very versatile, ranging from hinges to medical devices. One of the most popular characteristics is its ability to bend since it can be molded into thin pieces, such as a hinge, and not break when bent. As a result, polypropylene can be twisted and formed and not change from its original shape. It also has a higher resistance to electricity, and therefore is frequently used throughout electric components.
Another familiar material is ABS, or Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, which is in LEGOs, in addition to everyday items like computer keyboards. ABS is best suited for applications involving chemicals, physical forces and low heat as it has a low melting point. ABS can even be recycled.
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