The first half of 2020 has been, for many, a grueling gauntlet of disruptions to normal work and social behaviors. With the weather warming, people are demanding a quick and clear pathway to reopening schools, businesses, and social activities in a safe, reasonable manner. Public health officials have outlined several steps that must occur to safely resume normal activity, but one of the most prominent requirements consistently emphasized has been the need for widely-available, accurate, easy-to-use home testing for COVID-19. Calling upon years of experience manufacturing various components and consumables for medical testing kits, Micron is now working with some of the medical manufacturers leading the way for COVID-19 testing to become widely available in simple, single-use home test kits.
The world community faces unprecedented challenges in response to COVID-19, including increasing demand for essential medical devices throughout a period of global supply chain disruption.
When you’re getting ready to begin the injection molding process, the first choice you make—and one of the most crucial decisions—is which plastic mold manufacturing partner you’ll select. The partner you choose should, of course, deliver on all your mold requirements—but they should also prototype your part, help you with part design adjustments, warranty their work, and much more. And most importantly, the right partner will ensure you don’t end up with a useless mold that doesn’t produce quality parts—or, as we like to call a faulty mold—a boat anchor.
If you need a plastic part molded with extreme precision—for example, to ensure there’s no air leak between two molded sections or to be certain there’s no visible seal gap line—you likely require precision molding. The difference between a typical injection molded part and a precision molded part is the tolerance, or acceptable range of variation in dimension: While the majority of injection molded parts have a tolerance of +/- .005″, precision molding holds tolerances between +/- .002″ and +/- .001″ (or less, in some cases).
A single-use product is meant to be used or applied once and then discarded. The term “single-use” is sometimes intended to mean “disposable,” though this isn’t always the case. A bullet and a booster rocket, for example, are both single-use products—but most people wouldn’t refer to them as a disposable. But many medical products, like tongue depressors and test vials, are perfect examples of single-use, disposable products.
Rapid tooling is, simply, the creation of a mold in a shortened timeline.
Rapid tooling got its start in the 1990s, when engineers involved in injection molding wanted to see if they could build molds in a matter of hour or days instead of the weeks or months a machined mold would take. A rapid-tooled mold is ideal for prototyping a part and molding a few hundred plastic parts before full-scale, high-volume production starts.
Blow molding vs. injection molding—what’s the difference? Both are common methods used to create plastic parts. And while some parts require both blow-molded and injection-molded components—for example, a medical device with a blow-molded container attached to an injection molded apparatus, or a military application with a blow-molded “payload” packet fabricated inside an injection molded projectile—the two methods primarily serve different markets.
If you’re creating a plastic part, it’s important to know what type of injection molding process your part will require. Do you know if your part needs to be molded in a cleanroom environment, or whether you should use a vertical or horizontal injection molding machine?
There are thousands of plastic injection molding companies around the world, but here at Micron, we like to think we approach things a little differently from the rest of the crowd.
One of those differences is that we do our plastic mold manufacturing in-house as opposed to outsourcing this job. This allows us a high degree of quality control throughout the mold-making process, and helps to address any questions or issues on an injection molding project before the mold is created.