micro parts to market... faster

Micro Molded Bio-Resorbable Polymers

04/27/2016     MICRO MOLDING:  Although there is no standard definition of micro molded components in the industry, most micro manufactured components have one or more of the following attributes:
• Fractions of a plastic pellet or weighing fractions of a gram
• Having wall thickness of less than .005”(0.127mm)
• Having tolerances of .0001” to .0002”(0.0025 to .0050mm)
• Having geometry seen only by use of a microscope
BIO- RESORBABLE MATERIAL:  Bi-resorbable polymers have been on the market for over 20 years.  These polymers are typically PLA based (Poly Lactic Acid) or milk based.  They are commonly compounded with PGA called PLA/PGA compounds (Lactide/glycolide).  These materials are used in implantable applications when the device is only needed in vitro short term.
INTRINSIC VISCOSITY:  Most polymer processing uses melt flow index as an indicator for processability.  With BIO-resorbable polymers, an IV (Intrinsic Viscosity) test is used to determine the characterization of the polymer as it relates to Molecular Weight, processability, and in vitro stability.  IV is a measure of a polymer’s capability to enhance the viscosity of the solution it lives in.  It is important to find the viscosity at different concentrations and extrapolate to zero concentration.

blog - 042716 1

The above chart shows common applications for Bio-Resorbable micro molded components.  In this life cycle curve, most of the work being done is in the new product area, R&D developments, drug-eluding products, and implants being used as pharmaceutical “carriers”.  Growth products in the hundreds of thousands of parts annually are bone screws, anchors, and swallowable pills.  Bone screws typically made of Titanium can be replaced with bio-resorbable materials so that patients are not “stuck” with that bone screw for the rest of their lives.  The resorbable bone screw, unlike the titanium one, after an approved amount of time, the bone fuses together and no longer required the screw, and the resorbable material then gets absorbed by the body and turns into carbon dioxide and water and is flushed from the human system naturally.

Mature products is also a very busy segment due to what is called “a work around method” whereby conventional molders may be putting micro components into large mold frames and conventionally-sized molding machines.  These programs are almost always an immediate return on investment to re-tool due to the runners and sprues being so very costly in material scrap they generate.
High volume (Growth) bio-resorbable products are facial implants from reconstructive surgery for aesthetic reasons or accident/disfiguring reasons.  Additional high volume products (100k+) are seen in bone screws and sutureless devices such as resorbable sutures, anchors, and staples.

micro bio resorbable
Bio-Resorbable Polymer Applications (provided by MES)

Check out our micro molding projects page for more information here.

Implantable Medical Device Shrinks Pancreatic Tumors

4/20/16 Pancreatic cancer is the third leading cause of US cancer deaths. Researchers from MIT have created an implantable device that wraps around the pancreas and delivers drugs to fight pancreatic cancer cells. A study in mice has shown that this method is 12 times more effective than traditional intravenously injection chemo methods.

blog - 042016 implantable

The device is made from flexible polymer PGLA. This thin film is curved into a tube and inserted into the body through a catheter for surgical implant. Due to its flexibility, it forms around the pancreas with the medicine being only on the inside of the film, which helps in administering the drug in a time released manner directly to the pancreas and minimizes any drug from seeping out onto other organs. The film could also be used as a stent coating reopening blocked bile ducts, a common issue pancreatic cancer patients suffer from.
The 5 year survival rate from pancreatic cancer is less than 6% due to it not being diagnosed in early stages and due to the hard to reach location of the pancreas. The MIT researchers are now gearing up for human clinical trials. This new creation looks very promising in combatting this hard to treat cancer!

Nanotherapeutic Drug Delivery Tested in Space

04/14/16     The Houston Methodist Research Institute’s (HMRI) newly created Center of Space Nanomedicine is working with the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to send eight experiments to the International Space Station (ISS) over the next five years. HMRI is focusing on the development and testing of technologies in four areas – diagnostic and therapeutic biomedical devices for precision medicine, nanotherapeutics for targeted drug delivery, regenerative medicine and tissue engineering.

blog - 041416
The first experiment launched last week, it is a microgravity experiment studying the diffusion of drug-like particles. The project is focused on mimicking on a larger scale the diffusion of drug molecules in nanochannels by adopting microparticles in microchannels (2-8 micrometers), where their movement will not be influenced by gravity, and their larger size will enable visualization through microscopes. Researchers currently don’t know the exact physics of how drug particles behave as they diffuse through tight nanospaces, so the goal is to improve implantable devices that release pharmaceutical drugs at a steady rate.
Future experiments will also involve nano-experiments, all in the hopes of advancing technology in the medical and pharmaceutical fields.

MICRO Cutting Edge Technology in the Medical and Pharmaceutical Industry

04/06/16     The term “micro molding” is a cutting edge niche in the medical and pharmaceutical fields these days, and at Micro Engineering Solutions (MES), we strive at keeping on top of all the new developments, and in many instances we are the fore runners leading the way!!

blog - 042115 molding
Almost everything in every industry is now being developed smaller and smaller. This increases the demand to decrease the size of the components in these new devices. At this day and age, that size is called MICRO. Micro-sized components are in high demand and the different fields that MICRO has creeped into has become enormous. Due to this high demand MES excels at keeping on top of cutting edge technologies, specializing in the medical and pharmaceutical fields.
The desire to make smaller incisions during surgery, the need for more comfortable wearable medical devices and the longing to decrease the # of invasive surgeries are all frontline when it comes to medical and pharmaceutical R&D. We have recently worked on designing and manufacturing micro sized components for devices that sit in the human eye. It goes without saying that when it comes to putting something in our eyes, the smaller the better! Even a small piece of dust that gets in our eye is painful and irritable. Therefore when designing an ophthalmic component, working in the size of microns means everything.

We have assisted medical device companies with products that are smaller, therefore less invasive, when surgery is needed. Working on micro-sized components for these medical devices has been challenging, successful and very rewarding. And in the case of opting not to have surgery, we have been involved in swallowable dissolvable device research and development. In this field, new concepts allow for a human to swallow something in pill form that will examine the insides of the human body and give the results via wifi to the doctors. This reduces the amount of invasive exploratory surgery currently being done today.
The pharmaceutical and medical industries have formed to develop drug delivery via micro component devices, swallowables and dissolvables. We have been involved in many of these research products. We have also written many interesting blogs and articles on cutting edge breakthroughs and advances in these fields.
At MES we work extremely closely with numerous medical device OEMs, and we have an intimate understanding of the technologies that fall under the micro manufacturing umbrella. We appreciate the fact that micro molding is a disruptive technology. It clearly breaks down preconceived barriers restricting product design and cost-effective manufacturability. So for many OEMs, it represents a key part of the solution when grappling with new concepts and an attempt to remain profitable and competitive. We enjoy working in this cutting edge field and invite you to read more about what we do on our website and give us a call with any design questions you may have.