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Worldwide Technological Advances in Micro Molding

12/29/16     Medical device, Electronics, and Biopharmaceutical manufactures need new products that create tinier, less invasive, fluid-induced, and/or space saving micro devices. These products require integrated, micro and automated solutions to ensure their success out of the gate. The tiniest parts in an assembly are the ones most likely to be a challenge and are also usually the enabling component of the entire devices form, fit, and function. Many new advances in micro molding have been developed worldwide for the creation of microscopic features and components. Micro molding is a necessary form of manufacturing for many polymeric, metallic, and nano-composite materials and processes alike.
Although there is no standard definition of micro molded components, a general industry-accepted definition is 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

Many new products exist today because of the introduction of micro molding which has been around since the 1950’s due to the Swiss watch industry. At the beginning stages of micro molding, few machining and molding machines were available on the market that were considered small enough and precise enough to produce components that are the size of specks of dust. Today, dozens of small shot size, ultra precision micro molding machines exist. The technology is ripe for creating new and innovative microscopic components but the technology is limited to a select entrepreneurial few who may have had the foresight in the 2000-2002 manufacturing economic downturn to invest in micro technology. For this reason, scarce knowledge is known and more importantly shared throughout the micro molding industry, creating a need for micro manufacturing expertise, advanced, and integrated micro solutions.
Micro Engineering Solutions has been in the forefront of this ever-advancing technology and as a result been involved in many micro-component projects. Please browse our micro capabilities throughout our website and call us to discuss your innovative ideas!

Micro Optics

12/22/16     Researchers at Ohio State University have developed a pea-sized telescope that can implanted into the eye to magnify images for people with age-related macular degeneration. For patients who have lost their central vision due to AMD, this newly FDA approved telescope allows the opportunity to regain some of what they have lost to AMD.

In a healthy eye, light enters the eye through the cornea and is bent by the natural lens suspended behind the pupil, and is then focused onto the retina.  AMD is a degenerative condition which results in the loss of cells in part of the retina which effects reading and seeing fine details.


This new implantable telescope is designed to be embedded into the natural lens of the eye during cataract surgery in place of the standard intraocular lens that is used in most cataract surgeries.  The telescope magnifies an image to cover a larger portion of the retina and allowing patients to see around blind spots caused by AMD.

Before being selected as a candidate, a patient has to go through a lengthy pre-screening process. As part of this process, the patient is given an external telescopic device to simulate the effect of the telescope after implant.  That way, the patient can experience what it would be like to have the telescope in one of their eyes permanently.

From the inventive lens design to expanding AMD patient care options, the tiny device is pioneering big change in the field of ophthalmic care.  While there is much to look forward to with these future innovations, the better news is that a population of patients who previously did not have much to hope for, are seeing the world in a whole new light.


Micro components in medical inhaler devices

12/16/16     Micro sized components are in pulmonary drug delivery systems which used to treat diseases like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic. Technological advancements, as seen in soft mist inhales, breath actuated inhalers and drug dose counter inhalers, have revolutionized how pulmonary drug delivery systems work. The non-invasive nature of administration, low drug dosage requirement, site-specific targeted delivery and fast onset of action has made these systems easier to use and more efficient.
The pulmonary drug delivery systems market has split into three major segments: metered dose inhalers (MDIs), dry powder inhalers (DPIs) and nebulizers. An MDI is a device that delivers a measured amount of medication to the lungs in the form of a mist. A DPI is a device that delivers a measured amount of medication to the lungs in the form of a dry powder. A nebulizer is a device that delivers a measured amount of medication to the lungs in the form of a fine spray. All of these devices are made up of micro sized components. You can see an example of a dry powder inhaler on our Micro Molding/Projects page.


5,000 Nanochannels Regulating the Release of Medicine

12/8/16     Scientists at the University of Texas created a micro component implantable capsule filled with medicine that uses 5,000 nanochannels to regulate the release of the medicine. This allows enough medicine to be in the human body to work on the ailment, while not being too much to make a person sick. This capsule can delivery doses for a few days or up to a few weeks. It can be used for any kind of ailment that needs localized delivery over a set period of time, which makes is especially tailored for treating ailments like cancer. A larger version of the device would be able to treat HIV for up to a year.


This current prototype is injected under the skin and is permanent until surgically removed. The researchers are now working on a swallowable biodegradable version.

Wet Micro Fiber Implantable Drug Delivery

12/1/16     Drug delivery has remained a rapidly growing area of the medical device industry, that include medical devices that enable controlled internal release of drugs to targeted surgical sites presenting enormous opportunities.

Researchers are using wet fiber extrusion in implantable textile structures for medical device applications. These fibers allow for improved device performance resulting in faster healing, improved patient compliance, and lower negative outcomes at relatively low cost by adding drug-delivery capabilities to new and existing devices across a variety of applications. Though this process is promising, the types of drugs able to be successfully loaded to fibers while remaining viable have been limited by the mechanics of the extrusion process. The high temperatures required exceed the temperature tolerance of a majority of pharmaceutical and biological therapeutic agents. But with the emergence of alternative wet extrusion methods of enabling drug loading of fibers at room temperature for use in implantable devices for localized drug delivery within the body, this issue may be overcome.

The controlled process of wet fiber extrusion yields more uniform size distribution than the distribution typically found in other formats. Multi-layered, co-axial fibers are readily produced with each layer containing a unique pharmaceutical and polymer combination, resulting in tailored release kinetics for multiple pharmaceuticals in a single fiber. The localized drug delivery capability of these fibers enables medical device designers to orchestrate the body’s response to the device. Depending on the choice of drug, it is even possible to mitigate unwanted reactions and promote desired responses. Pharmaceutical-loaded fibers also provide excellent drug delivery depots where precise placement within the body is desired, as within a solid tumor.

Fibers can be extruded in monofilament, hollow, bi-component (core-sheath), gel-center filled formats, and also as flat, rectangular or ribbon shapes. Unlike traditional pharmaceutical delivery formats such as microspheres and nanoparticles, these fibers can provide both mechanical and pharmacological support from the same device – an incredible advantage over other modes of pharmaceutical delivery.
Another use of drug-loaded wet-extruded fibers is they provide excellent scaffolding for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine applications. It is otherwise impossible to provide pharmaceutical delivery localized to the cells on and around a single specific fiber. This micro-control of pharmaceutical release provides a significant step forward in research in implantable pharmaceutical delivery.

The use of biodegradable fibers offers several other unique advantages over traditional pharmaceutical delivery formats. A long cylindrical geometry can provide a slower pharmaceutical release rate than a spherical geometry of the same radius, resulting in an inherently longer therapeutic window for similar pharmaceutical concentrations.
Breakthroughs in fiber extrusion are now making it possible to load the widest variety of viable pharmaceuticals and biologics ever for implantable drug delivery. Allowing these agents to be delivered internally directly at targeted surgical sites has the potential to revolutionize the way many medical applications can be approached — presenting new opportunities for medical device manufacturers; providing doctors and surgeons with greater options for treatment approaches; and ultimately may improve patient outcomes in many cases.