8/27/12: Throw caution to the wind on your old machining cost models when it comes to micro machining PEEK polymers. PEEK machined parts require careful planning of material waste from rod or sheet stock and utilizing every square millimeter of material. Raw material implant grade PEEK costs range from $70–$400/lb (much higher if processed with a drug component) and therefore it’s important to get the process dialed in and running with the best process/least scrap possible as quickly as possible in the development phase of a program.
These micro machined PEEK components are literally dust speck sized but were machined from rod stock. Some implant grades require the medical OEM to purchase them directly and the rod stock size is critical to the economies of scale for implantable devices scaled to hundreds of thousands of parts.
Value-driven, PEEK machined parts can benefit from micro molding even with thousands of parts required annually. This is due to the rod stock scrap compared to smaller runner and sprue scrap in micro molding PEEK implants. These implants nearly always return on their initial investment to transfer to a micro molding process and return even faster with a runnerless mold. It is not uncommon for the return on investment to take just one molding run to pay for the capital of runnerless tooling/molding machine. This is a Controller’s dream and what is commonly referred to in the industry as a “no-brainer”.