4 Ways To Meet Your Custom Liquid Silicone Molding NeedsJuly 7, 2015
When you’re working on a medical device development project involving liquid silicone (LSR) molded components, your requirements are clear. You need to know that your molding supplier is going to deliver consistently molded, high-quality components on your timetable. Because liquid silicone molding is a specialized, complex process, that may not be as straightforward as you expect.
Identifying a supplier that is able to meet your liquid silicone molding needs efficiently requires some due diligence from medical device designers and component buyers, and you need to work with your supplier up front to make sure your medical device development proceeds as smoothly as possible.
To help you determine the actions you must take when looking for and working with a liquid silicone molding supplier, we’ve put together some recommendations.
#1. Find A Liquid Silicone Molding Supplier With Precision Equipment
Not all molding presses are created equally. Plenty of injection molders make most of their money producing off-the-shelf pieces for bakeware and toys. For the medical industry, the presses these companies use simply won’t work, as they lack the precision required to prevent component size inconsistency. Even slight size discrepancies may cause errors at the device manufacturing level. These production glitches result in needless delays and could even cause end-use failure for the device.
To avoid inefficiency and the dangers of end-use failure, work with a liquid silicone molding supplier that’s invested in high-quality equipment, such as precision servo-driven presses that deliver the same silicone shot size with every iteration.
#2. Make Sure Your Supplier Uses Scientific Molding
Scientific molding is absolutely crucial when it comes to creating consistently molded components. When beginning your component development, your supplier must spend time designing a process that ensures the components they deliver to you are exactly the same every time.
Molders that lack experience in custom liquid silicone molding may not realize this and attempt to use a pre-existing molding process. If these inexperienced molders do not work in advance to develop a custom process for your components, they could deliver components that vary greatly dimensionally and cosmetically, which is a recipe for disaster for your medical device.
#3. Versatility Is Crucial
While you might go into your medical device development project with one molding need, as customer demands and designs shift, your needs change as well. For this reason, you need a liquid silicone molding supplier that is highly experienced in a variety of complicated medical molding procedures.
Ask your potential molding vendor whether they are capable of overmolding, micro molding and thermoplastic molding. If not, they may not be able to meet all of your shifting requirements in the facility, and might need to subcontract some or all of your project. Not only does the use of subcontractors add to your costs, but it also means that your components need to be shipped to various facilities, which increases the risk of material contamination and adds greatly to your supply chain complexity.
#4. Consult Your Molding Supplier Early
Your supplier must have extensive experience with liquid silicone molding. Experienced custom molders have both the foresight and the insight to identify possible issues with your design. For instance, your draft may call for components that are simply unable to be molded as designed. An expert supplier should be able to establish this up front and make suggestions for how the design could be adjusted to deliver the same functionality with components that can be molded repeatedly and consistently.
Additionally, once an experienced molding company understands all of your functionality needs, they may be able to make other suggestions that could increase process efficiency and lower your cost.
Working with a strong, experienced liquid silicone molding supplier adds enormous value to your medical device development and helps avoid damaging complications. The best way to separate the pros from the pretenders is to ask questions and visit your potential molder’s facility.
By doing your due diligence when selecting a liquid silicone molding supplier, you’re taking an important step toward a smooth production process and a high-quality end result.
Are you looking for a top-quality liquid silicone molding supplier to help you take your medical device design to the next level? Contact our highly experienced molding experts to find out how MRPC combines innovation and experience to produce the best molded components possible.