glucose monitoring device

Choosing the Right Plastic Assembly Process for Medical Devices

Medical devices provide effective solutions for diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and disease prevention. The size of the medical device market is expected to reach $623 billion by 2026 – a 5% compound annual growth rate. With help from the right plastic assembly process, your company can stay competitive in this growing market while also saving both time and money.

The most common plastic assembly processes used for medical devices include:

  • Ultrasonic welding
  • Vibration welding
  • Spin welding
  • Hotplate welding
  • Laser welding
  • Infrared welding
  • Thermal processing

Below, we discuss six key factors to consider when choosing an assembly process that meets your manufacturing needs.

1. The Materials You’re Working With

Before you make your decision, you must first consider the materials you’re working with. These materials should be compatible with the assembly process you ultimately choose. For example, polyolefins work well with most processes, but not ultrasonic welding.

2. Measurement of Parts

The size and dimension of your parts are also major factors to consider when choosing an assembly process. For example, lower frequencies such as 15 kHz require larger tools, while higher frequencies such as 40 kHz require smaller tools. Parts that don’t fit within the size range of 2.5” x 2.5” – 10” x 10” may require multiple hits with ultrasonics. Therefore, it’s best to choose another assembly process if you can’t use ultrasonics.

3. Parts Complexity

Parts complexity is another important factor to consider, especially when assembling medical devices. For example, some assembly processes won’t work if your parts require complex dimensions and components. In such cases, clean laser technology and injection molding are much more accommodating options.

4. Wall Measurements

When choosing a process, you should also consider the thickness, width, and length of your walls. Most assembly processes can accommodate a variety of wall sizes and dimensions. However, if you are producing longer, unsupported walls, we don’t recommend vibration welding due to its straight back-and-forth motion.

5. Production Volume

By measuring the production volume, you are able to set benchmarks and scale efficiency when manufacturing parts. However, make sure you calculate a part’s total production quantity within a specific timeframe. Doing so will help your company identify which assembly process works best for each specific production quantity. For example, spin welding, laser welding, and ultrasonics take less time to maximize throughput than other processes. 

6. Equipment Costs

The final thing you should consider is the cost of running equipment. Don’t make your decision solely based on the initial estimated production cost. Be sure to factor in the costs of mold changes, tool changeover, processing time, and long-term production as well.

Find the Right Plastic Assembly Solution with Thermal Press

Thermal Press has decades of experience helping plastics manufacturers cut time and costs. Whether you need input on a current assembly process or you want to expand, we have the solutions you’re looking for. We offer a wide range of services from design review to process development.

Contact Thermal Press or call 925-454-9800 to learn about the best plastic assembly process based on your medical device design, assembly, and end-uses.

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