The best American injection molders are developing a strong foothold in the medical market. Elite molder Phillips Plastics made a move to medical a long time ago when founder Robert Cervenka realized auto OEMs didn’t believe in collaborative relationships with key suppliers. Nypro put a stake in the medical market, but also flirted with big cell phone OEMs in China–a strategy that petered out. The newest addition is Mack Molding, which announced formation of a medical products group last month. ”We have been aggressively developing the medical manufacturing sector of our business for the past nine years by refining quality and supply management systems, hiring specialized staff, and adding new technology,” says Jeff Somple, president of Mack Molding’s Northern Division. “As a result, the medical market now represents a full 30 percent of our business, including several Class III medical devices, surgical equipment, and disposables for the orthopedic market.” Mack expects medical to represent more than half of its business in the future.
A new compression molding compound material combines the light weight, strength, and rigidity of carbon fibers with the flexibility and lower cost of glass materials in a composite compatible with automotive production.
Plastic bearings are real and millions of them are in use doing heavy-duty jobs we used to think only metals could do. Some of Germany-based igus's bearings are traveling around the world as functional parts in a car to demonstrate what they can do.
Baxter showed off his 2.0-derived moves at ATX West this year. The big red guy still looks pretty much the same, but has some new abilities, mostly due to software. The research robot version is now being used in corporate R&D departments as a design platform.
End-production using 3D printing, including objects made of multiple materials in one pass, is getting closer to reality as we saw on the exhibit floor at the recent Pacific Design & Manufacturing Show.