These injection molded filters made for the medical market have more than 1,000 76-micron (0.003 inches) squares with wall thicknesses of 0.006 inches. "The previous way to make a filer was to run a metal mesh through an injection mold and then mold a frame around it," comments Donna Bibber, vice president of sales at Miniature Tool & Die. The trend to minimally invasive surgery is triggering a boom for micro components that travel through blood vessels. "Everywhere we turn there is a challenge we have to overcome,"
comments Bibber, a plastics engineer. Example: MTD had to develop a 7-gram hopper for resin drying. Conventional dryer hoppers are in the 150- to 200-lb range. "Also, we don't always have the luxury of a surface we can eject on to," she adds. MTD often ejects from runners or gates. For more information, go to http://rbi.ims.ca/4922-503.
Producing high-quality end-production metal parts with additive manufacturing for applications like aerospace and medical requires very tightly controlled processes and materials. New standards and guidelines for machines and processes, materials, and printed parts are underway from bodies such as ASTM International.
Engineers at the University of San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering have designed biobatteries on commercial tattoo paper, with an anode and cathode screen-printed on and modified to harvest energy from lactate in a person’s sweat.
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