With new strains introducing unique challenges in the fight against coronavirus, the demand for efficient and reliable COVID-19 test kits that can be used in the home has become increasingly amplified. Recently, medical device producers have reached out urgently to leading medical contract manufacturing companies for their help in overcoming many of the obstacles that were present in making these kits widely available. This is why, with decades of experience in comparable diagnostic test kit manufacturing, Micron was well prepared to rise to the challenge when a global medical equipment producer approached the team seeking the guidance and capabilities that needed to get their COVID-19 home test kit to market.
Reshoring is the act of bringing manufacturing jobs that had been previously exported to foreign countries back to the United States. On a national scale, returning jobs to the United States combats high unemployment, reduces trade and budget deficits, and bolsters the economy. Locally, manufacturing companies also benefit from reshoring by being an employment opportunity creator in their respective communities, but most notably benefits by reducing their products’ total cost and improving their balance sheets.
We all have expressions we use that are representative of our cultures, our upbringing, our life experiences, or even just something we heard someone say that struck a chord within us. There are the famously inspirational sayings, like Vince Lombardi’s classic quote “Winners never quit and quitters never win," and the often over-used (but still very true), “There is no ‘I’ in ‘team’.” (Peter Drucker)
Growth is good—in fact, growth is necessary for survival. But just as the physical growth in humans comes with challenges, so does organizational growth. Unlike human growth, however, there are aspects of an organization’s growth that are within their control. One aspect of organizational growth that must be controlled is the quality of the organization’s processes and products to ensure that quality must never suffer at the expense of growth.
Contract manufacturing breeds innovation, but without the right experience to guide process engineering, it can be difficult to break out of established patterns. In this article we will compare the automated processes applied to two similar-yet-different products. While these items perform nearly identical functions, each has its own distinct assembly and packaging requirements. While many contract manufacturers would simply produce the parts simultaneously and add manual operations to each line, the team at Micron uncovered unique opportunities to increase efficiency and ROI by approaching each item as a unique part.
Micron Products is expanding and changing its name to Micron Solutions to reflect an enhanced scope of services, including turnkey, complex assembly.
Industrial technology has progressed at a breakneck pace recently, and the application of robotic technology and automation is a fundamental tool in modern manufacturing. According to the Boston Consulting Group, “combining advanced robotics with other technologies, process enhancements, and structural layout changes [in a manufacturing environment] can yield savings of up to 40%,” which presents considerable potential for manufacturing companies seeking to leverage the expertise of a skilled contract manufacturing partner.
Mold making has a long history and it is no exception at Micron where we have mold makers with 35 to 45 years of experience under their belts. Our goal is to make quality, well-built molds for various industries and, with our experienced mold makers, we can achieve that.
The key to producing a high-quality mold is precise tolerances, maximum production performance and quality mold design. We are able to create these quality molds with the support of advanced machining equipment, a good quality team and the support of a qualified engineering department.
There are almost as many definitions for Quality as there are quality practitioners. Some common ones include:
- Conforming to a quality standard
- Meeting customer specifications
- The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind
- Suitability for intended use
But what is Quality, really?
The first half of 2020 has been, for many, a grueling gauntlet of disruptions to normal work and social behaviors. With the weather warming, people are demanding a quick and clear pathway to reopening schools, businesses, and social activities in a safe, reasonable manner. Public health officials have outlined several steps that must occur to safely resume normal activity, but one of the most prominent requirements consistently emphasized has been the need for widely-available, accurate, easy-to-use home testing for COVID-19. Calling upon years of experience manufacturing various components and consumables for medical testing kits, Micron is now working with some of the medical manufacturers leading the way for COVID-19 testing to become widely available in simple, single-use home test kits.
The world community faces unprecedented challenges in response to COVID-19, including increasing demand for essential medical devices throughout a period of global supply chain disruption.
When you’re getting ready to begin the injection molding process, the first choice you make—and one of the most crucial decisions—is which plastic mold manufacturing partner you’ll select. The partner you choose should, of course, deliver on all your mold requirements—but they should also prototype your part, help you with part design adjustments, warranty their work, and much more. And most importantly, the right partner will ensure you don’t end up with a useless mold that doesn’t produce quality parts—or, as we like to call a faulty mold—a boat anchor.
If you need a plastic part molded with extreme precision—for example, to ensure there’s no air leak between two molded sections or to be certain there’s no visible seal gap line—you likely require precision molding. The difference between a typical injection molded part and a precision molded part is the tolerance, or acceptable range of variation in dimension: While the majority of injection molded parts have a tolerance of +/- .005″, precision molding holds tolerances between +/- .002″ and +/- .001″ (or less, in some cases).
A single-use product is meant to be used or applied once and then discarded. The term “single-use” is sometimes intended to mean “disposable,” though this isn’t always the case. A bullet and a booster rocket, for example, are both single-use products—but most people wouldn’t refer to them as a disposable. But many medical products, like tongue depressors and test vials, are perfect examples of single-use, disposable products.
Rapid tooling is, simply, the creation of a mold in a shortened timeline.
Rapid tooling got its start in the 1990s, when engineers involved in injection molding wanted to see if they could build molds in a matter of hour or days instead of the weeks or months a machined mold would take. A rapid-tooled mold is ideal for prototyping a part and molding a few hundred plastic parts before full-scale, high-volume production starts.
Blow molding vs. injection molding—what’s the difference? Both are common methods used to create plastic parts. And while some parts require both blow-molded and injection-molded components—for example, a medical device with a blow-molded container attached to an injection molded apparatus, or a military application with a blow-molded “payload” packet fabricated inside an injection molded projectile—the two methods primarily serve different markets.
If you’re creating a plastic part, it’s important to know what type of injection molding process your part will require. Do you know if your part needs to be molded in a cleanroom environment, or whether you should use a vertical or horizontal injection molding machine?
There are thousands of plastic injection molding companies around the world, but here at Micron, we like to think we approach things a little differently from the rest of the crowd.
One of those differences is that we do our plastic mold manufacturing in-house as opposed to outsourcing this job. This allows us a high degree of quality control throughout the mold-making process, and helps to address any questions or issues on an injection molding project before the mold is created.
If you need to manufacture a plastic part that must remain as clean as possible—like an implantable medical device—you'll need to have your part made in a cleanroom environment.
Cleanroom molding is the process of creating plastic parts in a special room optimized to reduce the risk of contamination by dust or other particles. The medical, pharmaceutical, aerospace, military, and biotech industries frequently require parts to be created in a cleanroom environment.
In recent years, 3D printing has become extremely useful in manufacturing—and, more specifically, in plastic injection molding. Injection molding companies often use a 3D printer to create a part from a model, drawing, or concept plastic part.
From advancements that have helped the industry for over 40 years to the latest cutting-edge innovations, there are a number of interesting plastic injection technologies out there that could be used to bring your prototype into production.
Hello! We’re Micron Products.
Founded in 1978, we are a full-service contract manufacturing and injection molding company based in Massachusetts. The shop we acquired at that time was founded in 1925, making us one of the oldest companies in the injection molding industry.
As an engineer, your focus is on taking a product idea and figuring out how to get it manufactured so it fits all your specifications and stays within your budget. But before you select an injection molding partner, it’s a good idea to brush up on what the injection molding process looks like.
If your company requires plastic injection molding services to create a plastic part, one of the first—and most critical—decisions to make is whether you’re going to go with a plastic injection mold service in the U.S. or one based overseas. While many countries offer mold-making services, China is the primary player in this market.
Medical device injection molding is used in everything from syringes to IV roller clamps to dialysis machine components.
While you must ensure that your medical device is manufactured to FDA standards and is ISO 13485 compliant, you also need to be certain that the company you select is the right one for your needs.
The properties of thermosets and thermoplastics are quite different—but the similarities and differences are often asked about. The primary difference in these two plastics comes down to heat and chemical resistance. Heat resistance is the primary function of a thermoset material, while thermoplastics—which are much more common—can only withstand heat to a certain degree. It’s worth noting that plastic injection molding companies typically do either thermoset or thermoplastic injection molding, but rarely do they handle both.
The plastic injection molding process is extremely complex with (quite literally) thousands of moving parts. As a manufacturing engineer, it’s not critical for you to know every finite detail of mold-closing mechanisms or the difference between every polymeric substance used in injection molding—but understanding the following 10 terms will make a conversation with a potential plastic manufacturing partner much simpler.