As medical devices get smaller and more sophisticated, especially implantable and minimally invasive devices, creating the molds used to shape new products is a challenge all by itself. In many cases, manufacturing a new medical device requires the production of tiny molds made of hard metals; soft plastic material is inserted into the mold to create the finished part. When finished parts are measured in millionths of inches, and the devices are life saving or life sustaining, accuracy in the manufacturing process is paramount. Accurate molds are required to make accurate parts. Also, accurate tools and machining equipment are needed to make these molds.
Most medical device molds are made of ultra hard metals and require Electronic Discharge Machining (EDM) technology to cut the mold cavity and edges to specification. EDM works by creating an electrical charge that removes metal in tiny increments using electrodes that deliver the charge with pinpoint precision. To achieve the specifications for some medical device molds, manufacturers often need to make their own electrodes to machine the exact the dimensions and tolerances of a new mold.
The Microlution 363-S can be configured to create micro electrodes for the most demanding micro mold projects, including molds for Silicon seals that won’t leak. Silicon, which is about as thin a liquid as water, tends to find any gap in the mold, no matter how small. Also, Silicon is expensive—as much as $1500 per pound—so and leakage is costly. The 363-S can machine tools to make molds that are totally accurate with parting lines that match perfectly.
The accuracy of the 363-S is unmatched. Linear motors deliver high acceleration without backlash. A glass scale measures all machining. The system also has enough memory for code for multiple sophisticated parts, making it possible to store multiple machining regimes and to move quickly from project to project.