Metal injection molding offers a sustainable, scalable solution for medical device manufacturing

 Medical device manufacturing is making a comeback with the return of non-essential and elective procedures; 2023 is poised to be a defining time in industry innovations, rising to contemporary supply challenges and introducing new cutting-edge products. To successfully do so, OEMs in life science industries are turning towards new technologies to thrive — including going all-in on metal injection molding (MIM).

MIM is becoming a mass-adopted process in the medical device manufacturing world. A more cost-effective and scalable alternative to traditional CNC machining and manufacturing methods, MIM can manufacture geometries otherwise impossible to produce while delivering on quality. OEMs can reap long-term savings throughout the production process and meet R&D and NPI’s most demanding timelines.

Whether OEMs are considering a switch for their existing product lines or want to bring a new product to market, MIM solves medical device manufacturing headaches.

Scalable Process, Cost-Effective Components, Exceptional Quality

MIM technology allows OEMs to meet the growing demand for medical device technology while reaping long-term cost savings and consistently delivering high-quality components with exacting material durability needs. The metal injection molding process allows for excellent tolerance controls for high-density ferrous and bio-implantable alloys made from precise metallurgy. This accuracy is coupled with a level of scalability unmatched by traditional machining and other manufacturing methods. During the MIM process, powdered metal feedstock is injected into a mold and sintered at a high temperature that results in precise, high density and high performing parts in large quantities. This manufacturing method creates production efficiencies and ultimately yields a lower cost per part.

 These advantages taken together make MIM a sustainable solution to expand operational production capacity and maintain outstanding quality standards — all while improving ultimate value. But MIM isn’t just a fit for existing medical device manufacturing. Considering MIM at the earliest stages of product development can give OEMs a serious NPI advantage over competitors.

MIM’s Versatility Affords Med Device Engineers Unparalleled Freedom

Medical devices are constantly evolving, and quickly, which is no small task for manufacturers when dealing with complex, highly regulated components. OEMs need a solution to balance fast, efficient R&D that brings the best possible product to market with long-term supply sustainability and cost savings. Smart MIM strategies can allow life science OEMs to enjoy the best of both worlds.

Throughout the R&D process engineers and project managers are tasked with delivering the best possible iterations of components within shorter and shorter timelines. Enter MIM. Employing the attributes of metal injection molding during the design and development phases frees engineers from many of the inherent with other manufacturing methods and ensures they have a robust and scalable design featuring geometries formed by injection molding tooling. The result: better components on the market without lengthening timelines. Add the long-term cost and scalability benefits and MIM is a clear choice for med device OEMs.

Using strategies to speed up R&D, including 3D metal printing and rapid MIM tooling for prototyping and testing low-volume production during initial product validation, can allow OEMs to reap minimized costs and realized efficiencies. Manufacturing prototype components in under 48 hours, 3D metal powder printing doesn’t require tooling, so components are printed with MIM powders and tested to full functionality without the typical waiting time and cost. With increased geometry capabilities, this tool-free method meets MIM material standards and delivers metal components in days. Similarly, rapid-MIM tooling can design, build and deliver low-volume production representative components in as little as six weeks.

Regardless of the specific method, when used strategically, MIM is a sustainable solution that offers unmatched design freedom in the product validation and testing phases — allowing your products to hit the market faster and more efficiently. Combined with the overall benefits of metal injection molding for scalable, cost-effective production, MIM technology solves headaches and gives life science OEMs a competitive edge when bringing new products to market.

Learn more about how the latest innovations in MIM technology are taking medical device manufacturing to the next level.