Materials and manufacturing processes for medical devices
Norner supports many companies, including entrepreneurs, in polymer material selection and processing.
One of our focus areas is the healthcare industry. This industry experiences a significant growth, and Norner is expanding our portfolio of services to meet the specific needs towards this industry. We have been able to support a lot of companies with our knowledge about polymer materials and regulations for the healthcare industry.
Recommendation related to material selection and processing of the end products is one of our key areas. Several innovative founders and SMB’s have been supported via the Norwegian Catapult Programme. This program is offered with the purpose of accelerating the process from concept to market. Norner is a part of the Catapult program as an owner of Future Materials Catapult Centre, one of 5 Catapult Centres in Norway. One company Norner has supported the last year via this program is MUB Medical Solutions AS (MUB).
MUB was established in 2018. Their business idea is to develop, produce and bring to market products meant to solve everyday challenges in the primary health care service. The founders of the company developed a novel solution named Sutrips for the sewing of wounds, in order to simplify wound treatment. The Sutrips set consists of a steel needle with a small handle that can guide a thin thread with a strip function to close the wound. Using Sutrips will simplify procedures and save time when replacing traditional sutures.
MUB approached Norner for an assessment of the design of the product and, in addition advice for relevant production methods and choice of raw material. This included selection of polymer materials for the different plastic components in the kit, production techniques and advice for potential producers. The combination of the actual polymer material candidates, production technology and the thin long strips proved to be a challenging task.
In this project, we recommended polymers that comply with the required US and European medical device legislations, and at the same time have the required properties and viscosity that enable an automated and efficient production.
The thin strip unit itself, which is the functional part of the system, has very small dimensions and is definitely a candidate for production in a micro injection moulding process. Moulding of micro components can in certain cases be performed with small conventional injection moulding machines, but in addition, special machines have been developed which to an even greater extent enable high precision and tolerances for products weighing even less than 0.1 gram.
The need for small precision plastic components is increasing, especially within the health tech segment as the market for less invasive micro medical implants and components continues to grow worldwide.
To enable mass-production of products containing micro components, at a reasonable cost, a high level of automation is required. Micro injection moulding makes it possible to automate and at the same time, take advantage of the same techniques being used in conventional injection moulding, such as multi-component moulding, overmoulding, use of inserts etc.
MUB was introduced to a company that may be a relevant partner and supplier in the next phase, including the production of functional prototypes, a «proof of concept» study and injection moulding in a micro injection moulding machine.