Medical Contract Manufacturer Polymer Conversions Accelerates Turnaround on Development Parts With 3D-printed Tooling
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
Finding ways to be competitive in a global market is every custom molder’s challenge. New technologies, such as 3D printing (aka additive manufacturing), can provide value and help a molder be more competitive, but they also can be expensive to implement. It helps to understand just how the technology fits into your business model and what value it adds for your customers and your company.
Meeting a medical device customer’s need to reduce R&D costs was the impetus for Polymer Conversions, a custom injection molder and moldmaker in Buffalo, NY, to explore the value of 3D printing early last year. “Our company has always been driven by making sure we’re utilizing the right tools for the application so we can perform better,” said Ben Harp, Chief Operating Officer for Polymer Conversions. “We’ve always explored technology to make the injection molding process an easier experience for the customer with the goal of fewer rejects, more cost effective, on-time delivery and pricing certainty.”
Polymer Conversions, which operates 26 presses from 30 to 390 tons, understands how critical quality, lead times and R&D costs are in product development, Harp explained to PlasticsToday. Listening to its customers inspired the company to look at technologies to help meet these requirements.
Polymer Conversions identified 3D-printed tooling as a possible solution, because it answered many of the drivers that are important to its customers. “We have many medical and healthcare customers that want to do iterations of a new product, but R&D budgets get tighter and tighter, due in part to increased competition in a global market and government regulations like the medical device tax in the Affordable Care Act. That had a ripple effect on medical device companies and their willingness to invest more in R&D while everyone waited for the results of the ACA to roll out."