Manufacturing plastics for medical matters: a company’s view

Written by: Industrial Plastic Fabrications Ltd | Published:

The medical field is a broad one and the equipment it requires are diverse: facts that Essex-based plastic machining/fabrication and 3D printing company IPF Ltd has taken in its stride for over 50 years of helping clients innovate products and adapt to market needs.

Although IPFL can – and do - make practically anything across the two arms of the company, they have built up a distinguished track record of creating cutting-edge medical equipment over the years.

As a business, IPFL produces parts for medical research, such as microfluidics and manifolds; research being the first step on the ladder to all and any kind of drugs, testing processes and treatments. The more specialised picture is that they manufacture microfluidic plates and manifolds with multiple layers, using diffusion bonding and laser welding. These plates and manifolds are being used increasingly with pneumatic and fluidic systems in bioengineering, innovative lab technologies, life sciences, medical and laboratory systems.

The uses that these microfluidics and manifolds are put to have similar goals, even if they are employed by different scientific disciplines.

IPFL’s manifolds have a variety of uses including temperature control, mixing and distribution of liquids and gases. Their purpose is to move and prepare samples for analysis, manage fluids, and pneumatically initiate processes. And IPFL’s microfluidic plates are used for lab on chip applications: they take advantage of the smaller scale and incorporate tiny channels with often very intricate flow patterns, being used to allow analysis of smaller volumes of samples and chemicals.

Mindful of the individual purpose of each manifold or plate, and the importance of accuracy, IPFL’s management emphasises that communication with the client is paramount, with design assistance being part of the service.

Prototypes are produced for client’s design verification, either by machining and diffusion bonding or 3D printing, prior to the manufacture of further iterations or batch production. Incomparable accuracy and superb surface finish are obtained from the class leading Neo450s - the recent addition to the IPFL 3D printing fleet - supports the extensive machining and fabrication departments with microfluidic prototyping.

Fluidic plates and manifolds provide more benefits than just getting a new drug tested or an analysis system under way. Systems incorporating manifolds have cost savings from less assembly, reduced inventory and benefit from the overall reduced sizing.

For more info please see www.ipfl.co.uk or call 01992 893231


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