Small is Beautiful for Wittmann Battenfeld UK

Throughout the pandemic, Wittmann Battenfeld UK has been supporting its customers in the MedTech sector. With orders for the medical version of the MicroPower machine growing, micromoulding is now leading the way for many customers.

Leading injection moulding equipment supplier, Wittmann Battenfeld UK, was set return to this year’s Med-Tech EXPO show April 1-2, 2020 to showcase several new capabilities.

The COVID 19 virus put paid to such plans but many WIBA UK customers – such as White Horse Plastics and Linear Plastics – have since been turning their hand to med-tech manufacture against the pandemic and WIBA UK has been in the vanguard of support.

Wittmann Battenfeld offers its MicroPower, EcoPower and SmartPower moulding machines (15-550t) in medical versions: All three are available in a multi-component format. Minimum emissions are standard, and all machines can be upgraded for cleanroom purposes to the EN-ISO 14644 medical standard.

Micromoulding has led the way for many customers. When Wittmann acquired Battenfeld on April 1, 2008, the revamping and renaming of the latter’s micromoulding machine were high on the list.

The MicroPower was the result, and it has been particularly effective in leading the production of new polymer-based dental and medical implants and other small components.

OEM orders of the MicroPower moulding machine have been building in moulding and have been followed by success in the University/Teaching and Testing areas.

The Centre for Polymer Micro and Nano Technology in Bradford (Polymer MNT) was the first to buy the relaunched MicroPower and has added three more machines since. (Pictured, above)

The annual Medica Compamed show is the showcase for new technological innovation in medical manufacture and Wittman Battenfeld has used the event to demonstrate its growing competence in micro medical moulding technology.

MicroPower Medical
Top: MicroPower 15/10 MEDICAL. Bottom: Micro retaining ring, part weight 2mg.

Last November’s event, for example, saw Wittmann Battenfeld exhibit the production of a micro retaining ring for medical miniature tubes from polycarbonate. The integrated production package footprint measured no more than 2mm and 1.5mm.

This micro retaining ring was produced on a MicroPower 15/10 with a clamping force of 150 kN using an 8-cavity mould from Wittner, Austria. In keeping with many medical applications, the product had a part weight of only 2 mg.

The MicroPower came fitted with a rotary unit, an integrated WITTMANN W8VS2 robot and a camera for complete parts inspection. Following removal and camera inspection, the parts were transferred to transport containers, separated according to individual cavities. The parts at the Compamed ’19 show were processed in a clean-room environment (class 6 clean air according to the ISO 14644-1 standard) which was created by using a laminar flow box inside the moulding machine.

Joint Wittmann Battenfeld UK Managing Director, Dan Williams said: “Our machines are already optimally suited for cleanroom production in their standard versions since they are laid out for a minimal level of emissions – and this applies in particular to the machines of the MicroPower series designed for the injection moulding of small and micro parts.”

The all-electric MicroPower is designed as a self-contained cell enclosed on all sides, which simultaneously offers sufficient space for the integration of various optional pieces of equipment, such as a rotary table, robots, material dryers or temperature controllers. All drive modules of the all-electric drive system, including all mechanical components are encapsulated in easy-to-clean housings.

Joint Managing Director, Tracy Cadman, adds: “We aim to equip our moulding customers with ‘oven-ready’ solutions for this sector – especially since the medical industries are notorious for the amount of funding that is needed to develop and sustain production methods and protocols for products. These systems are reinforced by ever more comprehensive and stringent ISO standards and even new ones such as MDSAP.”

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