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WIBA UK and WHP – Moulding for the Healthcare Frontline

Wittmann Battenfeld UK is primed to supply cleanroom-ready injection moulding machines and all related ancillaries for med-tech device production. ISO 13485-accredited White Horse Plastics Ltd is expanding its medical portfolio to meet demand for related components and consumables.

Wittmann Battenfeld UK (WIBA UK) anticipates that once the first wave of the COVID-19 crisis passes, the UK contract moulding sector will increasingly be involved in med-tech and healthcare manufacture and supply.

“Closer engagement with this sector makes sense in all sorts of ways,” says WIBA UK Joint MD, Daniel Williams.

Tracy Cadman, Joint MD also commented: “In the UK we find ourselves in the middle of a ‘wake up’ call on so many fronts – not least in procurement; the need to shorten the supply chain and time taken to bring devices to market. By any score, the UK’s moulding sector has performed very well throughout the pandemic. These new supplier-customer bonds need to last and must be fostered and strengthened for the future.”

Several existing WIBA UK customers already find themselves in the thick of the UK healthcare storm. White Horse Plastics (WHP) is an expert in tight tolerance technical injection moulding, and its current new demands include the manufacture of FeNO (Fractional exhaled Nitric Oxide) mouth-piece assemblies used to assist the diagnosis of asthma and other lung diseases, micro centrifugal test columns and the development of PPE equipment.

The pandemic, however, has brought further factors into the open – including the necessity to educate the newest customers in the details of the manufacturing process.  The components they so desperately need are not waiting on shelves – there is a complex development process involved, that many have not considered.

Paul Bobby, WHP MD, says that the process for producing medical and healthcare devices in this emergency “typically begins with a much-streamlined version of our WHP design-for-manufacture principles.” This process is faster than pre-pandemic production, but it is still a long time for those hoping for immediate supply on the front line.

“There is a lot of data here for new specifiers and procurers to absorb in a very short time,” he adds, “and particularly in a crisis – but thus far we are meeting our deadlines and getting the job done. I seriously hope that going forward the market will seriously review its supply chain strategy and will take care to source more product closer to home.”

Most of WHP’s injection moulding machinery and ancillary equipment is supplied by Wittmann Battenfeld UK. The latter offers its core range of MicroPower, EcoPower and SmartPower moulding machines (15-550t) in medical versions; all three are available in multi-component format. Minimum emissions are standard, and all machines can be upgraded for cleanroom purposes to the EN-ISO 14644 medical standard.

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