The Wittmann Group is taking a precautionary COVID-19 break from physical attendance at most shows this year. This includes the world’s leading medical supply exhibition, Medica Compamed, which has gone virtual from November 14th 2020.
Medica Compamed regulars will have become accustomed to the smooth and silent running of the Wittmann Battenfeld MicroPower injection moulding cell for the medical industries. Their exhibit is always a head-turner, so this year’s medical manufacturing exhibit was viewable online as part of the Fakuma 2020 preview offering.
The key elements of the Wittmann Battenfeld cleanroom production cell are the same; the typical machine frame cell of the injection-moulding machine is enclosed on all sides. The unit thus effectively becomes a standalone cleanroom cell. The internal space provides for automation, rotary tables, dryers, temperature controllers and other product-specific options, such as cameras and other inspection and quality checks.
These injection moulding machines target a minimal emission level as standard. Clamping units with lubrication-free tie-bars, encapsulated drive systems and an easy-to-clean mould space with smooth surfaces provide favourable conditions for contamination-free component production. Plus, for manufacturing in a controlled cleanroom environment, these standards can be raised to meet the requirements for the cleanroom classes according to EN-ISO 14644, using specially adapted medical equipment upgrades.
Daniel Williams, Joint MD of Wittmann Battenfeld UK, commented:
“The flexibility – and cost-effectiveness – of such an all-in-one unit has been growing in popularity since its launch. The cost involved in firstly creating factory space for a cleanroom or white room build has often deterred many moulders from attempting to enter the medical manufacturing business. The cleanroom-ready Wittmann Battenfeld machines, however, make for a very viable alternative that can be immediately productive.
“The cleanroom set up of these machines also makes them ideal for the production of microscopic to medium-sized electronic components with complex surfaces under clean-room conditions.” Daniel added.
Medical parts can be single or twin injection moulded from a number of materials and the Wittmann machine build ensures that they are processed in a Class 6 clean-room environment – according to the ISO 14644-1 standard. This is typically created by using a laminar flow box inside the machine.
Tracy Cadman, Joint MD, Wittmann Battenfeld UK, pointed out that “the design of our cleanroom machines builds on the clean lines of the existing Micro, Eco and Smart Power machines.
“Above all, our cleanroom machines are super-easy to clean. After all, aside from air exchange, particle control and decontamination protocols, physical cleaning comprises much of the activity in cleanrooms – prior, during and after manufacture.”
The Wittmann Battenfeld cleanroom machines assist this in various ways. For example:
- Mould spaces are covered in stainless steel – allowing high cleanliness in the tool area
- Beltless machines. Unlike competitors, gearboxes not belts are used – even at the injection unit
- Screw barrels are covered and insulated
- Painted areas are disinfectant proof
- Platens are nickel coated
- Servo drives and amplifiers are cooled via water-based heat exchangers
- Fume extraction is provided at the splashguard
- Collection of exhaust air from air valves is provided
Daniel also pointed out that the machines are also in prime position for the application of Industry 4.0 protocols – allowing the user complete transparency and traceability of production data.
“Thanks to our Wittmann 4.0 software the customer can collect all the production data needed – and from every connected device. This information can then be sent to the connected Manufacturing Execution System (MES) for optimum usage.”
IT technology, via laptop or smartpad, can then allow full remote control of the cleanroom machine and its various production parameters.
Daniel Williams also noted:
“A good number of our trade moulding customers in UK have recently stepped up to meet the demands of the COVID-19 challenge – making PPE or parts for other medical devices that are now urgently needed to fight the pandemic.
“We are therefore delighted to be able to offer UK injection moulding sector such an ‘out of the box’ solution for the business of making medical parts at repeatable speed and with ultimate quality.”