Wittmann Battenfeld UK Increases its Medical Focus

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

Wittmann Battenfeld continues to give its customers an advantage by supplying all the equipment needed for a medical-based injection moulding; cleanroom-ready moulding machines; automation, materials handling, conveyors and all other ancillary equipment.

Wittmann Battenfeld offers the 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.

Medical moulding continues to be a significant part of the portfolio in the UK and in Ireland. WIBA UK will exhibit in both countries this year. All aspects of the Wittmann Battenfeld machinery machine range can be customised and made cleanroom ready with automation and quality inspection to match.

Micromoulding, for example, has led the way for many polymeric medical applications: When Wittmann acquired Battenfeld on April 1, 2008, the revamping and renaming of the latter’s micromoulding machine was 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. 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.

Thanks to its compact design and footprint the MicroPower is often the flag bearer for much other Wittmann Group production technology and know-how, such as Industry 4.0 connectivity, complete automation and cleanroom solutions and other matters.

In the UK and Ireland, Battenfeld machinery orders typically lead the way for the company into many medical processing environments and then Wittmann ancillary equipment in automation and materials handling follows on. In recent months orders for equipment has come across the board; from SME trade moulders to specialist medical moulders to large multinational manufacturers.

All of this technology is driven by the Wittmann Group in Austrian and by its injection moulding arm, Wittmann Battenfeld. Key developments and engineering innovation tend to be unveiled on an annual basis at the Medica Compamed show, held each Autumn in Düsseldorf, Germany.

Wittmann Battenfeld at Compamed (002)
The latest Wittmann Battenfeld MicroPower – attracting visitors at the annual Medica Compamed Exhibition, Düsseldorf, Germany.

Last November’s Compamed 2019 show, 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 2m and 1.5m and was situated right on the aisle opposite the hall entrance. Since everything was automated and self-contained, it was indeed a head-turner.

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.

The company’s moulding machines are already optimally suited for cleanroom production in their standard versions since they are laid out for a minimal level of emissions. 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.

This integrated approach to medical moulding is winning Wittmann Battenfeld a growing order book in the UK and in Ireland where the company has a growing presence. In the UK, SME medical plastics processors such as White Horse Plastics, Polymermedics, Microsystems and TML are steadily investing in moulding technology that is keeping pace with the medical sector.

Driven in part by regulation and legislation, the medical industries are notorious for the amount of funding that is needed to develop and sustain production methods and protocols for medical products. These systems are reinforced by ever more comprehensive and stringent ISO standards and new ones such as MDSAP.

The Wittmann Group’s investment in machine data and connectivity – as evident in Wittmann 4.0 and Temi + Integrated production – mean that customers can get a head start on matters of production data gathering and can be assured of transparency of production methods, and of product traceability – all of which is key to success in medical manufacturing.

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