In medical manufacturing, the ability to minimize component exposure to foreign contaminants is critical. Clean room molding has emerged as an effective and vital process for producing high-quality plastic parts that are safe for use in a variety of medical applications, including surgical instruments, implantable devices, prosthetics, and drug delivery systems.
With specialized equipment, highly trained staff, and additional certification criteria, clean room injection molding provides the environment and capabilities to meet the most stringent demands and regulations faced by the medical industry.
What Constitutes Clean Room Manufacturing?
Clean room manufacturing is a specialized process that is used to produce medical components and other sensitive parts in a controlled environment. The primary objective of clean room molding is to minimize exposure to foreign particulates such as mold, dust, bacteria, or other airborne contaminants, which can compromise the integrity of the medical components being produced.
There are several types of clean rooms ranging from Class 1 to Class 9. Class 1 carries the strictest regulations and is usually reserved for incredibly sensitive components, such as those used in life sciences or in electronics manufacturing processes that involve nanoparticles.
Most medical device manufacturing takes place in Class 7 or 8 clean rooms, the latter of which provides air cleanliness levels of 100,000 particles per cubic foot and requires a HEPA filtration system and a minimum of 20 air exchanges per hour.
How Clean Room Molding Differs from Traditional Injection Molding
Clean room injection molding is distinguishable from traditional injection molding in two primary ways:
- Facility Environment – Clean room manufacturing requires a dedicated clean room facility with controlled temperature, humidity, and air quality. This minimizes the presence of contaminants and ensures the integrity of the manufactured medical components.
- Operator Attire and Procedures – Clean room manufacturing also requires operators to wear specialized attire such as gowns, gloves, masks, and shoe covers to prevent contamination due to human contact. Operators must also be trained to follow strict protocols regarding hand hygiene and frequent gown changes to maintain as much cleanliness as possible.
Limitations of Clean Room Injection Molding
Due to the additional precautions of clean room injection molding, investing in this process can be costly. Constructing an environment that can drastically reduce contamination comes with related expenses including specialized equipment, air filtration systems, and strict monitoring protocols.
Clean room molding is also sometimes limited in the size and complexity of components it can produce. Due to the need for constant cleanliness, the size and complexity of parts must be manageable within the confines of both the clean room environment and the parameters of the clean room molding process itself.
Clean room manufacturing comes with a variety of advantages, the most obvious of which is contamination control. By minimizing contamination, the risk of end-use product failure or compromised patient safety is dramatically reduced.
Clean room molding also enhances the quality of the medical components, as consistent production standards are essential to maintaining a clean environment. Stringent monitoring and quality control ensure virtually no defects, which improves overall reliability and performance, and optimizes the manufacturing process for maximum cost-efficiency and part quality.
Clean room manufacturing also ensures medical components are manufactured in compliance with the strict regulations imposed by organizations such as the FDA, thereby enhancing a producer’s ability to consistently supply medical devices to meet demand without major delays due to violations.
Partner with an Experienced Medical Plastics Manufacturer
Omega Plastics specializes in injection molding for the medical industry. With our ISO Class-8 certified clean room, specialized packaging services, and complete in-house tooling services, we provide turnkey plastic manufacturing solutions to meet even the strictest requirements of the medical industry.
With our commitment to collaboration and transparency, we aim to exceed the expectations of our customers in every possible way.
Reach out to our team today to connect with an expert in the medical injection molding industry.