Medical waste management systems use suction to remove fluids, canisters to contain biohazards, and filters to remove airborne particulates. Hospitals want portable, easy-to-service medical equipment with a small footprint and high-end features. Medical plastics are a good choice for equipment covers and can be pressure-formed and trimmed to achieve form, fit, and function. Our engineering team delivered when one of the world’s leading medical technology companies asked Profile Plastics to participate in designing a new and innovative cart-style waste management system. We provided modeling, simulation, and numerous part sample iterations for their fit & function evaluations, along with design and engineering guidance. Ultimately, the seven tools we machined and the six parts we pressure-formed helped our partner bring a new product to market.
As a long-time Profile customer, the medical technology company was familiar with our capabilities and how pressure forming supports sharp details and a high level of aesthetics. Pressure forming is a cost-efficient alternative to injection molding, and it produces parts with features that vacuum forming can’t match. By helping our partner to make design and manufacturing decisions about the covers, we addressed multiple challenges. Designing the different parts and understanding how everything fits together was just the start. The covers needed to mate correctly with the unit’s body but also required a clean, attractive seam hiding all fastening points. In addition, the company wanted to ensure ease of disassembly so that technicians could readily service the unit. A circular door for a replaceable air filter was particularly challenging because it needed to twist in one direction to tighten by the formed-in features and twist in the other direction to loosen and release without affecting the part’s high cosmetic finish. Cosmetically, this cover needed to blend in with the unit’s body, and functionally, it needed to lock tightly in place. Throughout our customer’s design, every plastic piece has a purpose. For example, a flat cover atop the unit provides medical personnel with a work surface. The side walls have a snap cap. With the circular door, a rib-like structure on a tab works like a lock. Profile Plastics made multiple iterations to all of these part features, and we iterated some covers 5 or 6 times to optimize their CNC trimming. Profile also helped with material selection, such as using thinner or thicker gauge materials. The aluminum tooling is precise, and 6 of the 7 tools had pneumatic actuators, adding complexity. After pressure forming the parts, we sent them to the customer for a fit and function review. The customer approved, and the tooling was then acid-etch textured to the customer’s specifications; and Profile then worked to provide textured samples for the customer’s review and approval. Today, our customer’s medical waste management system is in production.