Proprietary Molding Process Enables Consistent Production of Precision Medical Parts
TULSA, Okla., and VALENCIA, Calif.—Da/Pro Rubber, an ISO 9001:2000-certified company that has won multiple supplier awards, uses compression, transfer, and injection molding techniques to manufacture a variety of custom-molded rubber, plastic, and thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) components. The company, which operates U.S. facilities in Valencia, Calif., Broken Arrow, Okla., and Newburyport, Mass., produces parts for medical, aerospace, industrial, electronic appliance, and consumer product applications. According to Gretchen Brauninger, the company's president, Da/Pro can formulate custom materials to meet clients' unique requirements and can hold tight tolerances on complex designs. Examples are rubber diaphragms with uniform thickness (as thin as 0.004-inch) throughout the convolute section, held to a tolerance of +/- 0.0015-inch.
Da/Pro's Broken Arrow, Oklahoma plant has a 5000-square-foot, Class 10,000 clean room—a low-particulate rubber molding facility where the company produces medical and other precision-molded components that require special molding, handling, and packaging. For the medical industry, Da/Pro has molded parts that withstand autoclave sterilization for use in respiration equipment, valves that are in direct contact with human blood, and TPE overmolds for surgical devices. The company has also produced parts for ultrasound equipment, blood pumps, insulin pumps, intravenous systems, syringes, orthodontics, blood separation systems, and a variety of plugs and caps, among other medical applications.
According to Brauninger, Da/Pro Rubber's biggest strength is its consistency in manufacturing precision, tight-tolerance, high-quality parts.
"Da/Pro has over 40 years of experience molding critical components for medical devices," says the company's president. "Our experience and expertise enable us to mold high-quality, tight-tolerance, intricate parts that have strict requirements due to regulations, contact with human fluids, and other concerns related to manufacturing medical devices."
In medical device manufacturing, part tolerances need to be exacting. However, initial designs are not always moldable and materials are often a key issue. A manufacturer's choice of material for a particular part will affect more than just the cost of the part; it will also affect its moldability, its compatibility with certain medical environments, and compliance with regulatory requirements. Da/Pro Rubber has qualified engineers on staff who can review a design and make recommendations to ensure more efficient and cost-effective molding.
"We work with product design engineers to ensure the moldability of the part, develop custom compounding, and ensure the most cost-effective solution for molding," says Brauninger. "Da/Pro can custom-compound material to meet most requirements and help reduce the cost while maintaining specifications."
Da/Pro uses a proprietary, computer-controlled molding process that enables the molding of different rubber part configurations in the same production cycle, automatically adjusting for compound and part configuration variables. Monitored to maintain consistent molding conditions and ensure repeatability throughout the molding cycle, the process allows Da/Pro to consistently produce high quantities of precision parts that are virtually flash-free. The company is reportedly able to mold rubber diaphragms with uniform thickness down to 0.004-inch (0.1016mm) throughout the convolute section, held to a tolerance of +/- 0.0015-inch (0.038mm). These custom-molded diaphragms are stress-free throughout the convolute section and provide excellent sensitivity, repeatability, and flexibility in low-pressure instrument and control applications, the company says.
The company's injection molding capabilities include insert molding, overmolding, and liquid silicone rubber (LSR) injection molding, also known as liquid injection molding (LIM). In addition to custom molding, design assistance, and compound development, Da/Pro Rubber provides laboratory testing, mold building, and sub-assembly services.
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