Integrity and durability.
Medical device OEM engineering and procurement teams have many options at hand when considering how best to manufacture their devices, from gluing to sewing to RF welding. Why do so many count an RF welded seal over glued and sewn seams? Let’s explore the pros and cons of each option. You can also find more information at mtausa.com on many medical devices and equipment.
Sewn Medical Devices
For some components, such as foam stuffed positioning pads/blocks that are part of larger medical equipment and simple patient slings, sewing is a great manufacturing option. Automatic cutting and precision sewing are helpful when there are various shapes and sizes to piece together. These methods also work well when the seam doesn’t necessarily need to be 100 percent airtight or liquid tight.
For other medical devices, such as fluid and air bags, and bladders and pouches, a consistent, high integrity liquid or airtight seal is a must. Sewn seams face a greater risk that the thread will weaken if overly stressed, allowing gaps or even a break, thus allowing air, moisture and/or debris to contaminate the device.
Glued Medical Devices
Unlike sewing, gluing can provide for an airtight seam. However, it may increase labor times and/or overall cost due to a longer seal time compared to RF welding. Also, the various solvents used may cause issues for OEMs within the sterilization process and in regards to final biocompatibility testing for the device. Also, like sewn seams, glued seams are subject to eventual failure as the adhesive becomes worn out.
RF welding allows for a clean seal without the addition of adhesives. The material being welded acts as its own heat source and is welded from the inside out creating a strong durable bond at the seam.
RF Welding Medical Devices
RF welding medical devices is often the preferred method of manufacturing when a liquid or airtight joint is specified. It is considered to be a cleaner sealing method because only the material itself is required; no adhesives or by-products are needed to produce the durable liquid or airtight seal.
Comparatively gluing and sewing can be less expensive, but savvy engineers can create greater efficiencies and enhance cost savings within the BOM and manufacturing processes that can often make RF welding just as attractive an option.
Want to learn more about the RF welding process?
Genesis Plastics Welding has been RF welding medical devices and providing highly personalized contract manufacturing services for nearly three decades. Check out our portfolio to see many of our medical industry projects. Have a device you’d like for us to quote? Let’s chat.