Pharmaceutical and medical delivery company Hospira Inc. needed a new way to package highly controlled drugs in a hospital setting that would be tamper resistant, yet easy for medical staff to use, while still meeting a strict manufacturing budget.
The traditional way of making and assembling the syringe package was not working when Robert Oshgan, senior tooling engineer, suggested the company try something new: multishot molding and in-mold assembly.
There were a lot of skeptics about it, he said. It was something very unorthodox for us.
Hospira had problems with one part that used two-shot molding in the past, and the idea of trying something new - along with the upfront cost of tooling for a multishot part did not help his case. But he gradually won over the company, gaining support from engineer John Domkowski.
The final product, the iSecure Syringe, represents a breakthrough for Hospira, using multishot molding and in-mold assembly to create a final part with four different pieces and three materials. For the company, it has become a perfect blending of design, function, engineering and teamwork with key molding and mold making partners.
It's probably once in a million that you get a team that works this well together all the way through a project, Oshgan said during a June 24 interview at NPE.
The iSecure Syringe, designed in house by Hospira, won the Industrial Designers Society of America/Plastics News Design Award at the Society of the Plastics Industry's 2009 International Plastics Design Competition. It also won the medical category award.
MGS Manufacturing Group (Booth S12110) molds the syringe through its All West Plastics Inc. unit in Antioch, Ill., and KTW Group of Waidhofen, Austria, is the mold maker.
The manufacturing process is completely amazing, getting four parts from one mold with all the related cost saving implications, said design judge Ryan Ramos, a lead industrial designer with GE Healthcare.
The design is simple and straightforward at first glance - with the different parts labeled in the mold to designate the first, second and third steps for the nurse administering the drug but integrating that into a complex manufacturing piece in a clean room environment was very impressive, said judge Stephen Melamed, a principal with Tres Design Group of Chicago.
Hospira, based in Lake Forest, Ill., interviewed six different toolmakers and four molders before settling on the iSecure team. MGS used its auxiliary injection equipment to turn a standard injection molding press at All West into a multishot machine and created the in-mold assembly cell to turn out four complete syringes every 9.8 seconds, said Bob Bordignon, director of business development for Germantown, Wis.-based MGS.
Beyond the design and manufacturing breakthroughs, the syringe comes to the hospital as a completely sealed, tamper-proof package, eliminating work for the medical staff and waste in the hospital, Oshgan said.
The success of the iSecure has Hospira looking at other opportunities for multishot technology, he said.
It was a risk, but I think we've also had some rewards, he said.
The design judges also praised Knoll Inc.'s Generation Work Chair for its clever use of materials in a comfortable but stylish office chair, and Durham Boat Co.'s carbon fiber oar which also won the recreation and leisure category.
In other awards, judges gave the Innovations in Plastics Award to Inergy Automotive Systems' development of a twin sheet blow molded auto fuel tank system, which integrates key parts like sensors and the fuel pump inside the tank by molding around those components. The tank, used on BMW AG's 7 series of sedans eliminates the need to cut into tanks to insert those parts, which can damage the multilayer tank's evaporative emissions.
LyondellBasell Industries AF SCA of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, supplies the high density polyethylene for the tank.
The People's Choice Award, with voting both online and in person at NPE, went to Excelec Y CIA Ltda. of Medellin, Colombia, for its pre-paid energy meter, which is injection molded using post-consumer recycled PET. The meter allows the poor in Colombia to purchase energy in small amounts by pre-paying and entering a code on the meter. Prepaid energy meters are a cultural development in Colombia because it allows the poor or those living in isolated areas to have energy when needed, even if they cannot afford a 24-hour supply. The winning entry garnered more than 3,500 of the 10,000-plus votes cast online.
Weimo International Co. of Taipei, Taiwan, molds the meter, designed by the Research Institute for Plastics and Rubber at EAFIT University in Medellin. Enka de Colombia S.A. of Medellin is the material supplier.
The single part award went to the QDesk rotomolded school desk molded by Industrias Q'Productos C.A. of Santa Cruz, Venezuela and designed by Investigacio y Desarrollo C.A. of Los Puertos de Altagracia, Venezuela. In many areas of the third world, a student desk is an old chair and table combination using nails or bolts that do not meet ergonomic requirements. The one piece chair is made of polyethylene supplied by Polinter C.A. and uses a mold from Lakeland Mold Co. of Brainerd, Minn.
The Kor One water bottle, which uses Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman Chemical Co.'s Tritan co-polyester, won for the sustainable consumer product. The bottle is intended as a multi-use bottle that will replace single- use water bottles. Nypro Inc. of Clinton, Mass., molds the bottle.
Individual category winners were:
Furniture: Herman Miller Inc.'s Embody Chair uses acetyl from BASF AG in a highly recyclable work chair that features an ergonomic pixilated back molded to provide both strength and flexibility for long-term comfort in the office setting. Cascade Engineering Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich., and ITW Dahti of Rockford, Mich., are molders of the seat for Zeeland, Mich.-based Herman Miller.
Lawn & Garden/Agriculture: Steinwall Inc. of Coon Rapids, Minn., molds a seed tube made for Deere & Co. as a one piece injection molded agricultural tube that dispenses seeds in the ground. The prior design was a clam-shell design and its parting lines interfered with seed placement. Contour Mold Inc. of Elk River, Minn., was the mold maker for the program, which uses polycarbonate from Omni Plastics LLC of Evansville, Ind.
Industrial/Military: FPM Tooling & Automation of Fremont, Ohio, designed and is the mold maker of the Water Brick International, a recyclable high density polyethylene container that holds 12.9 liters of water for daily use and also is a bulk water storage solution for humanitarian relief agencies. Targun Plastics Co. of Northbrook, Ill., is the material supplier and ACM Plastic Products Inc. of Sturgis, Mich., molds the water brick. The water brick also won the sustainable part/component award.
Retail: Target Corp. moved away from the retail industry's tradition of buying shopping carts from outside suppliers and designed its own using high density polyethylene, polycarbonate, glass filled nylon and PC/ABS. Bemis Manufacturing Co. of Sheboygan Falls, Wis., uses injection molding, coinjection molding and gas-assist injection molding to make the carts.
Packaging & Materials Handling: Industrial engineer Sergio Sosa and his group Sosa Tech Advisors LLC of McAllen, Texas, was asked by Fomento EconÃ³mico Mexicano SAB de CV to create a pallet that could withstand the impact from forklifts, but also be produced in Mexico for less money. The pallet molded by Plasticos Tecnicos Mexicano SA de CV of San Juan del Rio, Mexico, uses an injected foamed material on the inside with injection molding of polypropylene.
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