Design, development and manufacturing of polymer microfluidic consumables
Axxicon is a leading supplier of polymer based consumables to the in vitro diagnostics (Point Of Care), life sciences and medical industries.
In a world where miniaturization plays a more and more important role Microfluidics is a very important tool to realize state of the art testing consumables. With complex features, tight tolerance requirements and aiming at low prices it needs an expert company to manufacture these smart devices.
Miniaturization of analytical instruments is a major field of innovation within the life science industry. The common goal is to enable small and large scale, low cost production of microfluidic consumables.
Microfluidic structures with various depths and widths can be produced using various mastering techniques like Lithography and micro milling. Micro architectures typically vary from 10um to 300um. Roughness of optical features can be as low as 5nm Ra.
Design for Manufacturing
The development of a successful microfluidic device starts with a good and reliable design, suitable for volume manufacturing and the shortest possible time to market. How? By combining the knowhow of the complete supply chain.
Our team of engineers and manufacturing specialists can co-develop with you and prototype your needs in short lead times. Our unique in-house combination of technologies, processes, and expertise provides short lead times and fast iteration cycles
Our prototyping services enable you to easily and efficiently test your design according to it’s specifications. We can quickly provide you with polymer samples either made directly out of substrates, moulded in our own mould bases (standardised formats) to keep cost and lead times down or, for your validation, produced with dedicated tooling. We have the best solution for all your development phases.
Prototyping using injection (compression) moulding in the required polymer will reduce your time to market and costs because of a smooth transition from prototypes to small series and to high volume production.
A critical step in microfluidic device manufacturing is sealing f.e. 10um deep microfluidic channels of an injection moulded part without causing and geometry changes bigger than 1 um. This is very challenging, especially when chemistry is on board prior to bonding and the cartridge is optically read using transmission.
Axxicon offers various solutions for the bonding of polymers microfluidic cartridges like UV glue bonding, thermal bonding, PSA film bonding and laser welding. It often involves development and fine tuning processes that are specific to our customers’ applications.
Axxicon has an in house tool engineering department using 3D CAD to engineer tools. This experienced team with a background in optics and microfluidic moulding and in total over 100 years of experience in tool engineering is up to your challenge.
Axxicon has over 30 years of experience in high precision mould making and injection moulding process development.. Axxicon is specialised in toolmaking and the replication of 3D microstructures and nanostructures that combine high optical requirements to create complex consumables for the diagnostic market.
Axxicon’s temperature controlled clean in house manufacturing facilities are equipped with the latest hardware and software used for micro machining, mould manufacturing and quality inspection.
Injection moulding process development and mould validation
Moulding processes have to be developed for tight tolerance parts such as microfluidic consumables. It’s an iterative process where toolmaking and process development go hand in hand.
The replication of architectures with dimensions of a few hundred nanometers up to a few millimetres requires dedicated moulding processes. Axxicon is specialized in developing those especially injection compression moulding processes.
Read the case study of Biosurfit to see how they got from mould making into production
The moulds and production processes are validated prior to production of parts. The Inspection of the parts is carried out using the latest vision and touch probe machines located in temperature controlled areas. The equipment is calibrated and can measure to sub-micron accuracy
Injection Moulding – Volume Production
Axxicon has all the necessary resources to carry out development projects from initial design through development phases and on to full scale production.
Turnkey solutions can be designed and implemented to improve productivity and quality, automation to achieve reductions in manufacturing costs.
Injection moulding is just one step in the production of a microfluidic diagnostic consumable. Other process steps have to be scalable too to create low cost, high quality consumable that can conquer the market.
Dedicated to Quality, Committed to your Requirements
To make sure our customers receive the right products, on time and with the desired quality, Axxicon works with flexible, skilled and experienced colleagues. We make sure that everyone is involved, communication is smooth, and processes in control.
When selling parts with micro and nanometre accuracy, being able to measure with absolute accuracy is of great importance. Axxicon has advanced, calibrated and certified measurement equipment and Aukom certified colleagues in house.
As our products are used world wide in high tech and medical environments it is especially important to deliver high quality, functional products with tightest tolerances.
Quality comes first at Axxicon
Axxicon makes sure to keep every relevant step and part within the chain traceable and in control. We’re continuously trying to improve processes with regards to quality and safety. Risk management is a high priority within our quality management.
Our partners and suppliers are carefully selected, have proven to be reliable and deliver the quality that aligns with our own approach.
Situated in Lisbon, Portugal, Biosurfit is a company that develops and sells medical tests for immunoassays, haematology and clinical chemistry. They had a product idea to enable physicians to give their patients more accurate and comprehensive answers in a single consultation. But how to fund and transform this idea into a prototype? Biosurfit needed a partner with experience in tooling and moulding microstructured components as well as product development and production. We at Axxicon were able to answer their call for help.
Biosurfit Founder and CEO João Garcia da Fonseca and Senior R&D Manager Nuno Reis revealed how Axxicon helped them to solve the production problem of their disposable diagnostic disc.
A brief history
“João started this company in 2006 with a small team. We all knew that we wanted to create a disposable diagnostic disc product for point of care testing. We just didn’t have the tech to carry it out. We knew what the disc should include and look like, the kind of chemistry we wanted to use, and we knew that the market was ripe for this kind of product. We wanted to bring together optics for detection, microfluidics for processing the samples, and reagents because you need them in order to make the reactions work for this kind of testing.
The down side of our idea? We had little knowledge about the tough regulatory requirements and no one to help us produce this kind of disc.
How Biosurfit met Axxicon
“When we first started to produce our microfluidic discs, we worked with an Asian company for microfluidic disc moulding. This company was fine when it came to low cost and low volume disc production. However, it was soon clear to us that for high volume production at the quality level required we needed a different technology. This is where Axxicon came in. Dirk Verhoeven, Technical Director, contacted me to introduce Axxicon and discuss what they could do for Biosurfit. Everything Dirk told me about just made sense and fit with our product requirements. You see, our former suppliers were mostly moulding discs, whilst Axxicon was constructing tailor-made moulds. Furthermore, some of our suppliers were actually using Axxicon moulds! Axxicon was not merely replicating the plastic, they had the actual knowledge about how to create and produce the specific moulds we wanted – Intricate moulds capable to produce millions of parts. What’s more, Axxicon was excited to create these kind of products.”
“We came to Axxicon with a cutting-edge request and they met our needs, right from the start. It’s been a journey of zeroing in on the challenges and then finding the solutions. Interesting, because there was no way to know what problems we were going to face at what time. We simply addressed the challenges together, head on. Axxicon has proved themselves to be much more than just a supplier.”
João Garcia da Fonseca
Biosurfit Founder and CEO
“We have worked with other companies, but Axxicon’s knowhow distinguishes them clearly from everyone else I have worked with from around the world. They can look at a design, consider all its challenging features and come up with a physical, working object. The people of Axxicon are really great at that!”