Sodick precision pays off for medical molder

May 26, 2023
Cretex Medical uses two-shot GL200 injection molding machine to make devices used to transfer fluids, medications into patients' bodies.

By Karen Hanna 

The medical devices molded by Cretex Medical require precision, and the company depends on fast service from its equipment suppliers.  

But not all OEMs deliver on those factors, said Jim Huelsnitz, facility maintenance supervisor for the company. When the company’s plant in Minnesota needed a new injection molding machine (IMM), it knew which supplier to contact — Plustech, the North American distributor of Sodick IMMs. 

“We've had a couple different two-shot machines, and they just have not performed as well. They don't have the precision that a Sodick machine has,” said Huelsnitz, who recently had high praise for Sodick’s machines and service. 

In installing its 220-ton, two-shot GL200 IMM about two years ago, Cretex followed a trend Sodick has been experiencing for a while. With demand for its two-shot machines gaining in popularity, the OEM said in February at Plastec West that it intended to add dual-injection machines to its mix of standard offerings. 

Kohei Shinohara, VP for Plustech, said two-shot molding offers advantages for molders that make parts that would otherwise require multiple handling steps.  

“Some people don't like to touch the parts because of medical device [requirements]. They want to do two-shot operation in a single-mold operation so [there’s] no human or robot interference between [the] first shot and second shot,” he said. 

Machines with the configuration available as standard include Sodick’s GL30, GL60, GL100, GL150 and GL200; in addition, bigger IMMs can be customized for two-shot molding. The numbers in the model names represent the presses’ clamping forces in metric tons. 

The machines excel at applications that require precision and tight tolerances, according to both Huelsnitz and Shinohara. 

“The target is definitely for the micro features, small shot, difficult parts, molding in two shots,” Shinohara said. 

Huelsnitz said Cretex uses its new machine to make medical parts that transfer fluids or medications into patients’ bodies. Materials it runs include ABS, nylon and rubber-like materials.  

Shinohara said Sodick’s IMMs are especially appropriate for applications involving medical, electronics and thin-walled parts, as well as parts that require silicone and elastomer seals, or connectors, such as those used in automotive parts. 

In combination with the two-shot feature, as well as separately, the company also is seeing increasing demand for its rotary tables that make handling parts easier, Shinohara said. 

“We have small machines to mid-size machines [available] with the factory-built rotary table. [The] rotary table is something that we have made our own … so many people like the integrated rotary table,” he said. 

Huelsnitz said Cretex Medical's molding division, which has more than 400 employees at its two plants in Brooklyn Park, Minn., and Soquel, Calif., has been impressed with Sodick and Plustech.  

He estimated that 90 percent of the 80 IMMs in Anoka, where about 350 people work in a brand-new, 250,000-square-foot facility, are Sodicks. 

“It’s been a great machine. We haven't had any problems with it,” he said of the newest addition. “It's a precision machine, and customer service after the sale has been outstanding. So, it's been a great company to partner with, and I would hope that they would say the same thing about us,” Huelsnitz said. 

Karen Hanna, senior staff reporter

[email protected]


Plustech Inc., Elk Grove Village, Ill., 847-490-8130,  

About the Author

Karen Hanna | Senior Staff Reporter

Senior Staff Reporter Karen Hanna covers injection molding, molds and tooling, processors, workforce and other topics, and writes features including In Other Words and Problem Solved for Plastics Machinery & Manufacturing, Plastics Recycling and The Journal of Blow Molding. She has more than 15 years of experience in daily and magazine journalism.