MD&M West: Medical Materials Mecca

Posted in Medical Plastics by Bob Michaels on February 25, 2013
The Q-Flo valve connector from Infusion Innovations Inc. is made using Bayer's Makrolon resin.

Readers of MPMN’s Medtech Pulse may have noticed that bioresorbable materials took center stage at MD&M West. But there’s much more to the world of medical device materials than the admittedly crucial space occupied by bioresorbables and bioabsorbables. Here’s a small sampling of other types of medical device materials that were on display at the show.

Medical-Grade Polycarbonate…and More

Bayer MaterialScience LLC (Pittsburgh) took the opportunity presented by MD&M West to unveil a new material: Makrolon Rx2440, a clear, high-flow polycarbonate that provides fast recovery time in color shift. “This new high-energy-stabilization polycarbonate offers good flow and minimal color shift,” remarked Bruce Fine, the company’s market segment leader, medical and consumer products. Able to undergo gamma or E-beam sterilization, this material can be used in a variety of medical device areas, including IV access, respiratory, surgical, and renal care applications.

“With its outstanding combination of rigidity, toughness, high flow, and unique color-recovery after irradiation, Makrolon Rx2440 polycarbonate addresses two simultaneous trends—designers taking advantage of polycarbonate’s high stiffness to design thinner walls and molders requiring ever-more productivity,” Fine added.

Weldable Medical-Grade Polymers

Eastman Chemical Company (Kingsport, TN) has rolled out a family of clear medical-grade polymers that has found use in a range of medical device applications, including a continuous vital signs monitoring system from Sotera Wireless Inc., a pneumatic tube carrier from Pevco, and a three-way stopcock and y-connector from A. Hopfer GmbH. Dubbed Tritan, the copolyester is suitable for use in renal applications, intravenous connectors, and cardiac and other surgical devices.

Used in a laser welding application developed by IPG Photonics, Tritan copolyester does not require additives and is not manufactured with bisphenol A, remarked Gopal R. Saraiya, Eastman’s marketing manager, medical devices. A clean process, this laser welding application does not result in biofilm generation, and because it involves the use of lasers, no tools come into contact with the medical device material itself, making the process controllable.

Antimicrobial Materials

Sabic's antimicrobial compounds are used to make a variety of medical devices used in hospital settings.

Not to be left behind in the race to develop new medical device materials, Sabic (Pittsfield, MA) took advantage of MD&M West to launch a group of nine antimicrobial compounds that it touts as one of the broadest antimicrobial portfolios in the industry that offers distinct advantages over off-the-shelf concentrates combined with third-party resins.

Suitable for hospital devices, housings, and implants designed for use in the body for 29 days or less, the antimicrobial grades span four product families: Lexan EXL copolymer, Lexan polycarbonate resin, Xenoy polycarbonate/polybutylene terephthalate resin, and polypropylene resins with and without fiberglass reinforcement. Five grades have a high antimicrobial effect while four have a low antimicrobial effect, according to David Wildgoose, Sabic’s general manager, North America, Engineering Resins, Innovative Plastics.

Based on silver, the materials are suitable for many applications that require a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent. They combat a range of pathogens, including gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, mold, and fungus.