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PolyOne's Larry Johnson discusses medical ergonomics

By: Bill Bregar

September 18, 2012

AKRON, OHIO (Sept. 18, 9:40 a.m. ET) — In health care, thermoplastic elastomers mean much more than their trademark soft touch, Larry Johnson, PolyOne Corp.’s global director of health-care marketing, said at the TPE TopCon conference in Akron.

TPEs improve the grip of surgical instruments, aiding the precision needed for the ever-smaller devices used for non-invasive surgery, Johnson said. He also showed a slide of the Cimzia prefilled syringe for people with arthritis, with soft padding for a better grip. The strategic placement of TPEs improves the feel of the product, giving the perception of better control, he said.

“Lowering muscular disorders is a big part of it, because as we get older we have problems with arthritis,” Johnson said in a presentation at the Society of Plastics Engineers’ event, held Sept. 10-12.

Johnson cited trends of older baby-boomers trying to live an active, healthy lifestyle. Outpatient surgery is becoming popular. So is self-treatment in your own home.

“Ergonomic enhancement fits in perfectly to this mega-trend,” he said. Grips, knobs and caps made of TPEs are easier to open, he said.

Johnson said styrenic block copolymer and thermoplastic vulcanizates are growing about 8 percent annually in the medical market.