Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom reported these items from the Medical Design & Manufacturing West exposition, held Jan. 26-28 in Anaheim, Calif.
Inviro safety syringe made with PS, PP
Inviro Medical Devices Inc. has developed a safety syringe addressing the urgent and growing needle-stick problem.
A 1998 California law and a congressional initiative are pressuring medical providers and syringe suppliers for a rapid solution to a problem that annually results in the deaths of more than 200 health-care workers in North America.
GW Plastics Inc. of Bethel, Vt., began making preproduction molds in October and produced polystyrene and polypropylene components for the initial product. The safety syringes were displayed in its MD&MW booth.
Inviro, a Nevada corporation, expects to have production quantities in a range of sizes later this year and hopes to meet the Aug. 1 California legislative deadline for use of safety syringes, said F. Ross Sharp, chief executive officer of the Vancouver, British Columbia, company.
``The retractable needle syringe performs exactly like a standard syringe until the injection has been given,'' he said.
After giving the injection, a health-care worker gives a half-turn to the plunger, and withdraws it, pulling the needle back inside the barrel. The worker then snaps off the plunger and inserts it into the front of the barrel, safely encasing the needle within both the barrel and plunger, Sharp said.
``California has a major problem in complying with this legislation,'' he said.
Safety syringe manufacturers currently have capacity to make about 100 million products annually, ``but the requirement for California alone is 700 million to 800 million,'' he said.
Inviro has 40 patents worldwide. The Food and Drug Administration has approved the technology.
Prescription bottles meet visual mandate
Alphapointe Association for the Blind of Kansas City, Mo., has found a way to injection mold transparent tinted pharmaceutical bottles that meet a government mandate for visual inspection of the contents.
The agency tried various resins including clarified polypropylene but settled on Phillips Chemical Co.'s KR-05 K-Resin styrene butadiene copolymer with an ultraviolet-blocking color concentrate.
Alphapointe developed the bottle for use in U.S. Veterans Administration hospitals, where, previously, pharmacists needed to manually open each automatically filled white opaque bottle to verify its contents.
Using two Jomar blow molding machines, Alphapointe molds the amber-tinted 200-cubic-centimeter and 250-cc bottles in a six-cavity mold, and the 120-cc bottles in an eight-cavity mold.
Phillips, a division of Phillips Petroleum Co., makes the copolymer grades at its Pasadena, Texas, chemical complex. An expansion, currently under way, will boost the plant's annual nameplate capacity of K-Resin by 40 percent to 370 million pounds.
Accurate, Aim add equipment, capacity
Accurate Injection Molds Inc. and Aim Plastics Inc. of Clinton Township, Mich., invested about $450,000 for tooling and molding equipment to boost capacity.
``Due to requirements of the medical molding community, we needed to find a way to rapid-prototype molds,'' said Jim Jarrett, the firms' founder and president.
New tooling equipment included a third Fadal computer-numerically controlled machining center; a Bridgeport CNC; a second Hansvedt, a second Charmilles and a first Xermac electronic discharge machine; two more Bridgeport vertical milling machines; and four more Surfcam software licenses.
Aim Plastics added 170-ton Van Dorn and 30-ton Boy presses, two Whitlock dryers and two more Sterlco hotwater circulators. The molder has six injection molding machines with clamping forces from 22-350 tons.
The firms employ 21, including 11 mold makers, each of whom has a mobile computer-aided-design station.
``Each mold maker does the whole tool from start to finish,'' Jarrett said. Delivery times last year ranged from 2-5 weeks and averaged three weeks.
``By taking technology to the shop floor, we are able to start programming immediately upon receiving an order,'' Jarrett said. A data management program and a server confine data to a single base. Previously, databases for a job proliferated as a client's engineers provided input.
Predator direct-numerical-control software spoon feeds data to the machining center as needed and enables the firm to cut QC7 aluminum molds in a rapid fashion, Jarrett said.
The firms occupy 9,700 square feet and generated 1998 sales of $3.5 million.