GE Healthcare used GE Plastics' experience in materials to make an ultrasound system one-third smaller and lighter than its predecessor.
GE displayed the Voluson E8 ultrasound system at Medical Design & Manufacturing West, held Feb. 13-15 in Anaheim.
Clare Frissora, health-care market director with GE Plastics in Pittsfield, Mass., said the firm was asked to change the composition of the E8. The obstetrics and gynecology scanner delivers real-time, three-dimensional images.
``Customers have concerns about [material] failures in the field'' and want to avoid that possibility, she said.
On GE Healthcare's behalf, injection molder Gebr. Schwarz GmbH of Rottweil-Neukirch, Germany, asked GE Plastics to help identify the correct materials.
``Many molders face these issues,'' Frissora said. ``We can help speed the existing process and add value.''
GE Plastics identified Cycoloy CX2244ME polycarbonate/ABS for the enclosure components, and glass-reinforced LNP Thermocomp PB10010 polyamide for the handle and cable holder. More than 30 plastic parts are used. Cycoloy is an impact-resistant, flame-retardant resin.
GE Healthcare introduced the E8 in its customized Voluson blue color at an October trade show in Germany.
GE Healthcare is based in Chalfont St. Giles, England.
Another GE Healthcare project used GE Plastics resins for the all-in-one Aisys Carestation anesthesia delivery system.
The materials included Valox polybutadiene terephthalate for work surfaces, foamed Noryl polyphenylene oxide for housing panels and Ultem polyetherimide for a gas scavenger system reservoir.
In another development, medical equipment supplier Merivaara Oy of Lahti, Finland, used GE Plastics resins in a redesign of the Merilux X1 lamp series.
GE supplied 30 percent glass-fiber-reinforced Valox 865 PBT and PET to replace an extruded aluminum housing, and metallized Ultem 1000 polyetherimide to replace an aluminum reflector. The resins met requirements for heat resistance up to 248° F, resistance to surface disinfectants and custom color capabilities without the need for painting.
Now, the lamp housing is made of two injection molded halves, instead of three parts that required assembly. The lamps weigh less, operate cooler and adjust more easily than earlier models.