Teknor Apex Co. and Kraiburg TPE Corp. each have taken strides in expanding their thermoplastic elastomer-based medical product lineups.
Teknor, a maker of compounds and related items based in Pawtucket, R.I., has commercialized new TPE compounds that can achieve the properties of PVC, according to medical market manager Lisa Charno. Charno spoke at TPE Topcon, a Sept. 14-15 in Akron.
We've really achieved the feel of PVC with these products, she said. Medical devices need clarity, kink resistance and ease of use.
Medical devices also need to be able to be sterilized, with no yellowing or brittleness. That's always been a chink in PVC's armor. We can combine polymers to yield clarity that goes beyond functional requirements.
Charno added that PVC continues to face a lot of regulatory pressure from a growing corporate bandwagon over the alleged health risks of phthalate plasticizers.
Teknor's Medalist-brand medical compounds can be based on a variety of TPEs, including styrenics. The materials are finding applications in respiratory masks, flexible tubing and similar uses. Tubing using Medalist grades already has been manufactured on commercial-scale equipment, Charno said.
At Kraiburg TPE, the compounding firm has commercialized six types of medical-grade TPEs, researcher John Chiao said at TPE Topcon.
The new Kraiburg products are based on styrenic block copolymers and are made using a separate raw-material input system with clean-room compliance to avoid any type of contamination. The new grades have received numerous medical approvals and have passed gamma sterilization and steam sterilization tests, Chiao said.
The compounds also offer good overmolding performance and good adhesion with high density polyethylene, polypropylene and other thermoplastics, he added. They're being used in IV bags, syringe parts, oxygen equipment, hose and tubing and testing equipment.
Chiao also said that the materials are easy to color, and that Duluth, Ga.-based Kraiburg can offer them with a two-year supply guarantee.