DAYVILLE, CONN. (May 21, 4:10 p.m. ET) — Putnam Plastics Corp. has extended the utility of plastics in medical technology with its development of high-strength monofilament fibers.
The Dayville, Conn., company said it has a proprietary process to make custom monofilament up to 0.1 inches in diameter from high performance materials like nylon and polypropylene.
“They can replace metal wires in medical applications,” explained Putnam director of marketing Dan Lazas in a telephone interview. Some medical devices and procedures like X-rays and magnetic imaging resonance need transparent or non-magnetic wire components. Instrumentation and orthopedics are two health-care markets Putnam believes can gain from its new, custom monofilaments.
Unlike conventional monofilaments, the high strength products are made by custom extruding rods and drawing them down markedly and in a controlled fashion to orient the polymer chains parallel to the draw-down force. A trick is to control diameters while maintaining strength and managing setup time and costs. Most fiber extruders wouldn't want to set up for the low volume, custom runs planned by Putnam, according to Lazas. Volume can be as small as a hundred thousand meter-long filaments. Putman makes its own dies.
Putnam began development of the new fibers last year and early this year has made them commercially available. Other materials for the fibers are polyester, polyurethane and thermoplastic elastomers. Lazas cited as a strength example a 0.05 inch nylon fiber with tensile strength of 200 pounds.
“The convergence of minimally invasive devices and medical imaging technologies are increasing demand for non-metallic components made from high performance materials,” stated Putnam general manager Ray Rilling in a news release. “These emerging device solutions are custom by definition.”
Lazas said Putnam has over thirty years of experience in catheter extrusion. The firm recently opened a new climate-controlled printing center with dedicated pad printers in Dayville to broaden its services to medical customers.
Putnam is part of PolyMedex Discovery Group in Putnam, Conn.