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 active, healthy lifestyles. Outpatient surgery is becoming more common. So is in-home self-treatment.
Johnson said styrenic block copolymer and thermoplastic vulcanizates are growing about 8 percent annually in the medical market.