Indianapolis — Hospital beds that improve the function of vital organs, reduce bed sores and improve circulation were the big winner in the Society of Plastics Engineers annual Plastics for Life competition.
More specifically, the Grand Prize winning part was a thermoformed pod made of thermoplastic polyurethane used as the support surface of the Isolibrium patient bed from Stryker Corp.
The pods, made by custom thermoformer Les Produits Plastitel Inc. of Laval, Quebec, are the main support surface of the bed. The parts facilitate patient mobility and ensure regular movement.
The company said the major challenges in forming the part were ensuring a minimum thickness on every individual pod and accurately measuring them.
The Plastics for Life competition was held at Antec 2016 in Indianapolis. A panel of judges selected the winners from among a wide range of parts that had already won in competitions at previous SPE events during the past year. The pods had won a gold award for heavy-gauge vacuum forming, and tied for the People's Choice award at the parts competition at last year's SPE Thermoforming Conference.
In Plastics for Life, though, the criteria are different. For example, some of the criteria for “sustaining life” include environmental, conservation, sustainability, recycling and source reduction, according to SPE CEO Wim De Vos.
More than 30 judges, including plastics trade press editors, evaluated the entries. With plastics sometimes under fire with issues like product bans, these awards are aimed at putting a spotlight on how plastics protect or improve the quality of life for consumers, said former SPE President Jon Ratzlaff.