By Nancy D. Lamontagne
Plastics are used for a wide range of medical applications such as tubing, implants, bioresorbable scaffolds, drug delivery, and medical devices. New manufacturing equipment and processes are helping medical plastics meet a variety of complex requirements while keeping costs and material use low. New materials are also upping the performance of medical plastics.
Preventing infection is important for this market. New materials and novel applications of plastics are helping prevent infection during medical procedures, and alternative techniques are giving manufacturers new options for sterilizing plastic devices. Packaging is also important for ensuring that devices stay sterile throughout their shelf life and during use.
Medical Tubing Extrusion
The Conair Group makes downstream extrusion equipment for medical microbore tubing (less than 0.060 inch in diameter) and for larger commodity medical tubing. Microbore tubing is used in products like heart and brain catheters, and properties such as ovality, concentricity, and burst strength are key. “For extrusion of microbore tubing, speed isn’t an issue, but these specialty materials are expensive, so manufacturers want to use the least material possible while maintaining precise properties,” says Bob Bessemer, Conair sales manager, Medical Extrusion.