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Medical TPE Material Solutions at COMPAMED 2009
VTC Elastoteknik AB
The VTC TPE Group used COMPAMED 09 to showcase the technically advanced properties of their custom formulated Mediprene range of thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) for medical device applications.
Mediprene thermoplastic elastomers offer numerous advantages for the medical device designer; they are resistant to many fluids used in the healthcare environment and are sterilizable with gamma, EtO and steam. Representative grades have passed cytotoxicity tests according to ISO 10993-5 and biocompatibility tests according to USP Class VI. As a TPE they combine the flexibility and soft-touch appeal of rubber with the processing benefits of a thermoplastic. Mediprene TPEs are PVC, silicone and latex free, making them allergen free and a viable alternative to PVC based compounds.
Applications include IV systems, catheters, valves, intubation and respiratory equipment, resealable membranes, drip chambers and wound care products. Specific Mediprene tubing compounds have been developed to address the requirements for medical tubing. These include a high level of transparency, allowing for clear visibility of the passage of liquids and anti-kinking properties to ensure the free flow of liquids and gasses through the tubing. Mediprene TPE tubing grades also display good damping properties, thereby slowly recovering after deformation like PVC, an important element in catheter tubing design. For catheter applications, the tubing is often coated in order to achieve a low-friction surface, Mediprene TPE compounds have been successfully modified for better wettability and adhesion of such coatings.
According to Niklas Ottosson, medical technical manager VTC TPE Group, “The material selection process is a critical step in the design of your medical device. Early choice of optimum materials with sure supplies at the right grading for both physical properties and to meet the regulatory requirements is crucial to the success of your project. That is why we have a collaborative approach, working with OEMs and medical device designers to develop custom formulated Mediprene grades that precisely match the properties they’re looking for - flexibility, sterilizability, clarity, surface hardness and so on. Furthermore, as formulation stability and change notification is vital for our medical customers, we work in close co-operation with our suppliers to be able to offer our customers the requested information and guarantees.”