SABIC introduces additions to its portfolio of innovative healthcare solutions

Focused on helping the healthcare industry reduce costs, SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business has added to its diverse and relevant solutions portfolio with the introduction of two new grades of high-modulus carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastics. 

A growing opportunity for medical device manufacturers includes a shift from using traditional metal or other fiber-filled materials in their applications to plastic. SABIC is working with its customers to support this shift with two solutions that offer medical device manufacturers the potential to optimize system cost as well as improve processability. 
“Identifying technologies that can help optimize medical device system costs while also maintaining –or even improving – the mechanical properties of the material in an application is a key requirement within the healthcare industry today,” said Cathleen Hess, Director of Healthcare Marketing for SABIC’s Innovative Plastics business. “The two new materials that SABIC has added are examples of our commitment to develop innovative solutions that can enable part consolidation, helping our customers to reduce both effort and cost.”

Through the innovative use of high modulus carbon fiber technology that is creatively compounded with high performance resins, SABIC has developed two new compounds which have shown significant improvement in stiffness versus similar compounds with standard carbon fiber technology, making them excellent candidates for replacing metal and other fiber-filled thermoplastics. Metal replacement is becoming more important as medical devices must withstand ever increasing in-service demands due to more complex designs, performance requirements and regulations. 

LNP™ THERMOCOMP™ EC006AQH compound, a 30% carbon fiber reinforced PEI resin, is an excellent material candidate for demanding applications that require high strength and stiffness, chemical compatibility and mechanical stability in repeated, harsh sterilization environments. The second material innovation is SABIC’s LNP™ LUBRICOMP™ DCI06APH compound, also a 30% carbon fiber reinforced polycarbonate resin, which combines the benefits  of high modulus carbon fiber with a high-flow, ductile polycarbonate. A great candidate for applications that require high strength and stiffness, internal lubrication and good processability, the compound can also help enable a balance between design flexibility and ease of manufacturing.

Designed to be comparable to the strength of metal, LNP THERMOCOMP EC006AQH compound enables medical device manufacturers to expand their use of injection-moldable engineering thermoplastics for several reasons.  These include the potential for reducing system costs, achieving greater design flexibility and enhancing device compatibility with image guided surgeries. Additionally, replacing metal can also enable part consolidation, which can reduce both the effort and cost of manufacturing devices. Potential applications for this compound include either disposable or re-usable surgical instruments, patient transport devices, fixation devices and medical device housings. 
Also offering an alternative to traditional material solutions, LNP LUBRICOMP DCI06APH compound is a high-flow material suitable for high-strength components where the use of metals or other fiber filled thermoplastics with poor flow can create design and manufacturing challenges. The compound enables complex part designs and potential part consolidation, enabling healthcare molders to reduce waste and improve cycle times. Potential applications include disposable surgical instruments, medical device housings as well as drug delivery device components.

Enhancing Portfolio of Chemical Resistant Materials to Offer Flexibility
With patient safety always a priority, the healthcare industry is mobilizing to address the concerns of patient infections associated with medical care, known as HCAIs (healthcare associated infections), by using increasingly aggressive disinfecting chemicals, which can cause environmental stress cracking on traditionally-used thermoplastics. SABIC has a portfolio of chemical resistant materials for medical device enclosures that have been created to help customers meet a broad range of potential device requirements.

SABIC’s chemical resistance performance test data, designed to aid medical equipment manufacturers in selecting materials to meet their device requirements, has recently been enhanced to include results from an Environmental Stress Crack Resistance (ESCR) study showing the performance of SABIC’s materials when repeatedly exposed to aggressive healthcare disinfectants – both alcohol/quaternary ammonium compound (QAC)-based disinfectants and alcohol-free/QAC-based disinfectants –  being used in the healthcare industry today. SABIC’s broad and relevant portfolio of chemical resistant materials includes semi-crystalline technologies such as VALOX™ PBT resin and XENOY™ resin (PBT/PC blend), as well as ULTEM™ and NORYL™ resins which offer additional flexibility in terms of chemical compatibility.

Meeting the Demands of Intense Sterilization Procedures
Heightened emphasis on infection control is intensifying the spotlight on the range of processes used to sterilize medical equipment and devices. Designed to meet the rigorous demands of multi-sterilization environments, SABIC’s ULTEM HU1004 resin technology is optimized to withstand high-temperature steam autoclave, gamma irradiation or hydrogen peroxide gas sterilization (with or without plasma) which can degrade devices over time by diminishing their mechanical integrity, interfering with performance or altering the aesthetics.   

Helping Reduce the Spread of Infections
SABIC’s LNP antimicrobial portfolio can offer medical device manufacturers solutions to address patient and clinician concerns of infections associated with medical care. The portfolio comprises nine different antimicrobial grades across four product families: LEXAN EXL copolymer, LEXAN polycarbonate (PC) resin, XENOY PC/polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) resin and polypropylene (PP) resins with and without fiberglass reinforcement. These resins use silver-based antimicrobial technology, as silver is well-suited to diverse applications and accepted as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial, with activity against multiple pathogens.

New PVC Grade
SABIC recently introduced a new polyvinyl chloride (PVC) grade, SABIC SPVC 71S, which has different medical applications such as breathing circuit, extension tube, dialysis bag, blood bags and fistula needles. SABIC SPVC 71S grade is chemically approved by different international pharmacopeias and comply with the requirements of the food contact regulations.

Enabling Consistent Supply and Regulatory Compliance
SABIC’s more than 50 high-tech healthcare materials are supported by its Healthcare Product Policy, designed to support OEMS in achieving regulatory compliance for healthcare and pharmaceutical applications. Customers can have confidence that these materials meet global standards for safety, are available in consistently formulated supply and have been pre-assessed for biocompatibility.
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