Eastman expands Tritan into rigid medical packaging

One year after launching the line at the same event, Eastman Chemical Co.'s (Kingsport, TN) medical polymers unit has expanded its Eastman Tritan copolyester offering with the introduction of the MP100 grade for rigid packaging. Intended to supplement Eastar copolyester 6763, which has been offered to the medical market for the past 20 years, Eastman launched Tritan MP100 at MD&M West (Feb. 9-11; Anaheim, CA), saying it provides chemical resistance, clarity, and toughness through higher heat resistance and strong post-sterilization clarity compared with other polymers. Addressing customers and the trade press at a launch event, Greg Nelson, Sr. VP and chief technology officer at Eastman, said this latest offering builds on the strong receptiveness the market has had for the material. "We're seeing the medical industry move faster on Tritan than they have on any previous new offering from us," Nelson said. The two Titan grades launches last year already see use in IV system components as well as respiratory and blood therapy devices.

The MP100 offering for rigid packaging is intended for sheet extrusion and thermoforming and would be used to encase surgical kits and other medical systems, which need a long shelf life and the ability to resist impact so sterilization is not lost. In addition, the company feels that the material will help reduce the cost of ethylene oxide (EtO) sterilization by sustaining higher sterilization-chamber temperatures and allowing faster EtO cycle times with a reduced risk of warping and sticking.

The company says copolyester's properties will allow package redesign, including lightweighting and downgauging. In extrusion, the company says MP100 has properties similar to Eastar, but that it can be thermoformed with less wasted material and time since it doesn't stress-whiten, or increase particulate or angel hair compared to sheet made from acrylic, acrylonitrile, or polyvinyl chloride.

At the same event, Eastman and medical-focused design firm DD Studio announced a collaboration to advance Tritan innovations for the medical market. The first effort combines a double-dose cup for administering liquid medicines with the sample chips that engineers use to gauge a material's appearance at various thicknesses. The three-piece design highlights the thick-to-thin-wall capabilities of Tritan, while featuring sections that are typical sample chip thicknesses. In addition, the twist-shut design highlights the material's cold swaging capabilities. This joining technique offers designers and fabricators unique possibilities to bond parts. The method involves bending and crimping a plastic to join two join parts, without heat, chemicals, adhesives, or mechanical fasteners. Tony Deligio


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