New medical designs debut at MD&M Minneapolis

There was a flurry of medical plastics news this week at MD&M Minneapolis.

Plas-Tech Engineering (Lake Geneva, WI) is using a new slate of materials in place of rubber and glass to improve performance of surgical syringes.

Higher-performing polymers debut in specialty medical syringes.

The Teknor Apex (Pawtucket, RI) medical elastomers are being specified in place of instead of thermoset rubber for the tiny plunger tips or seals that prevent drugs in the tube or barrel of single-use syringes from flowing backward as the plunger is depressed.

For the plungers and barrels in one series of syringes, the company uses polycarbonate as an alternative to polyolefins. For two other series, Plast-Tech molds these components out of cyclic olefin polymer and copolymer, respectively, as shatter-resistant alternatives to glass. While silicone coatings are widely used to ensure smooth movement of the plunger within the barrel, Plas-Tech uses a non-silicone coating to prevent possible interaction with the drug contents.

 The moves are indicative of more supplier involvement in the early stages of medical device engineering.

Early involvement

"We like to get involved with a project from Day One and we value suppliers who have the same attitude," said Aaron Hirschmann, president of Plas-Tech. "Early on, Teknor Apex saved us a lot of work because it provided toxicology data for its entire range of Medalist elastomers, helped us to pinpoint the grades that were best for the application, and supplied us with the small samples we needed for R&D."    

The new syringes from Plas-Tech currently are used in cosmetic surgery. The company supplies the three series of syringes in 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5cc standard sizes and can produce syringes on a custom basis as well. 

 Exhibitor Vention Medical (Marlborough, MA) announced it will acquire the ATEK Medical Group, which consists of ATEK Medical and ATEK Plastics. The companies' combined Costa Rica site will have more than 175,000 square feet of manufacturing space.

Molded LSR trays organize  instruments.

In addition, ATEK recently opened a second facility of 85,000 square feet in Grand Rapids MI. Chris Oleksy, president of ATEK Medical, said: "As a growing company, Vention is a very appealing partner for us in terms of their experience and their complimentary capabilities in design, components, and assembly."

Medbio expansion

Another exhibitor, Medbio, a contract manufacturer for the medical and biotech industries, recently completed a move to a new facility in Grand Rapids, MI that is 55% larger, with additional acreage for expansion. It also added three new presses and an additional clean room.

Reflecting an important trend evident at the MD&M show, Minnesota Rubber & Plastics (Minneapolis, MN) developed new products made from custom molded liquid silicone rubber.

The LSR trays make storage and autoclaving simpler with easy-to-recognize molded compartments. Tools fit tray contours, cushioning and protecting the devices from damage. The stackable LSR trays can be designed to hold families of different size tools. Individual tool compartments can be designed with risers and drainage holes for drying and to provide extra separation and protection for individual tools that are heavy or have sharp edges. The trays also can be molded in a variety of colors for product differentiation as they fit inside standardized or customized metal sterilization trays.


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