Eastman Chemical has developed an all-new copolyester compound that exhibits enhanced chemical resistance towards disinfectants commonly used in healthcare establishments. Eastman Chemical’s MXF221 copolyester compound reportedly outperforms commonly used housing materials in such environments. The material is being showcased at the Chinaplas show in Shanghai, China (Stand 7.2U01), where many of the world’s medical equipment housings are molded.
|Eastman Chemical’s Trivette presented the attributes of MXF221 copolyester compound at a pre-Chinaplas media event in Shanghai.|
Hospital-associated infections (HAI) have become a major issue in medical care institutes and healthcare providers are resorting to increasingly aggressive disinfecting regimes, which in some cases is resulting in premature failure of medical device housings due to discoloration, crazing, cracking, and hazing. Cracking in particular is an issue because devices are often moved frequently throughout hospitals and subject to knocks.
Commonly-used disinfectants include hydrogen peroxide, hypochlorite, glutaraldehyde (Cidex), benzyl quat-based disinfectants such as Virex TB, and Vesphene alkaline phenolic disinfectant. In tests with these disinfectants, MXF221 retained in excess of 80% of impact energy to break whereas a PC/PT grade retained less than 60% for Virex TB and isopropyl alcohol (IPA). PVC meanwhile, failed when it came to hydrogen peroxide and Virex TB.
Several medical devices already use the new copolyester, while around 150 projects are in the development and testing phase, which is surprising for a material debuted just recently in a highly regulated market according to Tammy Trivette, Global Marketing Director, Medical Plastics Specialty Plastics Business Organization, at Eastman Chemical. Around 50 of these projects are in China and have been implemented over the last 12–18 months.
Eastman Chemical is seeing medical grade resin sales grow by 15% a year in Asia Pacific according to Trivette. The main markets are medical packaging (65% of sales), followed by IV catheters (15%), blood contact (12%), and its fast-growing medical housings market (8%).