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Metal replacement allows consolidation of 13-part assembly into single component

Idexx chemistry analyzer

Chemicals company Sabic (Sittard, Netherlands) has spent a good amount of time analyzing what it calls the “mega trends” in healthcare, Dr. Ton Hermans, Senior Product Manager Healthcare, told me from the company’s bustling stand at K 2016 in Düsseldorf, Germany. Those trends, which are interconnected in myriad ways, include self-treatment and homecare, which are shifting the focus of device design and fabrication away from the professional user to the patient, along with cost reduction, lightweighting and aesthetic appeal.

Three materials from Sabic are used in the fabrication of a chemistry analyzer from Idexx.

Through its materials expertise, which is supported by a portfolio that spans pololyfins to high-performance plastics and specialty compounds, and its application insights, Sabic routinely helps medical device OEMs match material properties to a product’s functional requirements. Several items on display at the K show illustrated how the materials supplier helps medical OEMs respond to mega trends—lightweight, impact-resistant insulin pumps; stress crack–resistant hospital equipment; and transparent, easy-to-use drug-delivery devices—one product that caught my attention doesn’t even serve the needs of human patients.

The Catalyst One chemistry analyzer marketed by Idexx (Westbrook, ME) is designed for veterinary offices. “It used to be made of metal,” said Hermans, “and by designing it in plastic, we were able to take out weight and make it more portable so that it can be wheeled around the office.” Injection molding also enabled a substantial reduction in assembly operations. “The company was able to replace an assembly that required 13 separate parts with a single plastic component,” he noted.

Idexx selected a high-modulus, 40% glass/mineral-filled Noryl resin for the chassis, which allowed the company to achieve the aforementioned part consolidation as well as 63% weight reduction and 77% material and assembly cost reduction, according to Sabic. Cycoloy resin was selected for the enclosure because of its chemical resistance and processability. As for the drawer and lift drawer, which require repeatable, smooth operation, an FR-rated Lubriloy compound with inherent lubricious properties was chosen.

Sabic is exhibiting in hall 6 at stand D42.

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