New medical-grade materials to be unveiled at PLASTEC West

Advances in medical-grade plastics will be highlighted by several exhibitors at the co-located PLASTEC West and MD&M West event in Anaheim, CA, in February. Described as the largest annual design and manufacturing event in North America by show organizer UBM, which also produces PlasticsToday, the trade show and conference is expected to attract more than 20,000 engineers and executives to the Anaheim Convention Center from Feb. 7 to 9, 2017.

Leading up to the event, we will profile several innovative technologies in store for attendees on the show floor and preview some of the compelling topics that will be addressed at the conference. For now, we turn our attention to a pair of exhibitors that will be introducing medical-grade materials at the event: Foster Corp. (booth 2615) will showcase a new compound for medical device components that require high strength, while Teknor Apex (booth 2438) will present a new family of thermoplastic elastomers that can replace latex in some medical applications.

Foster Corp. Nanomed Max
Foster Corp. Nanomed Max is suited for the fabrication of high-strength components for minimally invasive medical devices, where metal parts cannot be used.

Foster Corp. (Putnam, CT) has announced the introduction of a compound for medical device applications based on an alloy of meta-xylene diamine polyamide (MX nylon). Nanomed Max is suited for the fabrication of medical device components that require high strength without the use of metals or traditional reinforced plastics. The materials have been tested to USP Class VI and are suitable for reusable instruments or components that must withstand gamma, e-beam and ethylene oxide sterilization.

As minimally invasive procedures continue to gain traction, there is increased demand for instruments, fixtures and components that do not interfere with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized axial tomography (CAT), fluoroscopy and x-ray imaging. Metals are not suitable and plastics often require reinforcing additives, such as glass fiber, to provide sufficient strength for structural components, notes Foster Corp. However, these traditional additives are too large for molding or extruding intricate device components with thin wall sections. Unreinforced, high-strength materials, such as polyetheretherketone (PEEK), are often cost prohibitive, adds Foster Corp.

PLASTEC West and MD&M West are part of the largest annual design and manufacturing event in North America. More than 20,000 engineers and executives are expected to attend the trade show and conference, which comes to the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, CA, on Feb. 7 to 9, 2017. For more information, click here.

Nanomed Max compounds incorporate nanoclay particles into a high-strength nylon alloy. These platelet-shaped particles, less than one nanometer thick and up to 1000 times greater in surface diameter, provide reinforcement at the molecular level, enhancing strength and rigidity of the polymer without hindering flow into thin sections. The nanoparticles represent less than 10% by weight in the Nanomed Max compounds, resulting in 15% more tensile strength than unmodified PEEK, for approximately half the price, according to Foster Corp.

“Unlike PEEK, Nanomed Max compounds do not require high-temperature injection molding or extrusion equipment,” said Larry Johnson, Executive Vice President. “These alloys can be processed using standard mold and barrel heaters that are commonly used

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