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New thermoplastics from Celanese reduce friction, wear, and noise in medical devices

Article-New thermoplastics from Celanese reduce friction, wear, and noise in medical devices

A new family of medical-grade polyoxymethylene (POM) thermoplastics has been introduced by specialty materials company Celanese Corp. (Irving, TX). The tribologically modified materials reportedly enable the manufacture of medical devices with a low coefficient of friction and wear. The polymer also is said to reduce the amount of squeaking that may be heard when a medical device is operated, further improving patient comfort. On the manufacturing side, the material can be processed without the need for external lubrication.

"There was a demand from our customers for a low-squeak material for medical devices," Wendy Johnson, Medical Marketing Manager, told PlasticsToday. "The low squeak performance is related to the low coefficient of friction and the tribological additive formulation," she explained.

Hostaform MT SlideX POM is described as a competitive alternative to other high-performance, tribologically modified compounds. In addition to the lower coefficient of friction compared with alternative materials, it comes with the Celanese medical technology (MT) service package. This results in the potential to reduce costs by removing design constraints and simplifying material combinations in complex devices.

The MT service package addresses quality, change control, and regulatory compliance issues in accordance with pharmaceutical and medical industry expectations, says Celanese. The company draws on its extensive experience with material supply to the medical market to provide comprehensive support to customers.

"The use of medically compliant polymers from Celanese is helping the medical industry to design and manufacture medical devices that can significantly increase patient comfort by reducing friction and noise," said Andrew Brown, Director of Celanese's global medical industry platform, in a news release distributed by the company. "These new materials can improve design and processing capability and increase performance levels of key medical components. The introduction of these new low-tribological polymer grades from Celanese underscores our commitment to medical industry innovation, which benefits patients who seek greater comfort and ease of use in their medical devices."

The material's mechanical performance profile combined with the company's service package make Hostaform MT SlideX POM well-suited for medical applications such as inhalers used in the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, injection devices such as insulin pens, surgical instruments, and portable diagnostic medical devices.

"We expect these materials to be especially interesting for the next generation of inhalers and injection devices," said Johnson. "However, they also may be a good fit with new match applications because of the enhanced properties, including the possibility of POM-on-POM designs."

Celanese's Hostaform and Celcon POM materials feature wear, long-term fatigue, and creep resistance at temperatures ranging from -40° to 100°C. Additional properties include toughness and rigidity, and moisture, solvent, and alkali resistance.

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