USING PLASTIC MATERIALS IN THE FIELD OF HEALTHNhuaDuyTan
THE ROLE OF PLASTIC IN THE MEDICAL FIELD
Plastic has made our lives easier and more convenient. From household appliances, food packaging to medical equipment, plastic has become an indispensable part of life.
Plastics can be processed into any shape or size and can be easily functionalized to produce desired chemical or functional properties. Medical instruments that were once made of steel, ceramic, or glass have now largely been replaced by plastics and have proven to be cost-effective and highly durable.
Medical instruments made from plastic materials such as medical forceps, urine pipes, plastic bags, syringes, plastic trays for components, and test tubes are heavily used in medical facilities, especially for the prevention and control of the Covid-19 epidemic.
With the intent development of the industry, many high-performance plastics and technologies used in medical devices continue to be born. Besides traditional medical plastics (PP, PVC, PE, silicone rubber, etc.), some high-performance materials such as polyetheretherketone (PEEK), biocompatible polycarbonate (PC) ), thermoplastics (TPE) are also becoming increasingly popular. And so, plastic has become one of the important materials to promote the development of the medical device industry.
Thanks to the continuous development of medical plastics and processing technology, manufacturers of medical devices and disposable medical supplies could improve production efficiency and product quality to meet the growing market demand and create unlimited business opportunities.
ADVANCED DEVELOPMENTS IN MEDICAL PLASTIC
Besides the above applications, There are also several patient treatment methods that use plastic, such as internal implants, catheters, and joint replacements. 3D printing makes it much easier to create inexpensive, comfortable prosthetics and customized implants. In the future, 3D printing could also recreate bones or organs to study or prepare a surgery.
Researchers are currently testing an injectable plastic that could help gently staunch bleeding due to internal trauma. And others have found a way to use polyurethane foam to create a structure on which new bone tissues can develop.
While the technology is not yet viable as a lifelong solution, artificial hearts made of special medical plastic are helping extend patients’ lives as they wait for heart transplants.
When combined with skin stem cells, plastic can be used as skin grafts to heal burns and ulcers. Self-healing polymers can repair themselves after being cut.
Another innovation being studied are polymers that use electrical conductivity to mimic the sensitivity that organic skin experiences. Such a polymer could be used to create prosthetics with touch sensitivity, which would help prosthetic users regain their sense of touch.
There are also special plastics used in medical devices with antimicrobial surfaces. Such surfaces are highly effective at both repelling and killing dangerous bacteria, even if they aren’t regularly sterilized.
MEDICAL PLASTIC MARKET SIZE
According to Polaris Market Research, the global medical plastics market reached 22.2 billion USD in 2017 and is expected to reach over 37.5 billion USD by 2026. The compound annual growth rate is predicted to reach 6.1%/ year during the forecast period.
In 2017, the medical components segment dominated the global market (in terms of revenue).
The North American medical plastics market generated the highest revenue in 2017 due to the growing demand for medical plastics from countries, such as the US and Canada. The growing geriatric population coupled with substantial investments in the health sector have also resulted in increased use of medical plastics in the region. The North American medical plastics market is forecasted to continue to be the leading contributor to the overall global plastics market share.
The global medical plastics market is characterized by the diversified presence of small and medium-sized international suppliers. These companies are constantly launching new products to enhance their offerings in the market. With the advancement of technology, companies are innovating and introducing new products that are customized to serve the growing needs of their customers. Leading companies are also acquiring others and enhancing their products to improve market access. Acquisitions allow key players to increase market potential, expand geographically and expand small companies and departments.
COMMON PLASTICS USED IN MEDICAL APPLICATIONS
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)
Medical PVC products currently account for 25% of the market mainly due to their low cost, wide application range, and easy processing of PVC. PVC products used in the medical field include dialysis tubes, breathing masks, oxygen tubes,…
Polyethylene is a plastic with high impact strength, low friction, resistance to stress cracking, and good energy absorption properties. PE is often used as the ideal material for artificial hip, knee, and shoulder connectors.
Medical PP products have high transparency, good blocking properties, and radiation resistance, so it is widely used in the medical device and packaging industries. Non-PVC materials with PP as the main body are widely used alternatives to PVC materials.
Polystyrene (PS) and K
PS is the third most widely used plastic (after polyvinyl chloride and polyethylene). It is commonly processed and applied as a single-component resin. PS’s main characteristics are lightweight, transparency, ease of dyeing, and good molding and processing.
K resin is a combination of styrene and butadiene. It is an amorphous, transparent, odorless, non-toxic polymer, with a density of about 1.01g/cm3 (lower than PS and AS). Its transparency is good (80 ～ 90%); the heat deformation temperature is 77 ℃; the hardness of the butadiene component in the K material is also different. Because K material has good fluidity and a wide processing temperature range, its processing has good performance.
These two materials are mainly used in medical packaging products.
Acrylonitrin butadiene styrene (ABS)
ABS plastic has good toughness, impact strength, chemical, radiation, and ethylene oxide sterilization resistance.
ABS is mainly used in medical treatment for surgical instruments, roller clamps, plastic needles, instrument cases, diagnostic equipment, and hearing aid housings, especially the housings of some large medical devices.
Typical properties of PC resins are strength, hardness, and heat-resistant steam sterilization.
With the above features, PC has become the preferred choice for the blood screening program, surgical instrument handle, and oxygen tank (in heart surgery, this device can remove blood from Carbon dioxide, and increase oxygen). PC’s Medical applications also include needleless injection systems, infusion devices, blood centrifuge bowls, and pistons. In addition, due to its high transparency, PC is also used in myopia glasses.
PTFE has excellent performance, the lowest coefficient of friction among plastics, and good biocompatibility.
Therefore, PTFE can be made into artificial blood vessels and other devices implanted directly into the human body.
GMP STANDARDS IN MEDICAL PLASTIC PRODUCTION
Medical plastic products must pass medical testing before being put into use. Quality control must be carried out from the beginning of the plastic material until the product is released from the factory warehouse.
GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) is a standard of the Ministry of Health on quality management and supervision of medical device manufacturers, including the entire process from raw material preparation, production, packaging, and shipping.
Requirements for human resources
Production staff should have professional qualifications and skills, clearly understand their responsibilities and roles in the production line. At the same time, the standard also sets out regulations on regular training and coaching requirements to improve the qualifications of the staff.
Requirements for factory system, design
The production site needs to be clean. Designing areas in the workshop need to optimize the area used but still ensure efficiency.
The system of plastic injection molding and plastic molding machinery needs to be modernized, with a large production capacity to promptly meet the required number of orders in case of urgency.
Requirements for environmental hygiene
Environmental hygiene is also one of the important contents of the standard. A factory that is considered GMP certified needs to be able to handle waste and hazardous chemicals. In addition, the issue of factory environmental hygiene also needs to be focused on to ensure the health of workers.
Requirements for production and processing
According to the requirements of the standard, manufacturers need to control the quality of raw materials, processing processes as well as promptly detect risks when testing. This helps ensure the quality of the product when it is put on the market.
Requirements for storage and distribution
Another equally important content is the issue of product preservation and distribution. In order to ensure the health of the user, the product should be stored at a reasonable temperature, light, and humidity.
MEDICAL PLASTIC PRODUCTION
The properties of plastics or polymers in medicine must be manufactured to standards that pass the verification and validation requirements of regulatory agencies. The finished product must be biocompatible, resistant to temperature, impact, and corrosion to withstand high wear. Common thermoplastic materials used in the manufacture of medical plastic products include polycarbonate, polypropylene, polyethylene, or formulations of custom polymers.
Injection blow molding and extrusion blow molding are two of the main technologies for plastics manufacturing in general and medical plastics in particular. Unlike other applications where it is possible to reuse recycled plastic or waste products in the pressing process to continue a new product cycle, in the production of medical plastics that requires a very high degree of safety, the molecular structure of recycled products or reheated glue products may break, making them more susceptible to the surrounding environment and therefore not meeting the safety level of the product.
For products such as test tubes, plastic caps, cylinders, and sample bottles, hot runner technology keeps the plastic in a molten state without producing waste during the plastic injection process. In addition, the hot runner system maintains a constant temperature-balanced flow from the nozzle of the machine to the pump port. Therefore, the hot runner mold helps the manufacturer to fill all the mold cavity that requires high precision, narrow and long cross-section (Test tube, perform).
Duy Tan Precision Mold Company has more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing plastic injection molds and processing medical plastic products. With a mold factory system that meets ISO 9001: 2015; ISO 14001:2018; ISO 45001:2018 standards, and an ISO 15378:2017 certified plastic factory, we provide a comprehensive solution for packaging for pharmaceutical products (ensure GMP, BRC global standards) and plastic products for laboratory and medical research.
Duy Tan Precision Mold Co., Ltd
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