Lubrizol introduced a soft hydrophobic thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) technology for medical applications at the trade show MD&M West this week. The technology, part of the Tecothane product line, eliminates the need for plasticisers. The material can be extruded or injection moulded.
“It can replace both PVC and silicone,” says Deb Langer, General Manager, Life Science Polymers at Lubrizol. “It has different properties. It is soft, but also hydrophobic. Our customers have given us great feedback about this technology.”
Langer said that there is a trend on the medical devices marketplace to reduce the use of PVC and find other alternatives, because of concern over the impact PVC could have on the environment and people’s health. Langer pointed to the US health insurance company Kaiser Permanente as an example. The company announced this year that it will not buy IV medical equipment made with plasticisers anymore.
“There is a place for PVC in this world, but there is a growing trend to move away from it,” says Langer. “We think we have a great technology.”
At MD&M West, Lubrizol also launched pre-coloured TPU resins. Previously, the Isoplast TPU resins were only available in natural. The resins are now available in white for nonimplantable medical applications. The addition of colour is meant to diminish variability, thereby reducing scrap and increasing consistency.Camilla Andersson