AKRON, OHIO (Sept. 19, 2012)—In health care, thermoplastic elastomers mean much more than their trademark soft touch, according to Larry Johnson, PolyOne Corp.'s global director of health-care marketing, at the TPE TopCon conference in Akron.
TPEs improve the grip of surgical instruments, aiding the precision needed for the ever-smaller devices used for non-invasive surgery, Johnson said. He also showed a slide of the Cimzia prefilled syringe for people with arthritis, with soft padding for a better grip. The strategic placement of TPEs improves the feel of the product, giving the perception of better control, he said.
“Lowering muscular disorders is a big part of it, because as we get older we have problems with arthritis,” Johnson said in a presentation at the Society of Plastics Engineers' event, held Sept. 10-12.
Johnson cited trends of older baby-boomers trying to live an active, healthy lifestyle. Outpatient surgery is becoming popular. So is self-treatment in your own home.
“Ergonomic enhancement fits in perfectly to this mega-trend,” he said. Grips, knobs and caps made of TPEs are easier to open, he said.
Johnson said styrenic block copolymer and thermoplastic vulcanizates are growing about 8 percent annually in the medical market.