ST. PAUL, Minn.—Minnesota Wire Co., a specialist in the custom design and production of cable assemblies for medical devices, selected Teknor Apex Co. to replace its thermoplastic vulcanizate elastomers.
Minnesota Wire replaced the TPVs that are standard in such applications with new styrenic thermoplastic elastomer compounds from Teknor Apex. Marketed under the Medalist MD-8421, MD-8431 and MD-8451 brand names, the TPE-S materials were created specifically for the medical market.
The elastomers can be used for insulation, jacketing, and molding fittings and connectors. The Shore A hardness levels of the compounds are 92, 69 and 82, respectively, and have a maximum continuous operating temperature rating of 105° C, Teknor Apex said.
“Part of our time is always looking out for new materials, and so when Teknor Apex had this product launch, it fit a niche,” said Jeff Lewison, a designer/test engineer at Minnesota Wire.
Lewison said Minnesota Wire had “a need in this niche for improvement.” The company sought a company that could meet the need and found Teknor Apex. Minnesota Wire had used some of Teknor Apex's products in the past, but in general, all-purpose fields, not in the medical sector. This is the first time the companies have come together for any formulating.
Minnesota Wire talked to Teknor Apex, Lewison said, tested the product, made some formula changes and “have a product now that we're pretty excited about.”
He said it was about finding better materials with better properties and replacing what was there. A few other companies were looked at, but in the end, Minnesota Wire selected Teknor Apex because of its compounds' physical attributes “and its ability to handle the wide variety of chemicals and sterilization properties.”
Ross Van Royen, senior market manager for regulated products at Teknor Apex, said “we went back to our tried-and-true compounds, which are our Elexar grades for wire and cable applications.”
He said the Elexar compounds have had many years of success mainly—but not exclusively—in industrial uses, so “what we did was reformulated those specifically for medical applications.”