Specialty polymers for medical device manufacturing
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Medical Films & Packaging

Medical FilmPolymeric films are used in a variety of medical applications.   These include disposable surgical gowns, mattress covers, fluid bags, transdermal patches and wound-care products. Films can be used in single-layer or multi-layer constructions, and can be manufactured from a variety of materials ranging from non-porous PVC to breathable Pebax®, as well as high barrier polyamide polymers, such as MX-Nylon and even polyolefin copolymers, including TPX™.

Medical Bags 

PVC is a material of choice for many film applications used in this construction of medical bags.  These include:

  • Intravenous (IV) bags
  • Blood bags
  • Nutrition feeding bags
  • Dialysis bags
Additional material options include polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP) and polyurethane (TPU). The selection of one material over the other is dependent on cost, application requirements, as well as bag contents.

For more information on this application segment, see Fluid Transport & Dispensing.

Medical Gowns & Moisture-Vapor Transmission Fabrics

Moisture-vapor transmission (MVTR) properties are critical for many applications that require breathability of the fabric, such as surgical gowns and wound care dressings. Pebax® MV 1074 SA 01 MED is a naturally hydrophilic polymer with excellent permeability to moisture vapor while remaining waterproof. Pebax® can be laminated onto synthetic nonwovens, wovens or any textiles with the help of some functional polyolefins and does not require any adhesives or bonding agents.

Polyurethane (TPU) film also offers a unique set of properties that make it an excellent choice for medical fabric applications as well,including gowns, drapes, gloves, sheets and pads. TPU offers antimicrobial properties, breathability and biocompatibility, all while maintaining elasticity and a soft to the touch feel. TPU films are also resistant to skin oils and have excellent tear and abrasion resistance. 

Barrier Films

Many medical packaging applications require superior barrier properties to protect internal devices, drugs and other agents, or to ensure sealed components do not permeate to the external environment. MX-Nylon (MXD6), a meta-xylene diamine polyamide, offers superior gas barrier properties against oxygen and carbon dioxide compared to all commercially available polyamides, as well as ethylene-vinyl alcohol (EVOH) copolymers, acrylonitrile (PAN) copolymers, and polyvinylidene chlordie (PVDC) copolymers. Excellent heat stability and a wide processing window, allows this unique polyamide to be co-extruded or co-injection molded with other polymers, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene (PE) for multi-layer medical packaging or containment systems that require low oxygen permeation. MX-Nylon is also suitable for applications that must withstand sterilization by gamma, e-beam, ethylene oxide and retort methods.

Release Films

Films used for protection of medical devices and equipment during transportation and handling require exceptional release properties, as measured by surface tension, so that the film can be easily removed without damaging the product. TPX™ polymethylpentene (PMP) polyolefin copolymer has a surface tension 38% lower than high density polyethylene (HDPE). Release films also benefit from this halogen-free, inherently transparent copolymer, TPX™ olefin copolymer has a sepcific gravity of 0.83, which is 13% lower than HDPE and represents the lowest density of any commercially available thermoplastic. TPX™ olefin-based release films minimize weight which can reduce transportation costs.