New Testing Helps Medical Device Manufacturers Select Optimal Plastics for Challenging Health Care Environments

Four-Step test helps in choosing material that withstands aggressive disinfectants.

Kingsport, Tenn. — June 9, 2017 — Medical device housings can crack, discolor, and become brittle and sticky after repeated exposure to the aggressive disinfectants used in today's health care settings. The choice of plastic can therefore have a significant impact on the service life of a medical device. To help manufacturers select plastic that withstands the full spectrum of disinfectants used to prevent hospital-acquired infections (HAI), Eastman has introduced a simple four-step test to measure the performance of different plastics.

Information about the test protocol will be available at the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation Conference (AAMI), Austin Convention Center in Austin, Texas, June 9–12. Eastman material and design experts will be available in booth 1018 to share comparative test data and to interface with product managers, biomedical technicians, clinical engineers, and other health care professionals who manage, track and repair medical equipment. They will share how RFIs and RFPs can be used to request devices that can withstand a broader spectrum of disinfectants and aggressive use conditions because of new material choices.

Eastman's replicable, four-step testing process demonstrates the impact resistance and durability of different plastics after being treated with frequently used hospital disinfectants. The protocol includes a reverse side impact test that differentiates the impact resistance of different plastics. The protocol is designed to help manufacturers competently choose a material for myriad medical device applications such as MRI coils, ultrasound probes, buttons, handles, and portable pieces of equipment that see significant wear and tear on hospital floors.

"Medical device manufacturers are confronting the need to create housings that can withstand an even broader spectrum of disinfectants and harsh solvents," says Ellen Turner, global market development manager, specialty plastics in medical devices, Eastman. "The right material choice can safeguard against repetitive failures and ensure greater patient safety and lower cost of ownership."

Clorox Healthcare, an industry leader in infection control, has endorsed Eastman's four-step protocol as an effective tool to reliably assess the integrity of a device or surface after repeated cleaning and disinfection. At AAMI, Eastman will be hosting representatives of Clorox Healthcare at the Eastman booth.

"Eastman's testing shows that the type of plastic used in these sensitive applications is critical to patient safety and device reliability," says Laurie Rabens, senior product manager — Marketing, Clorox Healthcare.

Eastman has produced a video that illustrates how the four-step test can be performed in test labs using simple equipment. The video compares the performance of Eastman Tritan™ copolyester with other commonly used materials that include polycarbonate, polycarbonate/ABS, polycarbonate/PBT and Polycarbonate/PET. 

Eastman materials for handheld and other electronic medical device housings are opaque, BPA-free polymers that offer excellent hydrolytic stability, good chemical resistance, and toughness. The materials can withstand rigorous use and disinfectants, while offering increased durability and reduced product failures for a wide variety of applications. Unlike other materials, Eastman medical polymers do not become sticky to the touch, even after repeated cleaning with aggressive solvents.

"We encourage medical device developers and material specialists to put different plastics to the test in their own labs," says Turner. "At the core of the scientific method is the ability to produce replicable results."

To learn more about Eastman's medical market offerings and how to implement the new four-step protocol, visit Eastman booth 1018 at AAMI.

About Eastman

Eastman is a global advanced materials and specialty additives company that produces a broad range of products found in items people use every day. With a portfolio of specialty businesses, Eastman works with customers to deliver innovative products and solutions while maintaining a commitment to safety and sustainability. Its market-driven approaches take advantage of world-class technology platforms and leading positions in attractive end-markets such as transportation, building and construction and consumables. Eastman focuses on creating consistent, superior value for all stakeholders. As a globally diverse company, Eastman serves customers in more than 100 countries and had 2016 revenues of approximately $9.0 billion. The company is headquartered in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA, and employs approximately 14,000 people around the world. For more information, visit www.eastman.com.

Editorial Contact:

Paul Hendley

ABI, Inc.


Tel. 646-740-1024


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