Putting device durability to the test

When choosing a polymer for a medical device, it’s crucial to understand how the material will perform in the real world. Eastman’s 4-step test helps show how plastics hold up when exposed to frequent disinfection, but it’s also important to see how that translates into actual performance in the field.

 
That’s why we developed the housing drop test. This test can be used alongside the 4-step method to understand how a well-designed device will respond to impact after being disinfected.

 

Using materials commonly found in electronic medical device housings and hardware, we designed medical device housings with uniform wall thickness, gradual transitions, and smooth corners to help minimize stress. Each molded part was assembled with six screws using a fixed torque.

 

The devices were then submerged in Virex® TB for approximately two hours. To replicate use in the hospital environment, we dropped each device multiple times from a height of three feet and visually inspected for cracks and breakage.

 

The results of this test match closely with results from the 4-step test. To see the test in action and learn more about how different material performed, check out this video.

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Four steps for testing housing material performance
When exposed to commonly used aggressive disinfectants and drugs, many materials used in medical devices can crack, craze, discolor, and become sticky. Currently, there are no industry standards for evaluating surface compatibility. That’s why Eastman developed a 4-step test method based on ASTM standards to better understand why plastics fail and how different plastics perform in the real world.
 
This simple, easily-repeatable test can help predict the reliability of a material after exposure to harsh cleaners and drugs commonly used in hospital settings. The method uses a 1.5% constant strain jig together with wet patches for applying chemical reagents. Here’s how it works:
  1. Select the appropriate jig.
  2. Load flex bars onto jig.
  3. Apply chemicals to the flex bars.
  4. Perform reverse side impact test.
Step 4 is the differentiating step in this testing protocol. While visual inspection after step 3 may reveal changes in some plastics, there may be cracks or crazes that are not visible to the naked eye or identified by weight or dimensional changes. By performing Step 4, you are better able to predict the reliability of a device after exposure.
 
Read our Disinfect with Confidence brochure for more details on each step of the process, and check out this video.
 
Ultimately, this test should help you confidently choose the best material for your next project.
Learn more about Eastman’s medical grade polymers for medical device housings and hardware at Eastman.com/medicalhousings.


 
Tritan on Tour goes to Anaheim, California


Tritan on Tour took a trip across states to UBM Advanced Manufacturing Expo in Anaheim, CA where Eastman's next-generation polymer for the medical market was showcased to an intrigued crowd. Learn more about the new polymer by visiting http://www.plasticsnews.com/article/20180223/NEWS/180229943/eastman-emphasizes-value-of-disinfectant-ready-polymers.
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A preferred supplier that goes the extra mile
At Eastman, we go above and beyond the typical duties of a preferred supplier. Unlike many of our competitors, Eastman provides you with regulatory and technical services to help you through the manufacturing process—at no extra cost to you. This guidance, along with access to our high quality, innovative materials, will elevate your brand and ensure that you’re optimizing our polymers for your devices.
 
Our regulatory group stays current with global regulatory changes and makes this information readily available to the market. We provide you with all the necessary regulatory information for the safe use of our polymers, including details on compliance with Food and Drug Administration standards, chemical and mechanical properties, and more.
 
We also offer premium technical service for all aspects of the molding process, from conception through bringing your product to market. Eastman Design Services capabilities include:
 
  • Part design and existing mold design review
  • Mold-filling simulation
  • 3-D design
  • Structural finite element analysis
  • Material characterization/specialized testing
  • Stress and failure analysis
 
We provide material training in design, processing, and secondary operations, as well as on-site support during testing for your existing tooling. We can conduct mold-filling analysis for flow behavior and weld line location, offer shrink rate evaluation, identify cooling capabilities of the mold, and more.
 
Contact us today to learn more about working with Eastman.


 
Thank You for Asking
We often receive great questions about molding with Eastman medical grade polymers and are always glad to provide answers and more information. Here is a response to a recent query from our inbox:
 
“How environmentally friendly is Eastman MXF221 copolyester?”

Eastman strives to create solutions that offer more value with less environmental impact.
MXF221 copolyester is one of our many environmentally responsible offerings that meets
industry standards for safety and sustainability. Some of its innovative properties include:
  • It’s made without BPA, halogens, or ortho-phthalate plasticizers.
  • Its toughness and durability can potentially increase product life and reduce waste.
  • The flame-retardant additives used in do not contain antimony, bromine, or chlorine.
  • It’s suitable for transducer housing applications that require contact with the skin.
Read more about how Tritan is improving sustainability and design for devices and diagnostics.


 

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