Benefiting from economic growth, population expansion and an intensifying aging phenomenon, coupled with everyone’s increasing concern about health issues, the global demand for medical devices is increasing sharply. In North America, it is expected the spending on healthcare will register a growth of 5.9% from 2017 to 2025. In Europe, rising demand for both dental and physical body implants is expected to have a positive impact on the medical plastics industry. In the Middle East and Africa, meanwhile, demand for medical components such as disposable gloves, syringes, and catheters will drive the market.
In China, the industry also expects to see substantial growth. This can be attributed to increasing private and public healthcare expenditures, and an increasing geriatric population, among other factors. In addition, at the beginning of 2019 three commercial giants - Baidu, Tencent, and Huawei - announced their entry into the medical device market. Experts project huge demand for Chinese medical devices as well as for high-end medical equipment.
In response to the trend, Chinaplas 2019, with focus on "Smart Manufacturing, Innovative Materials, Green & Circular Solutions", is turning a spotlight on medical plastics sector. Chinaplas will provide an opportunity for upstream and downstream of medical companies to network and learn about best practices, leading to a “safe, high precision manufacturing, portable” medical industry.
Novel materials support medical product makers
High-precision medical device products also place demanding requirements on the raw materials needed to make them. Device makers are seeking safer and more environmentally friendly materials, to include finding ways to use biocompatible and even biodegradable resins.
Clearly a new PP resin
Lotte Chemical, for example, has recently developed its latest compound - Transparent Impact-Resistance Polypropylene, or TIPP, using a new polymerization process technology. It offers a combination of transparency and impact resistance equal to that of conventional random copolymer polypropylene, as well as whitening resistance than general impact polypropylene. TIPP, which will debut at Chinaplas 2019, is suitable for transparent applications or for mixing with a masterbatch to produce high-gloss products, such as clear containers by injection molding or blow molding, transparent films, medical syringes and medical infusion bags, infusion bottles, etc. In addition, Lotte Chemical also will be promoting its safe and clean high-performance health and wellness solutions at the show. These materials can be developed into a wide range of medical products suitable for contact with the human body. While retaining excellent chemical resistance and impact strength, the products also meet strict international medical specifications.
TIPP, by Lotte Chemical, which will debut at Chinaplas 2019
Self-lubricating liquid silicone rubber
Needle-free access valves represent a new trend in infusion medical devices. The joint valve is an elastic joint made of silicone, which needs to fit snugly against the plastic parts of the outer wall and be able to withstand repeated needle insertions and removals during use. Therefore, self-lubrication is vital. Momentive Performance Material Inc. is going to introduce their medical-grade, self-lubricating liquid silicone rubber at Chinaplas 2019, which will enable needleless connector manufacturers to meet their required performance requirements.
PEEK and PPSU
The high-end performance resins PEEK (Polyetheretherketone) and PPSU (Polyphenylsulfone) play an irreplaceable role in the medical field. This is due to their excellent corrosion resistance, high purity, great strength, X-ray transparency, light weight, endurance of repetitive high-temperature steam disinfection, and high biocompatibility.
Junhua ChinaPEEK extends the application of PEEK and PPSU materials in medical devices to areas including automatic surgical robots, external fixation brackets, intramedullary nail surgery sights, skull surgery sights, PEEK dental instruments, surgical aids, joint surgical instruments and medical testing equipment, 3D printing, surgical beds and other medical accessories, and provide comprehensive technical solutions for the development and production of orthopaedic medical special plastics.
Smart manufacturing has a role to play
Medical device manufacturing is a multi-disciplinary, knowledge-based, capital-intensive, high-tech industry. It integrates different state-of-the-art technologies, combining traditional industries with biomedical engineering, information technology, and modern medical imaging technologies, resulting in high entrance barriers. The ability to meet such requirements provides one benchmark for determining the level of manufacturing sophistication and high-tech development a country has attained.
Riding on the wave of "Made in China 2025", China's ability to manufacture precision and mechatronics equipment has been strengthened, propelling the energetic development of the medical device industry.
Stringent requirements for equipment precision and environmental cleanliness are imposed on medical device manufacturers. The JE Series precision automatic injection molding machine by Powerjet Plastic Machinery Co., Ltd. is characterized by its fast speed, stability, energy saving, cleanliness, and precision. It has no hydraulic oil leakage and is a better choice for the production requirements of clean workshop environment for medical equipment and disposables packaging, in addition to satisfying needs related to unmanned, automated and intelligent production.
The medical puncture needle mold is an example of a precision injection mold, and since the resulting product made from it comes into contact with the human body, the product inspection requirements are very strict. JT Mold Technology Co., Ltd. will introduce Asia’s first Hot-Runner Side Gate mold during Chinaplas 2019. This mold set is made of German 2083 steel, which ensures minimal thermal deformation and excellent discharge performance. It employs the firm’s new 48-hole, full Hot-Runner Side Gate System technology, and can match the product core with the cavity.
JE Series precision automatic injection molding machine by Powerjet Plastic Machinery Co., Ltd.