Industry News

INEOS Styrolution & Teel Plastics Develop Styrenic Copolymer-based Medical Tubing

Published on 2019-09-16. Author : SpecialChem

TAGS:  Medical    

Teel Plastics Medical TubingINEOS Styrolution has developed a grade of styrene butadiene block copolymer - Styroflex® 4G80 - as an alternative material for tubing applications to traditional materials such as PVC used in the medical market.
Teel Plastics has processed Styroflex® 4G80 into a variety of different tubing sizes and dimensions.

  • The material easily processed on standard extrusion equipment with only minor adaptations from flex-PVC processes.
  • Styroflex® 4G80 is solvent bondable and bonds well with conventional IV system components with common solvent systems.
  • Medical device OEMs looking for an alternative to their current resins should consider Styroflex® 4G80 for their next generation medical devices.

Alternative to Current Tubing Materials

Flex-PVC is one of the most common materials used in medical tubing. It has a wide variety of durometers available for different applications. The high degree of clarity and ability to quickly solvent bond to a variety of connector systems is important for economical assembly systems.

Unfortunately, to make flex-PVC flexible, it is blended with a variety of additives including plasticizers. Some of these additives and plasticizers can leach out of the tubing over time creating a variety of issues.

INEOS Styrolution has a vision to offer alternatives to common materials on the market, such as PVC, for tubing and infusion applications. Their goal was to create a material that meets all customer application and processing needs for medical tubing.

Product Development Using Styroflex® 4G80

After receiving samples, Teel and INEOS Styrolution collaboratively developed process specifications and parameters. They started with a standard, general-purpose screw and vacuum sizing tank with a wafer bushing sizer very similar to what would be used for flex-PVC. The die was custom designed with a higher draw-down than is typically used for flex-PVC. Melt temperatures were carefully adjusted to ensure stability and a standard mesh screen pack generated stable backpressure.

The Styroflex® 4G80 extruded with a few minor adaptations to a standard extrusion process. Water temperature needed to be correctly controlled and the cutter blade was a custom design. Once these adaptations were complete, the process was very stable. Teel continued to work to improve their extrusion capabilities for the 4G80 and define conditions for spooling and conveying to handle parts post extrusion.

Teel Plastics has experience and the expertise to process Styroflex® 4G80 on their existing extruders, with minimal adjustments. The material processes well, and can be made in a wide range of wall thicknesses and sizes. Testing has been conducted on Styroflex® 4G80 tubing, and the material meets or exceeds specific medical tubing requirements.

Source: Teel Plastics
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