Light-weighting medical devices

Light-weighting medical devices

Solvay’s medical-grade Radel PPSU delivers the lighter weight needed for a more ergonomic dental scaler from SMACO.

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Alpharetta, Georgia – SMACO Co. chose Solvay’s high-performance Radel R-5100 NT polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) to mold a more ergonomic handpiece for a new dental scaler designed to lower hand fatigue.

SMACO sought a lightweight polymer rather than metal for its handpiece to avoid the hand fatigue users commonly experience with heavier designs. However, many other medical-grade polymers they considered could not withstand the sterilization techniques that the dental scaler would undergo.

“Moldable Radel PPSU not only offered SMACO the low weight they needed to develop a more ergonomic design, the material also delivered high heat resistance and excellent hydrolytic stability,” said Huawei Li, development manager for Greater China and South East Asia at Solvay’s Specialty Polymers global business unit. “This made it a superior choice over lower performing polymers for molding a dental instrument able to perform reliably after repeated steam sterilization.”

Radel PPSU can withstand more than 1,000 autoclave cycles without significant loss of properties. This incredibly tough polymer also offers excellent impact strength and better chemical resistance than either polysulfone (PSU) or polyetherimide (PEI). Additionally, the material is certified to ISO 10993 standards for biocompatibility.

“Medical-grade Radel R-5100 NT offered the optimal combination of properties for our design,” states Thomas Yulzari, head of operations for SMACO. “Yet Solvay’s contribution to our success only began with the excellent performance of its specialty polymer. They backed their material with dedicated technical support, molding expertise, and even failure analysis of the finished product.”