What SSP Learned at the Healthcare Elastomers Conference
Specialty Silicone Products (SSP) recently attended the 2019 Healthcare Elastomers Conference, a two-day event for the medical device industry, on May 21 and 22 in Schaumburg, Illinois. As a supplier of medical silicones, SSP showcased samples of SSP-2390, our series of high-purity, platinum-catalyzed silicones that are FDA CFR 177.2600, USP Class VI, and RoHS compliant. We also learned some important lessons about market opportunities, curing methods, and medical parts.
As the world’s older population grows at an unprecedented rate, the market for healthcare products continues to rise. For medical devices, silicone is often the elastomer of choice because this synthetic rubber provides reliable environmental sealing and is available in biocompatible grades. Biocompatibility testing, an essential requirement for regulatory approval, ensures that healthcare elastomers are compatible with living tissue.
Given the importance of material purity, the medical device market now uses platinum-cured silicones almost exclusively in both liquid silicone rubber (LSR) and high consistency rubber (HCR). Compared to peroxide curing, an older curing system or method, platinum curing provides lower levels of extractables, less outgassing, and greater control over cure rates. Platinum-cured silicones are also more consistent in terms of appearance.
Today, many different medical parts are made of platinum-cured silicones. For example, LSR silicones are used in syringes and pistons for syringes, urinary catheters, patient respirators, medical cushions, and negative pressure drainage balls. These healthcare elastomers are also used in face masks, first aid masks, and laryngeal masks. Silicone tubing is used for intravenous (IV) drug delivery and with medical devices, such as breast pumps, that require airflow.
Healthcare elastomers that are supplied as flat silicone rolls or sheets are fabricated into wound care and scar care products. Typically, these specialized materials are used with a medical grade silicone adhesive. They’re also used in connector seals where the power supply is plugged into a machine, or in hospital room equipment such as breathing machines or pumps. Compression molded silicones are used in oxygen masks.