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Thought Leadership

For over almost 50 years the Spectrum Plastics Group has been developing medical plastic solutions across a variety of medical device and therapeutic applications.  This experience has provided a broad perspective on the specialty plastics industry.  A perspective that has helped to condition leadership as well as innovative breakthroughs in our markets.  And also the trust and confidence of our customers.  Spectrum Plastics Group is sure to be your Trusted Advisor for medical plastics solutions. 

The Extrusion of Acetal Core Mandrel at 6 Sigma Quality Levels

Braid reinforced medical tubing was invented by Norman C Jeckel in 1942 in Glens Falls, NY for US Catheter Corp.  This concept was further developed in 1969 by Robert C. Stevens of Cordis Corporation to include continuous braiding and extrusion processes that utilize a removable core mandrel as a manufacture aid to construct braid reinforced angiographic catheters as shown below. Braided tubing includes a metal or polymer braid reinforcement encapsulated between two thin-wall thermoplastic elastomer layers to improve the kink resistance, torqueability, pushability and burst pressure of a catheter. The core mandrel is used to support and control the ID of the catheter tubing during the over-extrusion and braiding processes.

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The Effect of Crystallinity on PEEK Performance in Extrusions

There are many semi-crystalline polymers used in medical device applications today, but PEEK (Polyether ether ketone) is fairly unique among them for two main reasons.  First it can be extruded by a variety of methods that can produce either amorphous or fully crystalline tubing, and second, every single one of PEEK’s performance test values are affected by its crystallinity levels. In most cases, it requires specialized in-line processing or secondary operations to achieve fully crystalline PEEK parts. Spectrum Plastics Group performed a study to quantify the performance differences not only between amorphous and fully crystalline PEEK tubing but also between different methods of tubing crystallization. In the white paper, the engineering team describes the values tested, the production parameters, and the results of these tests.

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Well over a Decade Later . . . the Saga of Non-DEHP PVC and Medical Devices

The story around PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and DEHP (di-2ethylhexyl phthalate)-based PVC in medical devices has been well told.  PVC has been a staple in medical products and medical devices since the second world war and today still really has no equal in its widespread use and application.  Nevertheless, about thirty years ago, probably in the late 1980s and early 1990s, multiple global health organizations cited DEHP, the most widely used plasticizer in PVC, as a potential health concern. 

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Let's Talk about Peek and Crystallinity

PEEK is finding its way into more and more medical applications as a replacement to legacy materials such as stainless steel and PTFE, providing a higher strength option over more common catheter and engineered polymers. While PEEK offers many benefits over traditional materials, it requires special machinery and processing expertise to optimize its properties and ensure peak performance of extruded parts. Its level of crystallinity is one of its most challenging and least understood characteristics.

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The Science of Multi-Layer Extruded Tubing and Medical Devices Incorporating such Tubing

Multi-layer extrusion technology is a process in which two or more polymers are extruded and simultaneously joined in a co-extrusion die head to form tubing with multiple layers. Running two or three extruders into a co-extrusion die head produces a single, multi-layered, extruded tube from a combination of materials with different physical properties, friction coefficients and bonding characteristics.  In this article we will discuss multi-layer coextrusion of dissimilar and similar polymers.

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How to Choose the Ideal Ultra Engineering Polymer for Your Extruded Medical Application

Detailing some of the more common high heat polymers, their potential applications, positive attributes and limitations. 

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Peek and Medical Tubing: Here's What You Need to Know

To achieve the highest-performing extrusion, both the component designer and the extruder must understand the many aspects of a medical tubing material such as polyetheretherketone (PEEK).

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Top 5 Things to Consider When Selecting a Medical Injection Molder

The North American injection molding industry has passed through a number of challenges and changes in the last decade and a half. Obviously, as across the entire Plastics Industry landscape much less all of North American manufacturing, the 2008/2009 financial crisis period played a – if not the most – dramatic role in shaping the profile of the industry today.

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Forming the Spectrum Plastics Group

The merger of Pexco and Kelpac Medical alters the medical plastics landscape.