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Bayer MaterialScience, Partner for developments in medical technology

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 24 April, 2006  (Company News)
Bayer MaterialScience AG is expecting that in the coming years, sales of its polycarbonates, Makrolon and Apec, in the medical technology industry will remain constant and experience above-average growth.
In addition, new fields of application for polycarbonates are now emerging from areas such as genetics and biotechnology and from innovative treatment methods”, explains Markus Krieter, a Medical Technology expert from the Polycarbonates business group.

Bayer MaterialScience is an independent subgroup within Bayer AG and is one of the world’s largest producers of high-quality plastics. Based in Leverkusen, Germany, the company is a market leader in the production of polyurethane raw materials and polycarbonates, for example. The medical sector is one of its most important markets, a fact that has led to the setting up of the Medical Technology market segment, whose business largely consists of exclusive development partnerships with well-known Medical Technology manufacturers. Makrolon and Apec polycarbonates account for a major part of its sales. The Medical Technology market segment additionally supplies thermoplastic polyurethanes in the Desmopan range and PC/ABS-Blends in the Bayblend range. Polyurethane raw materials and polyurethane systems from the Polyurethanes business group are also used in the production of medical devices and equipment.

Comprehensive service leads to mutual success
The following statistic reveals just how important a role polycarbonate plays in the medical sector: around 75,000 metric tons of polycarbonate were processed into medical items, a figure that is rising. In order to recognize new trends in good time, experts from Bayer MaterialScience maintain an ongoing dialog with leading international pharmaceutical and hospital care companies, consultants and suppliers, in addition to development companies working on behalf of OEMs from the pharmaceuticals sector. “Over and above our daily business activities, we seize upon innovative ideas put forward by our customers and allow our materials and technological facilities to be used for collaborative projects to find successful solutions,” says Christian Farhumand, Manager of the “Emerging Developments” segment in the Polycarbonates business group. At the present time, it is apparent that producers of medical devices are increasingly on the look-out for collaborative development projects with plastics processors and raw material suppliers. “Most often, it is a matter of providing support in terms of the design of medical devices. What we provide is a comprehensive service and we also help with things such as component design, tool production and production start-up,” explains Farhumand. CAE tools are available to analyze the thermal expansion and static and dynamic properties of components. Rheological analyses that are used, amongst other things, to relocate a weld line to a less critical part of the component or to minimize warpage also form part of the service. In addition, thermogravimetric measurements and screening experiments to assess resistance to chemicals and stress cracking behavior, together with a wide variety of customer-commissioned tests for molded parts are carried out.

Examples of the established medical applications of Makrolon include dialysis machines, blood oxygenators and intravenous connectors such as manifolds and stopcocks. A more recent field of application is in the production of pressure-resistant ampoules for the InjexTM needle-free injection system. This pain-free injection system does not inject the medicine by means of a needle, but inserts it under the skin and into the body tissue by means of a short burst of very high pressure. The system has been approved for use in Germany for medical treatment paid for under the state sickness insurance scheme. Apec, which is highly resistant to heat distortion, is used amongst other things to produce boxes that are used in operating theatres to store scalpels, safety valves for anesthesia bags and a wide range of housing components that can be sterilized using hot steam.
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