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Elegant lightweight on hospital duty

Bayer MaterialScience AG : 30 August, 2004  (Company News)
In order to provide patients with quick, effective care in the highly organized world of hospitals and clinics, nursing staff are looking for
In an ideal world, of course, these trolleys should be able to combine such versatility with minimum weight. The compact Aurion® Mini 600 and Mini 400 trolleys unite both these qualities.

The trolleys weigh only 17 kilograms. This modest weight is achieved thanks to an intelligent combination of Bayer MaterialScience’s Baydur® 60 polyurethane system and a thermoplastic film which provides the product with an extremely high quality surface, making coating superfluous.

“The new trolleys are particularly aimed at nursing staff responsible for dispensing medicines in hospitals and clinics,” says Guido Furlanetto, Marketing Manager at trolley manufacturer GMP S.p.A., describing the idea behind the new product. “They are designed to accommodate the standard 60x40 cm drawers into which hospital pharmacists sort doses of medications.” They are just as robust as their predecessors from the 'Mega' and 'Compact' ranges, which GMP has long and successfully marketed under the name Aurion®. In the new 'Mini' model, a new manufacturing method has once more made it possible to cut the weight of these trolleys quite significantly – this time by more than half.

The new production procedure, which GMP calls FPT / FFT and for which a patent was recently filed (the abbreviations stand for Foiled Polyurethane Technology and Foiled-Fiber polyurethane Technology), combines the benefits of polyurethane processing technology with the attractive yet robust surfaces that are characteristic of thermoplastic films. To produce each side panel, rear panel and shelf of the 99 x 88 x 59 cm 'Mini' trolley using the FPT procedure, two thermoformed PVC films in inexpensive aluminum molds are back-foamed at low pressure with the impact resistant Baydur® 60 polyurethane integral skin foam system.

The space between the two already very rigid shells, which is not visible in the product, is then – in the same mold – filled with a Baydur® 20 grade from Bayer MaterialScience’s Italian systems house Deltapur. This lightweight filling with a density of 200 kg/m³ lends the component additional stability and forms a permanent bond between the two Baydur® film composites – with no need for additional adhesive.

The trolley base is made from FFT (glass fiber reinforced Baydur® and film) to make it strong enough for mounting the four castors.

“The FPT/FFT procedure enables us to achieve high strength allied to light weight. Metallic threads are provided for ease of assembly, which the customer can also carry out himself if he wishes. We foam the inserts in directly when molding the parts,” underlines Furlanetto. To ensure that the lightweight components’ surface meets the hospital environment’s heightened hygiene demands, we use a film which comes with a special polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) coating applied in the factory. “The parts require no further coating after removal from the mold, saving us another processing stage in the production process. This makes a significant contribution to the high cost-effectiveness of our FPT/FFT process,” he points out.

“At the same time we retain all the important benefits associated with the highly versatile polyurethane RIM technology, as the molded parts can be produced in extremely complex geometries with significant variations in wall thickness. Thanks to the stiffness made possible by the fiber reinforcement, FFT parts can be produced with thinner walls than non-reinforced polyurethane RIM components. They also enable high-performance products to be manufactured in dimensions which are not possible using injection molding techniques. We are certain, therefore, that this technology’s potential is far from exhausted,” says Furlanetto.
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