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News

Liquid silicone top coat drives use of liquid injection-moulded silicone elastomers in healthcare

GE Advanced Materials : 19 July, 2004  (New Product)
To meet healthcare industry needs for improved performance and cleanliness of medical devices, GE Advanced Materials has introduced a new top coat for liquid injection-moulded silicone elastomers.
Called LSR Top Coat, the product significantly lowers the coefficient of friction (COF) on the surface of moulded parts such as catheters, prosthetics, and valves for higher performance, reduced sticking and re-healing, and greater wear resistance. These properties open up new healthcare applications for liquid injection-moulded silicone elastomers and offer the industry the opportunity to use these highly versatile materials in a wider range of devices.

GE Advanced Materials’ LSR Top Coat addresses two of the main challenges that previously limited the use of liquid injection-moulded silicone elastomers in healthcare applications. By lowering the COF by up to 56% compared to uncoated silicone elastomers, LSR Top Coat can dramatically reduce undesirable friction such as high insertion forces in catheters, sticking of external dental moulds, and re-healing of mechanical diaphragms and seals. Further, the reduced COF helps prevent adhesion of dust particles to the surface of the silicone elastomers for a higher level of cleanliness, a critical concern in the healthcare environment.

Historically, several methods have been utilized to reduce the COF of elastomers, including vapour deposition coatings and lubricating fluids. Both have drawbacks: vapour deposition requires the use of high-vacuum systems, which can be time-consuming and expensive, and lubricating fluids are typically unsuitable for use in healthcare applications. In contrast, GE’s new LSR Top Coat can be easily applied using a number of different methods including dipping, spraying, brushing, and, prior to curing, in an air-circulating oven. A wide cure profile window (10 to 30 minutes at 100 to 180C) offers flexibility.

Another advantage of LSR Top Coat is that multiple applications are not required; in fact, the best COF values were obtained from a single spray coating. This factor makes LSR Top Coat an economical choice.

The new coating opens opportunities to use GE’s LIM and LSR elastomers in additional moulded and tubing/extrusion applications. These include:
• Foley, urethral, and incontinence catheters;
• IV and infusion therapy needles and check valves;
• Dental impression moulds;
• Fluid transfer devices;
• Peristaltic pump tubing; and
• Healthcare equipment grips and handles.

LSR Top Coat also enables elastomers to perform better in current applications. Further, the top coat can be applied to moulded parts for consumer goods and automotive applications, including connectors.

“The recent opening of our new custom formulation facility in Garrett, Ind., underscores the commitment of GE Advanced Materials to provide liquid silicone elastomer solutions for the healthcare industry, as well as in consumer goods and automotive,” said Sharon Shatto, industry manager, Healthcare & Consumer Goods, GE Advanced Materials. “Now we are delivering on that commitment with innovative products like LSR Top Coat to address the needs of the healthcare sector for specialised materials that enable ever-smaller devices at higher production rates – without compromising quality.”
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