New blow moulding technology offers advantages for medical applications
Teknor Apex has teamed up with FGH Systems and device manufacturers on Medalist medical elastomers as alternatives to thermoset rubber and PVC.
FGH Systems and Teknor Apex Company have developed material, equipment, tooling, and mould technologies for high-volume extrusion blow moulding of thermoplastic elastomers. This can potentially be used as a more efficient and lower-cost alternative to latex and nitrile butadiene rubber.
Cooperating over a period of years, Teknor Apex and FGH Systems created technologies to meet the challenges posed by elastomeric materials in extrusion blow moulding and by the design complexities of breather bags and other hollow medical devices.
Teknor Apex produced a standard blow moulding compound for replacing latex, NBR, or PVC with work on equipment modification, tooling, and mould design taking place at FGH Systems’ facility.
Eric Hohmann, owner of FGH Systems noted the challenges of processing and designing breather bags. “While TPEs—TPVs in particular—have found use in the injection blow moulding process for parts like automotive rack and pinion boots and ducts, extrusion blow moulding has normally been used with stiff or non-elastomeric resins like HDPE, PP, and PVC,” he said. “For the breather bag, the challenge was to produce a complex part in a continuous extrusion process with an eight-cavity mold.”
Besides developing designs to meet these challenges, FGH Systems supplied the Milacron Uniloy shuttle blow moulding equipment used for commercial production.
“To perfect techniques for moulding TPEs, we carried on many trials on our own pilot lines and at customer plants, experimenting with molding machines, screw designs, extrusion heads, and moulds, along with several Medalist formulations from Teknor Apex,” Hohmann said.
“As a result of our success, extrusion blow moulding of TPEs can now be applied to other complex designs for hollow parts, bottles, or bags in the medical device industry and beyond.”