Thermoplastic Solutions
in medical applications

aterials selected for medical applications such as diagnostic imaging equipment, mobile carts, hospital beds and exam room cabinetry must be clean, reliable and safe. The need for differentiation in technology and aesthetics, as well as reliable chemical resistance and durability, has led to an increase in the use of thermoplastics in medical device applications

Why thermoplastics?
Thermoplastics are engineered to have a wide range of performance qualities that make them well suited for medical equipment and enclosures:

  • They are lightweight
  • They have great impact performance, even in thin gauges
  • They are resistant to chemicals, so they can be cleaned with medical-grade disinfectants with no effect on properties or appearance
  • They provide great design flexibility in colors, textures and prints
  • They can be produced and formed at small- to mid-volumes
  • They can vary in thickness depending on the application requirements
  • They can meet fire, safety and health regulatory codes such as USP Class VI and UL 94 V-0 for medical device electronics
MRI and diagnostic imaging machines use large formed thermoplastic parts
MRI and diagnostic imaging machines use large formed thermoplastic parts in medical grade beige and gray colors.
Boltaron 4335 materials are used for molded hospital bed parts
Boltaron 4335 materials are used for molded hospital bed parts. SIMONA HDPE is also used for bed kick plates and panels.
Replacing metal parts
Today, many large medical devices use sheet metal or fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) for their large molded enclosures and outer panels. Thermoplastics are a great replacement for those parts because they can meet the same regulatory requirement (UL 94 V-0), as well as perform similarly — in some cases better — than metal in these applications.

Thermoplastics are on average six times lighter than sheet metal. This means that equipment made from thermoplastics will be easier to move from room to room, handling and shipping costs are lower and there is less of a carbon footprint every time it is transported.

In most cases, the metal components must be painted to match the aesthetic requirements of a part. Thermoplastics have integral color throughout, so they can be custom color matched, and never have to be repainted. This saves time in the production process and the color will never chip or fade, so it removes the risk of maintenance and repair costs throughout the lifetime of the part.

Chemical resistance
Medical devices are cleaned and disinfected multiple times a day using a variety of methods. Medical-grade disinfectants are often stronger than household cleaning products. These facilities also use other methods of disinfection, such as electrostatic spraying and UV-C light. Thermoplastics must be able to withstand frequent use of these cleaning practices. This means that their appearance should not be adversely affected by fading, cracking, crazing or thinning. They also must maintain their physical properties, such as impact performance and fire resistance.
Boltaron 4335 meets the UL 94 V-0 requirements to be used for medical electronic device enclosures
Boltaron 4335 meets the UL 94 V-0 requirements to be used for medical electronic device enclosures.
Medical cabinets made with SIMONA BOATBOARD HDPE
Medical cabinets made with SIMONA BOATBOARD HDPE.
Antimicrobial thermoplastics
While maintaining frequent and efficient cleaning practices is a priority for most medical facilities, there is a growing demand for materials that maintain their cleanliness even in between manual disinfection. Thermoplastics with antimicrobial additives can provide built-in protection for materials that keep products clean in between cleanings. Antimicrobial additives can enhance medical-grade thermoplastics for use in medical cabinets and trays. These additives inhibit the growth of microorganisms on the material, offering additional hygienic protection by not allowing them to penetrate the surface, which can cause staining and odors.
Clear thermoplastics like SIMONA 2000 provide protection and visibility in medical applications
Clear thermoplastics like SIMONA 2000 provide protection and visibility in medical applications.
Elements of medical exam room
All elements of medical exam rooms must have advanced chemical resistance and be able to withstand frequent cleaning with high-powered disinfectants.
Design freedom
When you think of a hospital or doctor’s office, what colors and patterns come to mind? Boring beige, light blue, gray and light yellow, right? Thermoplastics can be custom color matched to any color palette. Since the color is integral throughout the sheet, there is no need to paint the material. The extra painting time and costs that are saved mean greater design freedom and possibilities.
Boltaron 4335 in multiple colors.
Boltaron 4335 in custom colors.
Boltaron 4335 with pearlescent effect on ground
Boltaron 4335 with pearlescent effect.
Texture is another hot topic in medical device design. While it’s important that material surfaces don’t trap dirt or germs, most thermoplastic textures are highly cleanable. Applying a woodgrain, leather or technical texture to the thermoplastic part used for medical furniture or equipment could take it from looking basic to high-end.

The texture is even further enhanced when a material has a unique finish effect, such as a metallic or pearlescent.

Thanks to the chemical resistance and cleanability of thermoplastics, as well as their impact properties, design flexibility and long-term performance, these are the materials of the future for many medical device applications.

For more information, contact SIMONA AMERICA Group at 101 Power Boulevard, Suite 30, Archbald, PA 18403-2012 USA; (866) 501-2992 or (800) 233-4701, fax (800) 522-4857, marketing@simona-america.com or