Carbon fiber reinforced PEI & PC as metal replacement in medical devices

  • Trend towards greater outpatient care supports the use of easy to use & robust medical devices
  • Carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastics as metal replacement
  • Thin-walled parts with high dimensional stability

As the healthcare industry moves towards greater outpatient care and home administration of medication, manufacturers of drug delivery devices, such as insulin pens, need to develop devices that are robust and easy to use. A growing opportunity for medical device manufacturers includes a shift from using traditional metal or other fiber-filled materials to plastic. SABIC is supporting this shift with two grades of high-modulus carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastics that feature significant higher stiffness compared to similar compounds with standard carbon fiber technology.

Carbon fiber reinforced thin-walled parts with high dimensional stability

The new carbon fiber reinforced grades are suitable for the production of thin-walled parts with high dimensional stability. Improved weld line performance and impact resistance means that the devices are safer and less likely to break. Manufacturers are in a position to design complex parts that are capable of integrating an increased number of mechanical or electronic features. In addition, the resins are available in a wide range of color options.

The company’s LUBRICOMPTM DCI06APH compound, a 30% carbon fiber reinforced polycarbonate resin, is a high-flow material suitable for high-strength components where the use of metals or other fiber-filled thermoplastics with poor flow can create design and manufacturing challenges. The compound enables complex part designs and potential part consolidation, enabling healthcare molders to reduce waste and improve cycle times. Potential applications include disposable surgical instruments, medical device housings as well as drug delivery device components.

Designed to be comparable to the strength of metal, THERMOCOMPTM EC006AQH compound, a 30% carbon fiber reinforced PEI resin, enables medical device manufacturers to expand their use of injection-moldable engineering thermoplastics for several reasons. These include the potential for reducing system costs, achieving greater design flexibility and enhancing device compatibility with image guided surgeries. Additionally, replacing metal can also enable part consolidation, which can reduce both the effort and cost of manufacturing devices. Potential applications for this compound include either disposable or re-usable surgical instruments, patient transport devices, fixation devices and medical device housings.

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