Dow Medical Solutions continues to push the boundaries of its silicone offerings to the medical industry.
The business unit of DowDuPont Inc.'s Specialty Products Division showcased three new liquid silicone rubber technologies — two grades of its QP1-33XX LSR and a new QP1-5040 self-adhesive LSR grade.
"There's an element of productivity and cost reduction in both of these systems," Gary Lord, global strategic director for health care, said at the recent MD&M West show in Anaheim. "Those are advantageous to the OEM and the fabricator because we're removing processing steps. And then when you talk about lower energy requirements, you're basically reducing the amount of energy needed to produce a particular product. Or you can swing it the other way and use the higher temperature you've always used, and then you run faster, so you produce more items per minute."
Both products are low-temperature cure technologies. The QP1-33XX grades give users a broader ability to process the material because their reactions occur at significantly lower temperatures. Lord said the product comes in two durometers — 40 and 50 — with the potential for further expansion. It opens the opportunity to have mechanical linkages between plastic substrates.
"It gives designers and engineers the ability to potentially work with overmolding of more temperature-sensitive substrates," Lord said. "It allows you to cure thicker sections at the same time as thinner sections. So you can look at making more complex designs because the cross-linking system is giving you a much better ability to have a product in a time that is acceptable for standard production."
Roger Hendrick, technical service and development for food, pharma and medical, said the 5040 adhesive is designed specifically for overmolding polyester in a two-component process. Lord added that Dow sought to help customers who are looking at alternative products to polycarbonate because of its issues with cleaning and disinfecting.
"It was critical for us to bring down that reaction temperature in order for us to then achieve the adhesion requirement to satisfy the overarching need to approach three major segments in medical," said Hendrick, adding that those segments include respiratory care, external communicating devices and medical enclosures.
The Medical Solutions unit, like all of Dow, has been undergoing an integration process in the wake of two major transactions — Dow becoming the sole owner of its Dow Corning silicones joint venture and then merging with DuPont and separating into three standalone companies: Agriculture, Materials Science and Specialty Products.
In February, DowDuPont revealed that the Agriculture division is to be named Corteva Agriscience while the Materials Science and Specialty Products will carry the Dow and DuPont names, respectively.
Recently, the Performance Building Products unit of the Material Science/new Dow unit rebranded its silicones to DowSil.
Lord said that move has not affected the Specialty Products/new DuPont side, of which the Medical Solutions unit is housed. Its brand for the time being will remain Silastic and Dow Corning. He added, however, that eventually the Specialty Products unit will be rebranded.
"It's a journey that we've been going through," Lord said. "The three spin-off companies are going to be standalone so they have to have their own identity."
Hendrick said the merger with DuPont opens up a variety of possibilities for the Medical Solutions unit.
"We can enter into those conversations with our customers early on from a wider scope of material science," he said. "That aids them in the proper selection of materials for construction and maybe speeds their path to commercialisation. We're excited about the combination of materials."