Medical Grade Plastic Compounds Market: Introduction
- Medical grade plastic compounds are those polymers that are extensively utilized in the production of medical devices due to their low weight and cost, as compared to their substitutes. Disposable syringes, intravenous blood bags, and heart valves are made of plastic. Major use of medical grade plastics is in the manufacture of personal protection equipment (PPE) kits, which are witnessing significant demand in recent times.
- Previously, metals, glass, and ceramics were utilized in the manufacture of medical implants and devices. However, presently, plastics are the preferred choice of material for the manufacture of medical devices, as plastic is lightweight, offers superior biocompatibility, and lower cost
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Types of Medical Grade Plastic Compounds
- Medical grade plastics compounds are segmented into Polyvinyl chloride, Polyethylene, Polypropylene, Polyoxymethylene, Polystyrene, Polycarbonate, Polyether ether ketone, Polyphenylene sulfide and others.
- Polypropylene is used in several medical applications owing to its high chemical and bacterial resistance. Medical devices manufacturers prefer polypropylene plastic compounds as raw material in the production of medical vials, diagnostic devices, petri dishes, intravenous bottles, specimen bottles, food trays, pans, pill containers, and disposable syringes. It is a cost-effective medical grade plastic that is utilized in the production of medical devices where steam sterilization is required frequently. Recyclability and its resistance to steam sterilization makes it an ideal option to use as medical grade plastic.
- Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is extensively employed by medical devices manufacturer owing to its low cost and excellent resistance to water and chemical. Plasticizers such as phthalates are mixed with PVC to make the plastic more soft and flexible, which are key desirable properties in medical products. PVC can be easily sterilized by steam, radiation, or ethylene oxide, while maintaining the physical properties of PVC compounds such as flexibility and resistance to tears, scratches, and kinks. PVC plastics are used in diverse medical applications such as blood bags & tubing, catheters, and inhalation masks.
- Polycarbonate plastics possess clarity, high strength and impact resistance, good heat resistance, low water absorption, and biocompatibility. Radiation grade polycarbonate plastics are inherently durable enough to resist gamma radiation, embrittlement or other degradation of physical properties at doses up to approximately 100 kGy. Clear polycarbonate grades turn yellowish in color after irradiation, which makes it undesirable in medical applications. In a recent development in polycarbonate plastic, special additives are added to prevent discoloration by chemically inhibiting the processes that leads to the formation of colored species during the irradiation process. This approach reduces the yellowness after irradiation by 60% to 70%.
Key Drivers of Medical Grade Plastic Compounds Market
- Implantable medical devices are widely used by the geriatric population with reduced immunity. Japan, Italy, Portugal, and Germany have significantly high population of geriatric people, globally. According to a World Health Organization (WHO) report, almost 2 billion people around the world are estimated to be more than 60 year old by 2050, three times the number it was in 2000. The U.K. and France face an increase in their health care budget and usage of implantable medical devices owing to increase in the geriatric population. This is estimated to augment the demand for medical grade plastic compounds in these countries.
- The Coronavirus pandemic has prompted governments across the globe to plan on investing more in the health care sector and develop medical infrastructure required to safeguard their citizens from any uncertainty, such as COVID-19, in the near future. In this adverse situation, demand for PPE kits has increased drastically. Polypropylene plastics are utilized in the production of goggles, face shields, masks, gloves, coveralls or gowns, head covers, and shoe covers in order to reduce the risk of the person from contracting an infection. Shortage of PPE kits is forcing healthcare workers to use alternative safety gear made of plastic sheets, plastic laundry bags, and garbage bags. Several new entrants have commenced production to fulfill the demand of PPE kits, as the manufacturing cost associated with PPE kits is considerably low. As per the report published by Invest India, demand for polypropylene used in PPE kits has seen increase of over 56-fold in just 60 days. This is estimated to boost the demand for medical grade plastic compound, such as polypropylene, in the near future.
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Key Manufacturers Operating in Medical Grade Plastic Compounds Market
Key manufacturers operating in the global medical grade plastic compounds market include:
- Evonik Industries AG
- Solvay SA
- Spectrum Plastics Group
- ARKEMA S.A.
- BASF SE
- Celanese Corp.
- Covestro AG
- Victrex plc
- Polyplastics Co., Ltd
- TOPAS Advanced Polymer
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