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Product Re-Design with Innovative Composite Medical Compound

17 September 2004

A GFRP PEEK compound has been developed for an internal medical camera head.

Smith & Nephew Endoscopy have re-designed their ED-3 camera head using a compound produced by the RTP Company. The Camera is for invasive surgery, allowing the surgeon to see inside the body.

RTP Company recommended an RTP 2203 HF (high flow) compound. The 20% glass reinforced PEEK (polyetheretherketone) provides a balance of flexibility and strength, with its higher flow characteristics offering faster cycling and better filling of thin wall sections. Inherently, PEEK is claimed to offer improved chemical resistance, universal sterilization compatibility, and high temperature performance. Furthermore, RTP Company compounds based on PEEK polymer by Victrex USA have successfully replaced stainless steel and other metals in medical applications.

According to Steve Rayburn, Senior Manufacturing Engineer at Smith & Nephew, ""The PEEK compound has given us an edge over iodized aluminum in our new camera heads and we are able to achieve desired performance ratings, such as isolation from leakage current. It has increased chemical resistance and is compatible with the sterilization processes. It also allows us to refurbish and maintain used equipment with a like-new appearance.""

The ensuing teamwork between Smith & Nephew, RTP Company, and Sanmina-SCI resulted in a successful new product development. According to Rayburn, ""RTP Company has unparalleled expertise in working with PEEK and additive technologies, so we relied heavily on them to develop our innovative PEEK compound.""