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Solvay’s Radel PPSU Outperforms Competitive Thermoplastics Enabling ELITechGroup to Upgrade Two Slide Stainer Carousels

31 March 2015

Solvay’s Radel PPSU Outperforms Competitive Thermoplastics Enabling ELITechGroup to Upgrade Two Slide Stainer Carousels

Radel PPSU’s superior chemical resistance, transparency and compatibility with ultrasonic welding make it the material of choice for demanding diagnostic tool applications.

According to Solvay, ELITechGroup Biomedical Systems chose its transparent Radel polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) resin to injection mould two redesigned carousels for its industry-leading Aerospray slide stainer systems, used for hematology and microbiology applications. It says Radel PPSU delivered superior chemical resistance, exceptional toughness, the ability to withstand repeated steam sterilisation and greatly expanded design options vs. competitive materials due to its compatibility with ultrasonic welding.

ELITechGroup had traditionally used a transparent polycarbonate (PC) resin to mould the tops and bottoms of its 12- and 30-slide carousel designs, as well as the thermoplastic caps that retain magnets in each carousel. However, Solvay explains that the PC frequently exhibited crazing and cracking after repeated exposure to the harsh chemicals common to slide-staining applications. To amend this, the company set out to redesign its carousels by sampling several alternative transparent materials to mould the carousel parts, including polyethylene, polyvinylidene fluoride, polybutylene terephthalate-based blends and a copolyester material. It also sampled a competitive PPSU, before selecting Solvay’s high-performance transparent Radel material.

“Solvay’s advanced polymer technology, materials expertise and close collaboration helped us identify Radel PPSU as the clear choice for this application due to its high transparency, chemical resistance, autoclavability and physical toughness vs. competitive thermoplastics,” said Jared Martineau, the designer at ELITechGroup Biomedical Systems who specified and worked with Solvay’s material. “Radel PPSU also enabled us to streamline assembly operations by allowing the use of ultrasonic welding to retain the magnets within the carousel.”

ELITechGroup’s two carousel designs integrate magnets to enable the slide stainer to detect the part’s rotational position as well as the number of slide placements it has. Solvay explains that, because the carousel and the magnet caps are both injection moulded using Radel PPSU, it is a comparatively simple and cost-effective step to firmly bond these parts together using ultrasonic welding.

Radel PPSU is described as highly resistant to methanol, iodine, phenol and other chemical agents that are applied to slides via atomizing spray nozzles inside ELITechGroup’s diagnostic systems. The material can also withstand repeated steam sterilisation and maintain its toughness and impact resistance.

“As industry leaders like ELITechGroup innovate increasingly sophisticated diagnostic tools, they are seeking higher performance thermoplastics able to meet their design needs,” said Gilbert Galon, Sales Development Manager for Healthcare at Solvay Specialty Polymers. “Many plastics are simply unable to withstand the challenging demands of new instrument designs. Radel PPSU, however, continues to deliver the design and manufacturing benefits that the medical device sector requires, and it is becoming the material of choice in a fast-growing range of next-generation applications across the global value chain.”

Photo provided by Solvay.





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