As more and more medical products are introduced into today’s world, the restrictions and requirements for those products also increase. These constraints control everything from what can be produced, to where the materials are allowed to be made. Along with those requirements, come cost pressures “brought on by international competition, safety and sustainability concerns, and, finally, manufacturability issues. This is not a field for the timid. At the same time, those pressures are an incubator from which exciting new products, processes and materials are emerging.”
Before plastics came along and made the healthcare industry more efficient and cost-effective, Metals such as stainless steel, used to be the most common substance used for medical production (Ex: Instrument/Utility Tables, Medical Carts, Medical Storage). With plastics on the rise, products are cheaper and easier to make, which results into new and innovative products. There are a number of reasons that plastic can be a better choice. “One of the most important of these is that working in plastics can simplify the manufacturing process, saving time and removing variables that can affect part quality.
‘Generally speaking, when we’re talking about going from metal to plastic, we’re taking a metal assembly that may have multiple clips and snaps, and we’re able to mold all of those features onto one part. I can’t think of any situation offhand where we didn’t take a metal assembly of maybe a dozen parts and get the part count down to three or four or five.’ Kvalo said.” Another reason why plastic may be a better choice over metal, is because of the FDA regulations and policies on safety. With the ability to use the same materials to make multiple products, it’s a lot easier to consistently use the same material rather than going through the haste of getting different materials approved by the FDA. According to “Plastic Flow into the Medical Device Industry”, plastic is also more ecological because while a manufacturer can get different grades of metal from more than one supplier, plastics are proprietary and sometimes even made at a single facility. Anderson names examples of plastics in the medical industry that can be of use like:
Polyethylene: Cheap, readily available, nontoxic, easily recyclable, and naturally resistant to gamma radiation.
Polypropylene: Harder, and more temperature resistant than Polyethylene
The evolution of plastics has made medical products cheaper, more-efficient, and more flexible to create more products for the healthcare industry in today’s world. At Future Health Concepts, we offer both stainless steel products and plastic products to give you the most cost-effective choices for your medical facility. Whether it’s plastic or metal, we have you covered with our Plastic Storage and Organization Products or our even our custom Stainless Steel Cabinetry to fit your exact dimensions.
Anderson, Michael . "Plastics Flow into the Medical Device Industry." Manufacturing Engineering Media. SME, 1 May 2014. Web. 9 June 2014. <http://www.sme.org/MEMagazine/Article.aspx?id=80708>.