As hospitals strive to accommodate greater volumes of patients and services and compete for patients and staff, they are looking to innovations in medical equipment to address these challenges. SABIC Innovative Plastics' technologies are enabling development of smaller, lighter-weight, and more-attractive devices that leverage existing facility space and overhead, are easier to operate and service, and are more patient-friendly. In one example, SABIC Innovative Plastics' thermoformed Cycoloy* sheet is used for thin-wall exterior panels in GE Healthcare's BrightSpeed and BrightSpeed Select series of smaller computed tomography (CT) scanners.
GE Healthcare's BrightSpeed and BrightSpeed Select series multi-detector CT scanners feature the proven benefits of LightSpeed VCT technology inside and a small footprint on the outside. The high resolution, speed, and exclusive image post-processing of these solutions assist in the diagnosis of abdominal disease and lung pathology, among other health concerns. This important technology must be protected by impact-resistant, cleanable, and yet cost-effective cover that meet environmental regulations.
"Thin-wall Cycoloy sheet from SABIC Innovative Plastics provided a better solution than traditional thermosets for our compact BrightSpeed scanners," said Wayne Zhang, global product manager, GE Healthcare. "By reducing weight and mass in the device covers, Cycoloy sheet helped us shrink the size of these devices. Smaller size and lighter weight appeal to hospitals, field service technicians, and patients alike, helping us win in the marketplace."
In addition to enabling thin-wall parts, Cycoloy sheet supports compliance with environmental regulations, including the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment(WEEE) directives. Compared to traditional RIM (reaction-injection molded) thermoset materials, the Cycoloy thermoplastic resin can be recycled into other plastic applications. Further, the material meets UL94 V-0 flame rating at 1.5 mm without the use of bromine or chlorine flame retardant systems.
"SABIC Innovative Plastics is dedicating major resources to developing new technologies that can help medical device manufacturers succeed in today's challenging and competitive marketplace," said Rob de Jong, industry manager, Healthcare, SABIC Innovative Plastics. "Thin-wall manufacturing capability provided by our unique Cycoloy sheet products helps our customer, GE Healthcare, create smaller, lightweight versions of traditional equipment. Our materials innovation is playing an important part in keeping pace with the changes in healthcare delivery."
The Cycoloy sheet also delivers high performance in the demanding hospital environment:
o Low deflection under load means the covers will retain their shape even when exposed to external forces and/or stresses such as high heat.
o Excellent impact resistance and strength even in very thin-wall applications provide durability and resilience.
o Chemical resistance to typical hospital disinfectant and cleansers means the material will retain its attractive, low-gloss surface finish over the long term.
Finally, in contrast to thermosets that typically require secondary painting, this material can be custom-colored in a wide range of hues. For the BrightSpeed devices, Cycoloy sheet was custom-colored blue, the signature GE Healthcare color, to create a pleasant, calming atmosphere for patients.
BrightSpeed scanners routinely perform minimally invasive, fast angiography for patients. Spatial and low-contrast resolution allows a detailed study of arterial and vascular disease, including calcified plaque and occluded or lumen reduction. Outstanding 3D images simplify communication with referral doctors or vascular surgeons. For the diagnosis of abdominal disease, BrightSpeed scanners can aid in the detection of small lesions or provide a detailed evaluation of tumor extension, and it allows clinicians to characterize lesions through a comparison of arterial, portal, and delayed phases. They can also assist in the diagnosis of lung pathologies such as nodules, tumors, and sub-segmented aeric or vascular lesions. With features such as multi-planar format, MIP, and LungVCAR, BrightSpeed's volume review tools provide a more-complete and accurate assessment of pulmonary structures.