Platinum-Cured Silicones: What Gasket Fabricators Need to Know
Many gasket fabricators want to enter the medical marketplace or increase their sales to manufacturers of medical devices and equipment. Market research can be challenging, however, and some companies may believe – incorrectly – that all medical gaskets require cleanroom fabrication. By focusing on the right medical materials, however, you can uncover new business opportunities.
Specialty Silicone Products (SSP) supplies platinum-cured silicones that support die cutting, water jet cutting, molding, extrusion, and other gasket fabrication methods. Importantly, these ultra-clean silicones are FDA, USP Class VI, and RoHS compliant. SSP-2390 Series silicones are also cost-effective and come in a range of durometers and custom colors to match a customer’s medical device or equipment designs.
Platinum-cured silicones offer numerous advantages, but gasket fabricators don’t need to be material scientists to explain the benefits to potential customers. It all starts with curing.
What Is Platinum Curing?
Silicones are formed into solids by curing or cross-linking. In medical applications, the most common curing systems use either peroxide or platinum. The peroxide system requires post-curing to remove by-products such as volatile organic acids. The platinum curing system does not. Again, because there are no by-products, no post-curing is required.
Thanks to platinum curing, SSP-2390 Series silicones have low levels of extractables, chemical compounds that can migrate from a material under conditions like elevated temperature or surface exposure. Compared to peroxide systems, platinum curing also offers greater control over cure rates for medical silicones with a more consistent appearance.
Applications for Platinum-Cured Silicones
SSP supplies platinum-cured silicones as continuous rolls, compression-molded sheets, and ready-to-mold compounds. These materials are cost-effective to convert and can be custom-fabricated into various sizes and shapes. For example, washer-like gaskets are used in the handles of medical devices in ambulances. Flat gaskets can also support the cutting of slits that hold tubes or valves in medical equipment.
SSP-2390 Series silicones support the use of adhesives, too. This is important for applications where a silicone part such as a pad attaches to a medical monitoring or patient care device. Because platinum-cured silicones resist water and high temperatures, products made of these materials can also support sterilization. Gasket fabricators need to determine if cleanroom operations are required, of course, but an increasing number of part drawings are now calling for platinum-grade silicones.