New Design Standards Present Challenge, Opportunities for Connector Molders

By: Tony Deligio 20. April 2015

The tubes and catheters that carry oxygen, medication, nutrients, and fluids to hospital patients had been connected to delivery systems via universally designed small-bore Luer connectors, with that standardization occasionally leading to misconnections and subsequently, patient injury or death.


In response, an international collection of clinicians, manufacturers, and regulators, including the FDA, worked with the International Organization of Standardization (ISO) and the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) to develop ISO 80369 standards that govern the redesign of small-bore (inner diameter of less than 8.5 mm) connectors, with one goal, according to the Global Enteral Device Supplier Association (GEDSA): “make it difficult, if not impossible, for unrelated delivery systems to be connected.”


GEDSA launched its Stay Connected initiative to support the changeover, calling the new connectors ENFit to differentiate them from the traditional luer connectors. Feeding tubes with the ENFit connector are projected to be available in the second quarter of 2015.  


The new connector design standards will initially apply to liquids and gases in healthcare applications. Eventually they will dictate connector size and shape for breathing systems and driving gases, enteral, limb cuff inflation, neuraxial, and intravascular-hypodermic applications. Once the standards are completed, luer connector will only be used for intravascular and hypodermic applications. All other small-bore connector delivery systems will be changed to ensure they can’t be misconnected to luers.


Proactively Switching Resins
German injection molder and mold maker A. Hopf Gmbh, Zirndorf, recently announced the development of newly designed enteral connectors utilizing Tritan copolyester from Eastman, Kingsport, Tenn., to proactively satisfy the ISO/DIS 2 80369-3 requirements. The company noted that the application of copolyester, versus PC, also satisfies French legislation banning BPA in food-contact materials for children, passed in 2013. That ban expanded to cover all such applications in January 2015.


At the MD&M West show in Anaheim, Calif. this February, Eastman discussed the new regulations in the small-bore connector market and how they’re impacting connecter molders and their material suppliers.


In the past, the use of flexible materials—like PVC, TPE, and TPU—in connectors, could allow a healthcare worker to “force” the connectors together, creating the potential for error. As part of the new design standard, materials must be stiff, with a flexural modulus above 700 MPa. In this space, Tritan will compete with materials including PC, ABS and PMMA. Eastman said that in addition to moldability and toughness, Tritan also maintains clarity, color and functional integrity after ethylene oxide and gamma sterilization.


In a July 2014 letter to its customers, medical device supplier Covidien, which is a charter member of GEDSA, noted that new enteral feeding tubes with ENFit connector would be available in April 2015, with the transition to the new ISO standard connectors completed in January 2016. 

Without Data All You Have Is An Opinion

By: Tony Deligio 15. April 2015

If you’re a plastics processor on the fence about taking the free, anonymous benchmarking survey we’re launching in 2015, I’d encourage you check out the executive summary of the Top Shops survey from our sister publication, Modern Machine Shop, to get a sense of the type of information you can expect to receive.


Survey participants, of course, will get the complete report, not just the executive summary, which will be chock full of data that can not only give you a better perspective on your own plant’s performance, but also help you assess where the industry’s headed (and if you’ll be joining it).


Most plastics processors have seen the light when it comes to tracking their operations, gathering data on all sorts of manufacturing metrics. This has given them much more than an opinion about their own facility, but by completing the survey you can move past ‘opinion’ when it comes to your competitors and get into the facts of how well you stack up.


Take the survey today

Auxiliaries: A New Frontier in Metal Replacement

By: Tony Deligio 15. April 2015

For at least two auxiliary suppliers at NPE2015, the answer was yes. Novatec and the ACS Group both featured new products in their booths outfitted with rotomolded plastics.


In the case of Novatec, its Bessemer Series of downstream extrusion cooling and sizing tanks converted to rotomolded plastic (pictured below). Conrad Bessemer, company president, noted that the rotomolded tanks don’t just allow for faster delivery, but compared to metal they can provide better insulation and aren’t as susceptible to condensation.


James Holbrook, president of the ACS Group, discussed his company’s new rotomolded plastic pump tank, which ranges up to 1000 gallons, and opened his eyes to more plastic-for-metal opportunities.


“Look around the show floor,” Holbrook said at NPE2015. “It’s a plastics industry event but you see a ton of steel. Let’s at least ask where we can use plastics.” Plastics is of course lighter weight and lower cost than steel, but as is the case in many material conversion stories, just because plastics make more sense, doesn’t mean they’ll be applied.


“The reason so much has been steel historically, is that people haven’t looked at other materials,” Holbrook said. “There are applications that still need steel, applications where steel makes sense, but we still want to explore plastics.” 

Is Your Plant World Class?

By: Tony Deligio 18. March 2015

Successful plastics processors rigorously track the efficiency of their operations—including every operator, machine, and shift—down to the pellet. These data become performance tracking metrics, giving that plant visibility into its own operations, but what about transparency across the entire plastics processing industry?


This Spring, Plastics Technology is launching a comprehensive 100% anonymous pan-plastics benchmarking effort called World Class Processors that will allow participants to just how good their “good” really is.


By completing this survey, participants will be entitled to receive a detailed report aggregating the performance statistics and profile characteristics of all the survey participants (for a sample of the kind of data you'll be entitled to if you participate, click here to see the executive summary of a similar program from Plastics Technology's sister publication, Modern Machine Shop). 


Companies can also choose to enter the inaugural Best Practices in Plastics competition, which will recognize companies with the highest performance in select categories. Companies that elect to participate and win will be featured in future issues of Plastics Technology magazine.


Learn more about the program here, or, click here to participate today.  

If you're attending NPE2015 in Orlando, stop by our booth in the West Hall (W-2602) to learn more about the program. 

Add Plastics Technology to Your NPE2015 Must-See List

By: Tony Deligio 11. March 2015

Plastics Technology’s show plans, albeit on a smaller scale, are no less plastic packed, as noted by our editorial director, Jim Callari, here. As the show approaches, and you sketch out your must-see list, make sure we’re on there. Our booth will be just off the main entrance of the Orange County Convention Center’s West Hall (2602) and if you need another landmark, we’re across the aisle from Milacron’s massive stand.


Know How In the Flesh
Every month, Plastics Technology features columns from leading experts in the fields of materials, injection molding, extrusion and more. In Orlando, many of those columnists, including folks like John Bozzelli, Mike Sepe, and Jim Frankland, will offer live presentations. In addition, experts on topics as varied as reshoring and additive manufacturing will be speaking in person on the biggest topics of the day (full schedule):


Monday, March 23

3:00-3:45 pm: How to Calculate Shot Size vs Barrel Capacity

John Bozzelli, Injection Molding Solutions, Scientific Molding


Tuesday, March 24

10:30-11:15 am: The Importance of Gate Geometry

Randy Kerkstra, Nanoplas Coating

3:00-3:45 am: Drying PET for Rigid Container Applications

Pete Stoughton, Consultant


Wednesday, March 25

10:30-11:15 am: 5 Common Extrusion Problems, and How to Solve Them

Jim Frankland, Frankland Plastics Consulting LLC

1:00-1:45 pm: The Three Ts of Growing Your Own Talent

Rich Stueber, Mold Design Manager, Nypro

3:00-3:45 pm: Trying to Solve Molding Problems? Think in Plastic, Not Steel

Rich Oles, Tooling Manager, Stone Plastics


Thursday, March 26

10:30-11:15 am: Big Area Additive Manufacturing

Chad E. Duty, Ph.D., Oak Ridge National Laboratory

1:00-1:45 pm: Bringing Manufacturing Back Home

Harry Moser, Reshoring Initiative

3:00-3:45 pm: Resin Drying: Separating the Science from the Myth

Mike Sepe, Michael Sepe LLC


Plug Into Our Network
In addition to the chance to “kick the tires” on the latest technologies, trade shows have also always provided one of the best opportunities to network with peers. In that spirit, our Knowledge Network is back including events, giveaways, prizes and more.


Beyond personal edification, by joining the network, entrants will receive:


  • A Knowledge Network T-shirt
  • Two drink tickets for refreshments in our Network Bar
  • A chance to win 1 of 5 grand prizes


Plastics Next Generation
Plastics Technology and fellow Gardner Business Media, Inc. publication MoldMaking Technology are also sponsoring the inaugural “FL!P & SiP” Reception at NPE2015, organized by SPI’s Future Leaders in Plastics (FLiP) committee. A launch event for FLiP and an introduction SPE’s Next Generation Advisory Board (NGAB) for young professional in the industry, the reception will take place on Tuesday, March 24 from 4:30–6:30 pm, in the West Hall’s Valencia Ballroom.


Featuring multiple tasting bars and networking opportunities, the reception is open to all attendees and exhibitors, young and old. Per SPI:


Each over-40 attendee of the reception will be asked to bring one of their under-40 colleagues, so that they can bring a member of the next generation into the FLiP fold and put them on the track to plastics industry leadership.


Travel safe and be sure to stop by Plastics Technology’s booth to bring home a t-shirt, some knowledge and perhaps a prize. 

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