MATERIALS: SEBS for Soft-Touch Medical Devices

Foster's ProFlex SEBS offers low-cost alternative to other TPEs.

New styrene-ethylene-butylene-styrene (SEBS) TPEs from Foster Corp., Putnam, Conn., reportedly offer a low-cost alternative to other thermoplastic elastomers for soft-touch medical device applications.

According to Foster, styrene-block-copolymers (SBCs), including SEBS, offer the greatest value among all TPEs. SBCs offer design flexibility and resilience properties similar to thermoset rubber, while maintaining desirable processing characteristics. The new ProFlex SEBS is suitable for use in conventional injection molding and extrusion equipment.

Soft-touch over-molding of ProFlex SEBS onto rigid thermoplastic or metal components is said to provide a high-friction, ergonomically-friendly surface. Vibration damping and insulating properties make ProFlex SEBS very suitable for over-molding of medical instrument handles and grips. These TPEs also have a 20% lower specific gravity than other engineering TPEs, yielding more parts per weight. There are six standard grades that meet USP Class VI biocompatibility standard, ranging in Shore hardness of 35 A to 85 A.


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