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Internet event examines use of Topas[R] COC in design and manufacturing.

Forget spam. Forget pop-up ads. Forget for the moment all the little annoyances that have come to be associated with being online. From a research perspective, the Internet has become a natural medium for the exchange of ideas and information. Because of this, MedTech decided to develop and host an online technical forum to inform and educate healthcare professionals about a new resin material being used in medical devices. One of MedTech's customer-service goals is to keep abreast of the latest technologies and materials used in medical product design and manufacturing. With exploration and research come questions. What materials will work best in our customers' designs? What are the potential drawbacks of certain materials relative to manufacturing, cost, and customer-use issues? These are important questions to ask as we partner with customers to produce medical products that are cost effective and highly functional lot patient end-users.

In keeping with this goal, we recently partnered with Ticona--the Summit, NJ based technical polymers business of Celanese AG--to host an online technical forum on Topas[R] COC, a transparent polymer with unique moisture barrier properties. This resin is being used as a replacement for glass in medical and diagnostic devices, as well as in drug packaging and delivery products.

A team of representatives from our two firms provided input on the forum's presentation and format. Invitations were sent to a specially compiled list of industry professionals inviting them to submit queries. Questions were ultimately received from senior-level manufacturing engineers, materials engineers, scientists, product support specialists, and R&D engineers from such major OEM's as Bristol Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson, and Baxter Healthcare.

While the total number of submitted questions was higher, we combined the similar inquiries into 36 separate questions. We found that the questions could be categorized into 6 main areas that would be of interest to every medical device manufacturing professional. They are: properties of Topas COC; government approvals; processing guidelines and specifications; products now on the market; packaging issues; and emerging diagnostic applications. Some sample questions include:

* How does Topas compare with PS, PC, or PMMA?

* What wavelengths does this material fluoresce at?

* What is the comparative scratch resistance of Topas to standard PC?

* Does the color shift when gamma sterilized?

* Can Topas COC be used to formulate vials for lyophilization of diagnostic reagents and biological materials?

A panel of engineers from Ticona and MedTech compiled the answers. They are provided in the format of text, charts, and graphs. Some of the questions regarding specific projects and/or pricing were handled on an individual basis. A complete listing of all the questions and answers can be found on our website at, where the information can be printed out or viewed on line. Additional information can he obtained by contacting MedTech or Ticona directly.

We are encouraged by the response to our recent web forum. Feedback received from participants indicated strong interest in future events, and we welcome ideas on topics that merit industry-wide discussion and exploration. It was exciting to create an online experience in a setting that involved an "invitational" approach, rather than the "intrusive" approach for which the Internet receives such bad publicity. Engaging in an educational opportunity with our industry peers throughout the world represented the ideal use of the Internet in the way it should be used. We look forward to conducting many more of these unique online events.

The MedTech Group, Inc.

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Title Annotation:Guest Editorial
Author:Reich, Gil
Publication:Medical Design Technology
Date:Jan 1, 2004
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