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A Medical Device’s True Colors


Posted in Medical Plastics by mthibault on June 27, 2017

A supplier of thermoplastic compounds debuts themed color collections each year, giving medical device designers room to play.


Marie Thibault

When you’re asked to visualize a medical device, what color is the product? You probably answered gray, blue, or beige.

But, RTP Company, a supplier of custom-engineered thermoplastic compounds, is hoping to shake up the medical device color palette. The company’s Colour Development Team has created the Hueforia offering to help device makers and designers choose colors that emphasize branding, appeal to users, and stay on top of trends.

“Hueforia was developed by RTP Company to fit a market need for color expertise as it pertains to plastic,” said Alex Davis, RTP Company’s Global Business Manager for Color. “This requires experts who understand both color design principles and the nature of thermoplastic compounds, and fortunately we have a whole team of experts at RTP Company.” 

The Hueforia color collections tap into the idea that color can be a meaningful part of medical device design. Brian Lynch, sales engineer for RTP, explained that Hueforia gives device designers, marketers, and brand managers a chance to create and imagine new looks while still matching colors across materials.

The collections draw inspiration from everything, including automotive, social media, fashion, furniture, and global cultures. The 2018 Hueforia collection includes themes like “Ageless Wonders,” based on awe-inspiring destinations around the world like the Grand Canyon and Stonehenge, and “Heavy Metal,” including pigments with names like “Deep Purple” and “Midas Touch.” The collections are years in the making. The 2017 collection, launched last year, was created in 2014 and 2015.

“The colors in our 2018 ‘Ageless Wonders’ collection have generated the most interest across a wide array of customers due to their relatable, earthy hues that exhibit confidence and empowerment,” Davis explained. “Our Hueforia Team is uniquely positioned to offer color recommendations, provide guidance on thermoplastic material selection, and manufacture these compounds globally.”

Color is important for branding, user appeal, aesthetics, and trends, but ensuring that the color can stand up to the demands of the product is essential in the medical device industry. Many of the thermoplastic colors in the Hueforia collections have been extensively tested for biocompatibility. RTP representatives can also discuss other characteristics of a colored thermoplastic compound that matter in the daily use of device, like how the color holds up when exposed to heat, sterilization, and UV.

RTP also provides Laser-Markable Compounds, another offering that is well-suited to the medical device industry. Laser marking gives device manufacturers the ability to apply branding or unique device identifiers (UDIs) to the product without the need for inks and dyes. The Laser-Markable Compounds come in clear, white, black, and customized colors.

“These compounds can be made in a variety of polymer systems, and have great resistance to abrasion and environmental exposure,” said Tim Duncan, RTP Company’s Global Color Technology Manager. “Having the ability to use laser marking for sequential numbering is particularly important for compliance with the FDA’s Unique Device Identification (UDI) System.”

Marie Thibault is the managing editor at MD+DI. Reach her at marie.thibault@ubm.com and on Twitter @MedTechMarie.

[Top image courtesy of PUBLICDOMAINPICTURES/PIXABAY, Second image courtesy of RTP COMPANY]


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