June 9, 2010

2 Min Read
First Ready-to-Use Silicone Lubricant for the Medical Device Industry Introduced at MD&M East

Duraglide lubricants are offered by MicroCare Medical.

MicroCare Medical (New Britain, CT), a supplier of cleaners, additives, coatings, and lubricants, and silicone specialist Dow Corning Corp. (Midland, MI) have announced a partnership that has yielded what they claim is the first ready-to-use silicone lubricant developed specifically for the medical device industry. Developed to ensure patient comfort by minimizing friction, the PDMS-based Duraglide Siloxane lubricants are custom-formulated to suit customers' application-specific requirements.

"A lot of sharps in the medical industry, such as syringe needles and knives, are coated with a silicone-type of treatment to make it so that they are more comfortable when piercing skin," explains Jay Tourigny, vice president of operations for MicroCare Medical. "Until today really, [OEMs] would have to buy a concentrate and then mix it down to the actual formula that they would use."

Although adept at engineering and manufacturing, many companies lack the skills to adequately mix solvents or chemicals and achieve coating consistency, Tourigny notes. As a result, parts may be produced that are underlubricated, which can cause patient trauma, or overlubricated. "On a syringe needle, for example, if you overlubricate it, the silicone can stay wet indefinitely and you can actually dilute whatever it is you are trying to inject into the patient in terms of the medicine," Tourigny says.

By partnering with Dow Corning, however, MicroCare Medical can supply companies with a premixed, calibrated formula so that they can avoid the in-house mixing of solvents or chemicals altogether. In addition to simplifying the coating process, this offering also saves companies time and effort because they only have to qualify one process.

In addition to speaking about the Duraglide Siloxane lubricants while at MD&M East, MicroCare Medical is also promoting its general DuraGlide family of dry film lubricants. The line is designed to help engineers and manufacturers address challenges of stacked tolerances, which are found in a variety of devices, including single-use products. To do so, the lubricant film helps to reduce forces required to actuate the device by 25 to 30%, according to the company. 

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