What to expect from Trinseo at K Show 2019 and beyond

Medical Plastics News editor Laura Hughes caught up with Francesca Reverberi, Trinseo?s global business director for performance plastics ahead of K Show 2019. ? Is this your first time attending the K Show?

We have been exhibiting at the K Show since the beginning of our inception as Trinseo. Trinseo is a global materials partner and manufacturer of plastics. As the largest global event for the plastics and rubber industries, K gives us the perfect opportunity to discuss needs and expectations with our customers, learn about industry trends, and share what Trinseo is working on internally as far as material development. ?

Francesca Reverberi, global business director, performance plastics, Trinseo

What will you be exhibiting at K 2019?

This year, our theme is all about rethinking innovation. For Trinseo, innovation goes way beyond typical product development. We are focused on delivering future-oriented solutions that not only meet sustainability needs, but enable customers to design around future trends with materials that truly are differentiated. From a future trend standpoint, we?re focused on the global landscape, and an important trend in the medical space, for example, is an aging population. We support our customers by enabling the development of drug delivery devices for self-administered care and we do this through a unique portfolio consisting of a combination of soft-touch materials, and hard plastics that we?ve developed specifically to support the market.

Innovation is about developing materials with an understanding of our customers? needs.?Trinseo is going to be offering a lot more flexible options for customisation of products, particularly in our medical resins. For example, we?re in the process of introducing our lubricious material platform that includes more additive options such as silicone, PolyTetraFluoroEthylene (PTFE) and other fillers for PolyCarbonate (PC) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) and this will allow us to tailor to the exact specifications of our customers? applications.

Trinseo will also be talking about sustainability and our role as a founding member of Styrenics Circular Solutions (SCS). We recently announced a collaboration with fellow SCS member INEOS Styrolution and Agilyx to advance a first-of-kind polystyrene chemical recycling facility in Europe.

Which other shows have you been exhibiting at this year, and how will this show compare?

We?ve had a busy year for trade shows, with all major business areas participating in trade events, including Performance Plastics, Latex Binders and Synthetic Rubber.

In the medical sector, Trinseo exhibited at this year?s MD&M West Show in California, the largest show for the medical devices sector in North America, and also Pharmapack in Paris.?Both were in February and we launched our portfolio of ThermoPlastic Elastomers (TPEs)?for the medical devices industry. As the sector is focused more on patient and provider-friendly devices, the combination of the rigid and soft touch materials is truly needed. We also exhibited at the China International Component and Design Show earlier this year, in addition to the Healthcare Elastomer Conference, another show in North America that focused mainly on TPEs.???

While all trade events add considerable value to the business and enable us to get closer to customers, peers and partners, K-Show remains one of the biggest events on Trinseo?s calendar.

Your organisation has been part of the medical device market for several decades, how do you feel the industry is changing?

The medical devices market is evolving in response to our global mega trends -?particularly an aging population and changing demographics. These trends are causing a growth in home healthcare, a need for self-administered treatment, and growth in on-body devices that monitor ailments and conditions.

Manufacturers are responding by designing and developing devices that are more patient and service-provider friendly. They?re providing more aesthetically pleasing equipment for home environments, and they?re providing drug delivery devices to allow self-administration of protocols.

As far as Trinseo?s business in this sector, we enable our medical device?customers to evolve through the materials we provide. This could mean?one of our biocompatible glass filled plastics replacing?a metal part on a surgical tool for weight reduction and cost savings, using a?rigid plastic with an overmoulded layer for a certain piece of home healthcare cabinetry or a drug delivery device,?a chemical resistant polycarbonate for a hospital x-ray machine or other diagnostic equipment, or using?our radiation-stabilised polycarbonate for an application that requires irradiation.

Trinseo is also active in consumer electronics and we are seeing a convergence with this sector. For example, wearable injectors and monitoring equipment are a growing trend. As patients receive at-home treatments for a longer duration, they need to rely on items such as patch devices, prefilled cartridges, and controlled injections.

We?re also seeing more connectivity in the medical devices market, particularly among personal monitoring devices and healthcare providers; this enables better tracking and trending of conditions and ultimately better treatment protocols and patient outcomes.

What are the current challenges Trinseo is facing?

One of the big challenges the industry faces is in sustainability - which is a challenge the healthcare sector shares with almost every other industry. For Trinseo, this means we?re challenged to help our customers meet their sustainability objectives through material selection.

Reuse and recycling continue to be industry-wide concerns, and one of the ways Trinseo can help support these initiatives is by offering our customers recycled content containing materials.?Recycling materials for medical applications has unique challenges and may only be possible for less sensitive applications.?We?ve developed a portfolio?though?of polycarbonate with post-consumer recycled content for consumer electronics housings, and we hope to explore the possibility of introducing this portfolio of materials?for applications having no patient contact, for example, medical equipment.

Another way we can impact sustainability is in our sourcing. In our medical grade resins portfolio?we?ve eliminated animal derived raw materials and replaced them with sustainable plant derived materials. This has helped our customers achieve sustainability goals.?

Another challenge continues to be fighting healthcare acquired infections. One of the ways to combat this?is through the use of cleansers and disinfectants in equipment cleaning protocol.?As strains of bacteria become more resistant to these chemicals, material companies need to develop materials that are resistant to prevent cracking and crazing.?This is one area of specialty for Trinseo ? we?ve become very well known among the major medical device and equipment manufacturers for our chemical resistant blends and invest a lot in their development.?

In addition, we face the challenge of continuing to manage the global regulatory landscape which is becoming increasingly stringent and complex. To support customers in this area, Trinseo has a dedicated network of regional product stewards who assist customers by helping them navigate the regulatory landscape in the various regions and providing them with detailed information about our materials.

Our response to market challenges is one of collaboration and innovation. By working closely with our customers, understanding their needs and design challenges, we are able to successfully innovate not only our products but our overall approach, staying a step ahead of industry changes and global trends.

Tags K Show 2019 opinion Healthcare Associated Infections Q&A sustainability Trinseo

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