Interior Uses for Urethane
David Vaczek, Senior Editor
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Polyurethane material is an alternative to foams and vinyls for interior packaging. Perfecseal has used urethane sheets for cushioning orthopedic implants that would other- wise scuff and mar a PETG tray, says Steve Olson, project engineer, Perfecseal (Mankato, MN).
Companies are also adopting BargerGard developed by Barger Packaging (Elkhart, IN) for new uses. Having converted the urethane initially for orthopedic implant packaging in PETG trays, Barger is mak- ing envelope and pouch parts for protecting sharp and blunt medical devices, such as catheters, needles, screws, and drills, says Peter Giczewski, vice president and general manager, Barger Packaging.
“This seems to offer a very elegant packaging solution. Our envelopes are put on the end of devices, which then go into Tyvek pouches. We have seen a great deal of interest and adoption of BargerGard in the last 12–18 months,” says Giczewski. Since it is amenable to forming and holds its form, the flexible material can be configured in various ways to fit inside rigid trays.
Manufactured by Stevens Urethane (Easthampton, MA), the plastic, known as ST 1880-87, has twice the tensile strength of vinyl and is nonabrasive and biodegradable. It withstands ethylene oxide (EtO) and gamma sterilization. For joining separate pieces, BargerGard can be RF welded, eliminating the need for adhesives.
Giczewski explains that BargerGard can be thermoformed to tighter tolerances for achieving a more-uniform thickness than platisol, which is manufactured with a dipping process. “When you are making protective components out of plastisol, parts can have varying thicknesses from top to bottom, because of the dripping effect during the dipping process. With BargerGard, we have many more options available to us. We can form two halves joined by a hinge that would then go into a rigid tray with Tyvek lidding, he says. Addressing the material’s high cost, Barger minimizes web material in station loading and unloading and minimizes indexing distances.