Medical manufacturing continues to face more challenging requirements for medical products as well as stringent regulations and end-user expectations for devices such as wearables. Manufacturers are tasked with meeting these demands while keeping costs low without sacrificing quality. One technology that manufacturers are turning to, and that stands out from the competition, is Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) molding. As demand continues to grow, the future of LSR in medical manufacturing looks very promising.
What is LSR?
Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) is a very-pure, platinum-cured elastomer. LSR starts out as a 2-part liquid that is heated in order to accelerate the reaction of the two parts to form solid rubber that can be injected into a mold cavity to manufacture a part. LSR has excellent properties, such as a low viscosity and low shrink rate, that make it a great choice for injection molding and the manufacturing of complex products and intricate parts. One of the advantages of LSR is that it cures faster than most other rubber materials; additionally, due to the highly automated nature of injection molding and the potential for 24/7 manufacturing, high volumes of LSR products can be produced in a short period of time – adding to its popularity. LSR is a versatile rubber in the elastomer industry and has a wide range of end-uses including medical devices such as stents and catheters. Click here to learn why the medical industry uses silicones.
Benefits of LSR in Medical Manufacturing
In medical manufacturing, LSR has many attractive properties such as durability, low viscosity, chemical and temperature resistance, and flexibility, but its biocompatibility is outstanding. LSR has demonstrated superb compatibility with human tissue and body fluids, and is resistant to bacteria growth. Medical grades of LSR are temperature resistant and can easily sterilize, which makes them compatible with various medical devices and accessories such as implantable devices, liquid feeding bottles, dialysis filters, and oxygen mask instruments. Additionally, demand continues to grow for wearable medical devices, leading to even higher LSR demand.
Medical manufacturing typically requires a higher level of cleanliness to avoid contamination during processing. In fact, many manufacturers, like ProMed, employ cleanrooms to minimize risk of contamination and achieve the necessary cleanliness during manufacturing. One of the benefits of LSR is that it can be injection molded, which is a highly automated process, further reducing the risk of contamination from operators, equipment, or the environment.
Have a medical manufacturing project that demands biocompatibility?
Contact the team at ProMed team to learn more about our broad range of LSR molding solutions.
Continued LSR Market Growth
The LSR market has experienced continuous growth and expansion in recent years, and this trend is projected to continue over the next 5-10 years. Some sources forecast the global LSR market will grow at a rate of 7.1% in terms of value, from USD 2.4 Billion in 2020 to USD 4.2 Billion by 2028. The healthcare sector is one of the primary drivers for LSR demand increases world-wide as medical manufacturing is experiencing significant growth.
The growth of LSR for the medical sector is attributed to a few key factors. First, due to its excellent biocompatibility, the demand for implantables continues to grow, driving the need for liquid silicone rubber. Second, there is growing demand for LSR in equipment and surgical tools necessary to treat the rising geriatric population. Lastly, LSR has hypo-allergenic characteristics that make it an excellent material for medical products that come in contact with human skin, such as wearables and medical products for babies.
For these reasons, the future of liquid silicone rubber in medical manufacturing is forecasted to be strong. It should be noted that, similar to most sectors, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the global LSR supply chain. However, the supply chains are expected to fully recover and not impact the short- or long-term demand for liquid silicone rubber in medical manufacturing.
ProMed Pharma’s Capabilities
ProMed Pharma is a leading contract manufacturer of polymer-based drug releasing molded dosage forms and combination device components, such as drug-eluting products. Working with both established and early-stage medical device and pharmaceutical companies, we develop robust manufacturing processes and platforms for extended drug release from a variety of materials, including silicones and thermoplastics.
We have garnered a reputation as the world benchmark of implantable silicone components and assemblies – and are one of few companies in the world to provide contract manufacturing of drug-eluting products.
ProMed has expertise in working with the full spectrum of silicones covering a wide range of properties and characteristics – including Liquid Silicone Rubber (LSR) that is an excellent option for drug-eluting medical products. We will assist in your material selection to help ensure all design requirements are met. Our manufacturing facilities and equipment are designed for a single purpose—to mold medical and implantable silicone, combination components, and bio-material grade plastics with uncompromising quality and service. We have multiple manufacturing sites, all are certified class 10,000 / ISO Class 7 cleanrooms.