In 2006 around 500 million people were over 65, but by 2030, that figure is projected to double to one billion. And prospects for longer lives are increasing. So much so that the most eye-raising estimates suggest that someone born in 2030 could potentially reach the age of 130. The plastics industry is already working hard to find ways of promoting the health and wellbeing of that army of older people.
Covestro’s innovative high-performance polycarbonate plastics and polyurethane foams are helping the healthcare industry to be less wasteful, cleaner and more hygienic.
Medical devices can be made smaller, lighter, resistant to wear, and able to withstand harsh disinfectants and survive multiple sterilisation environments with their properties intact.
Slimline and robust
Since polycarbonate can withstand temperatures of over 140 degrees Celsius, it is particularly suitable for medical equipment that has to be sterilized. It can also be used to produce extremely slimline instruments for minimally invasive surgery. This operating technique is used increasingly as it cuts operation times, causes less discomfort to patients and ensures faster recovery.
Polycarbonate goes into sterile packaging for items such as surgical instruments and implants to centrifuges and blood reservoirs for heart surgery. Dialysis patients also benefit from the material as it is applied in the casing for ‘artificial kidneys’. And thanks to its relative compatibility with human tissue, polycarbonate can also be used in the making of infusion systems.
In more futuristic applications, robot-based support technologies, such as the HAL® robot suit, are based on Covestro’s high-tech products. These translate the wearer’s nerve signals into movements.
In everyday applications people can protect and care for their skin with environmentally friendly cosmetic products such as suntan lotions, and the company’s specialty chemicals are also used in the medical sector for products such as wound dressings.