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The Right Material Makes a Difference

Fri, 10/13/2006 - 9:52am
The Project:  An innovative design for a new insulin management system results in concerns regarding the manufacture of several components.
The Solution:  Relying on the expertise of the materials provider, several plastics are selected to fulfill the manufacturer’s specific needs.


RTP Company has engineered several specialty compounds for a breakthrough insulin delivery product developed by the Insulet Corp., a leading diabetes management company. Insulet’s OmniPod Insulin Management System enables people with diabetes requiring insulin to continuously receive insulin without the tubing that “tethers” a traditional insulin pump device to a user. The OmniPod System also eliminates the need for repeated insulin injections for those individuals who manage their diabetes with daily insulin injections.

“Several of the OmniPod System parts were particularly challenging,” said Dave Clare, project manager at Insulet. “One necessitated specific mechanical properties and a balance between opacity and transparency. Another needed a highly bondable elastomer with an exacting color match. And finally, we had plating challenges due to a very narrow processing window.”

RTP Company responded to Insulet’s requirements by formulating three compounds for the OmniPod top housing, seal, and chassis. “I provided RTP Company with a description of our requirements and I quickly received viable options which were further customized,” said Clare. “This ability to tailor materials ideally suited to the OmniPod is what will help make this application successful.”

RTP formulated three unique compounds to address the needs of the manufacturer for the housing, seal, and chassis of the OmniPod system.
 
For the top housing, an RTP 300 Series Polycarbonate utilizing FDA compliant ingredients and light diffusing technology was specified. This housing is precolored white and is the first part of a two-shot injection molding process that also incorporates an RTP 6002 Series Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE). The TPE is precolored white to match the housing. It functions as the component’s gasket for the environmental seal. RTP Company developed the RTP 6002 Series for applications requiring a superior chemical bond to rigid substrates, making possible simpler part designs that are less dependent on mechanical interlocks and/or eliminate time consuming surface preparation during production.

An RTP 2500 Series Platable PC/ABS was compounded for the OmniPod chassis. RTP Company’s platable compounds are designed to promote adhesion between the plastic substrate and the metal plating. Although platable compounds are selected for their decorative purposes in many applications, in products such as the OmniPod that incorporate circuitry and interconnections into the thermoplastic components, significant performance improvements can be realized.

The OmniPod Insulin Management System is a breakthrough product that gives those living with diabetes unprecedented freedom and comfort. Insulet has received multiple awards for this life improving product. Such awards recognize the OmniPod design team for using innovative design and materials to overcome a number of technological challenges.

RTP Company, headquartered in Winona, MN, is a global leader in specialty compounding. The company has seven manufacturing plants on three continents, plus sales representatives throughout North America, Europe, and Asia/Pacific. RTP Company’s engineers develop customized thermoplastic compounds in over 60 different engineering resin systems for applications requiring color, conductivity, flame retardancy, high temperature, structural, elastomeric, and wear resistant properties.
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For additional information on the technologies and products discussed in this article, see the following websites:

  • www.rtpcompany.com
  • www.insulet.com
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