Alpharetta, Ga., June 11, 2019 --- Solvay’s Ixef® polyarylamide (PARA) is now globally available in rod stock from its channel partner, Drake Medical Plastics. Offering high stiffness, high strength, biocompatibility, and light weight, the medical-grade Ixef® PARA stock shapes can be precisely machined to create appearance prototypes of single-use orthopedic surgical instruments. This approach avoids the considerable time and expense of producing soft tooling. Once the part design is finalized, device manufacturers can fully leverage the performance properties of Solvay’s Ixef® PARA resin using injection molding.

Drake Medical Plastics, which serves the medical component and life sciences industries, is currently the only supplier of Solvay Ixef® PARA extruded rod stock. The company offers the rods in three diameters:  19 mm (0.75 in), 30 mm (1.0 in), and 77 mm (3.0 in) in a neutral gray color (Ixef® GS-1022/GY02). Injection molding grades of Ixef® PARA healthcare resins are also available from Drake Medical Plastics in seven additional gamma-stabilized colors. These materials have been evaluated for ISO 10993 limited-duration biocompatibility and are supported by a U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Master Access File (MAF). Ixef® PARA is optimized for sterilization using high-energy gamma radiation without causing significant change in appearance or performance.

“We’re pleased to add rod stock extruded from Solvay’s high-performance Ixef® PARA to our portfolio,” said Steven Quance, Drake Medical’s President. “Ixef® PARA shapes address the need for more-efficient prototyping that can help OEMs control development costs and accelerate time to market for new single-use surgical instruments and other devices. Designers can quickly and easily create visual prototypes that give an accurate representation of their final product. We have found that immediate access to high quality stock shapes in leading-edge materials like Ixef® PARA helps customers meet new project objectives of speed, cost and design.”

For single-use orthopedic surgical instruments, injection molded Ixef® PARA now delivers performance comparable to that of traditional stainless steel, but without the drawbacks. The 50-percent glass fiber-reinforced resins feature excellent rigidity, creep resistance, and strength required to withstand mechanical strain and stress. However, they are up to 450 percent lighter than metal, enabling OEMs to increase the number of tools in a surgical instrument kit. Another advantage is their smooth, resin-rich surface, which helps avoid the risk of glove tears from the glass fiber and minimizes moisture absorption. From a design standpoint, Ixef® PARA enables the incorporation of ergonomic elements, such as textures for improved grip, without the need for secondary operations.

“Solvay and Drake Medical Plastics have teamed up to tackle the high cost of prototype tooling for single-use medical devices and this is our solution,” said Debbie Prenatt, sales development manager for Healthcare at Solvay’s Specialty Polymers global business unit. “By producing machinable rod stock from Ixef® PARA healthcare resin, Drake Medical is now offering device designers an innovative alternative to traditional, more expensive prototyping. Adding to this value proposition is the ability to transition seamlessly to high-speed, high-volume injection molding using the same resin. This collaboration is just the latest in a longstanding partnership focused on the needs of the medical device sector.”

®Ixef is a registered trademark of Solvay

Drake Medical Plastics (DMP) provides extrusion, injection molding and machining services with the specialized quality requirements of the medical and life science industries. DMP provides resin-to-component processing of high-performance polymers for prototyping through production.  DMP’s experience with material selection, small run, state of the art conversion services, particularly with highly filled resins, and exceptional customer service makes them a “one stop shop.”  DMP’s lean processing reduces cost and time barriers commonly associated with engineering plastics, accelerating the introduction of new products while staying within budget.

Drake Medical Plastics is ISO 9001:2015 certified and is an FDA registered device manufacturing facility.  Its quality system conforms to ISO 13485. DMP offers process validation including Master Validation Plans, Installation Qualifications, Operational Qualifications, and Performance Qualifications which help medical device manufacturers navigate regulatory processes with the US FDA, EU Notified Bodies and other regulatory agencies.  Learn more at www.drakemedicalplastics.com.

Solvay is an advanced materials and specialty chemicals company, committed to developing chemistry that addresses key societal challenges. Solvay innovates and partners with customers worldwide in many diverse end markets. Its products are used in planes, cars, batteries, smart and medical devices, as well as in mineral and oil and gas extraction, enhancing efficiency and sustainability. Its lightweighting materials promote cleaner mobility, its formulations optimize the use of resources and its performance chemicals improve air and water quality. Solvay is headquartered in Brussels with around 24,500 employees in 61 countries. Net sales were €10.3 billion in 2018, with 90% from activities where Solvay ranks among the world's top 3 leaders, resulting in an EBITDA margin of 22%. Solvay SA (SOLB.BE) is listed on Euronext Brussels and Paris Bloomberg: SOLB.BB - Reuters: SOLB.BR), and in the United States its shares (SOLVY) are traded through a level-1 ADR program. Financial figures take into account the planned divestment of Polyamides.

Solvay Specialty Polymers manufactures over 1500 products across 35 brands of high-performance polymers – fluoropolymers, fluoroelastomers, fluorinated fluids, semi-aromatic polyamides, sulfone polymers, ultra-high performance aromatic polymers, and high‑barrier polymers – for use in Aerospace, Alternative Energy, Automotive, Healthcare, Membranes, Oil & Gas, Packaging, Plumbing, Semiconductors, Wire & Cable, and other industries. Learn more at www.solvayspecialtypolymers.com.

Stock shapes_Ixef PARA_Drake Medical Plastics

Solvay’s medical-grade Ixef® Polyarylamide (PARA) stock shapes offer high stiffness, high strength, biocompatibility, light weight and can be precisely machined to create appearance prototypes of single-use orthopedic surgical instruments. Photo courtesy of Solvay.