Understanding Film Plastics in Medical Applications: A 2022 Guide

The medical industry has always required products and materials that are of the highest possible quality. The ability to block potential germs or contaminants and stand up against various sterilization techniques has been increasingly important – and these qualities continue to be paramount in 2022. 

There are many plastic film materials that suit these needs perfectly. That’s why many are widely used across the medical field, from clear plastics for face shields to flexible materials in diabetic test strips. If you’re looking for the highest quality materials for any health and safety related applications, here’s a guide to plastic film for the medical industry, updated for 2022. 


Uses of Plastic Film for the Medical Industry

In recent years, faceshields have become increasingly common in the medical field and elsewhere. Strong, clear plastics provide a solid barrier that prevents potentially infected particles from transferring,  protecting both medical personnel and their patients. 

Plastic film is also incredibly beneficial in the production and packaging of medical devices. It can be machined with incredibly precise dimensions and qualities, making it ideal for applications that need to be customized to the specific needs of patients, like orthopedic parts. 

Plastic film is also practical and cost efficient enough to be used in small and/or disposable items, such as diagnostic strips used for diabetic blood sugar testing. . Plastics allow these devices to work efficiently without  unnecessarily driving consumer prices up.

Many small componentscan be crafted or covered using various plastic films. For example, pharmaceutical cap liners which are small, protective inserts that must be durable, economical, and able to keep contaminants out of medication. 

Another major category when it comes to plastic film for the medical industry is medical packaging. Various plastic films work well in these applications due to their optical clarity and ability to create a tight seal around various items. There are a huge array of materials used for this particular application – some offer rigid shapes for optimal impact protection, while others are more flexible to form a tight seal around smaller or uniquely shaped items. In nearly every instance, it is important to have materials that are sterile and/or able to hold up against various chemical or heat sterilization techniques. Luckily, many performance plastics fall into this category. 

Types of Plastic Film in the Medical Industry

There are a number of plastic films that offer benefits within the medical industry. The following is not a complete list, but it does include many of the top choices for various use cases. 

Polymers like HDPE and LDPE are common in the medical field due to their ability to form a tight seal and resist various chemicals. This allows them to easily be sanitized and provide a protective layer around an array of medical devices and supplies.

Polycarbonate is another common option. It is best suited for applications that require optical clarity and high impact strength. These may include surgical instruments and fluid reservoirs.  

Fluoropolymers exhibit excellent chemical resistance. This makes them ideal for applications that may be exposed to solvents, cleaning agents, or other materials that are potentially corrosive or harmful to other surfaces. 

Polypropylene is a durable yet cost effective material used in medical applications.  It’s commonly used in disposable items like syringes, since the material can provide strength and protection while keeping costs low. However, it is also sometimes used in reusable items like containers and prescription bottles. 

PETG is a clear, tough thermoplastic that provides a strong barrier that can keep out moisture, gas, and contaminants. This makes it ideal for plastic packaging.. It is also an effective insulator, making it an excellent option for devices that come into contact with heat. 

UHMW offers excellent strength and wear resistance, commonly used in implants. This makes it ideal for use in medical applications where the film may come into contact with friction or moving parts. It can also be machined into precise shapes and holds its original properties in a huge array of conditions.

A Guide to Plastic Film in the Medical Industry in 2022

Over the past few years, the medical field has experienced much pressure. Now more than ever, the right materials for medical applications should be easily accessible. 

Face shields, covers, and protective materials that can easily be sterilized are still highly in demand as medical facilities work hard to keep up with increased patient activity amid worker shortages and other challenges. It is important to have a plastic film supplier that can connect you with the highest quality products that suit the specific demands of medical facilities and manufacturers. 

PolymerFilms has the expertise and extensive inventory necessary to support companies in the medical field. We offer a huge array of high performance plastics, including HDPE, UHMW, polycarbonate, fluoropolymers, and polypropylene. In addition to our extensive inventory, we provide a vast array of film conversion services to add value to your experience and ensure you get materials in the exact grades and sizes needed for your applications. The staff at our local facilities also provide personalized service and guidance, and we communicate and ship materials quickly to keep up with the fast pace of the medical field. To get started, visit our website to find your local facility.