A sticky but helpful situation for fragile medical devices

By Daphne Allen in Medical Packaging on January 20, 2017

One stop on our Packaging Innovation Tour at MD&M Minneapolis 2016 was Gel-Pak, a company offering a biocompatible gel that can be coated onto the bottom of boxes, trays, slides, and films to secure medical components in place during transport, processing, and storage. 

The “gel” is a proprietary highly crosslinked elastomer that has strong cohesive strength, so it does not generate particles unless damaged by the user (with sharp tweezers, etc.), reports Jennifer Dossee Nunes, Director of Marketing. “When devices are placed on the gel, they are held securely in place until they are removed using tweezers or automated pick and place equipment,” she says.

When asked about weight limits and applicable materials of the products that can be held, Nunes says that “there is no simple answer. Our Gel works with most materials, and the weight limit is a function of the type of Gel-Pak carrier used, the Gel retention level, and the how it is used.  Once we understand the customer’s application, we provide the best samples for them to evaluate.”

And when asked whether the gel could be placed in a thermoformed tray to hold a medical device, Nunes says it is possible. “The easiest way is to laminate a sheet of WF-A film into the carrier,” she says. 

She also believes that the gel could be sterilized as part of a package that undergoes terminal sterilization, but she advises that samples should be tested and validated.

Gel-Pak makes two grades of gel material; a standard grade and a highly purified version (Process B) recommended for highly sensitive devices. The Vacuum Release (VR) product line is built using Process B Gel, and Process B is also available as a special option for the Gel-Box, Gel-Tray, Gel-Slide, and Gel-Film products.

Gel-Pak’s products have been used to hold items such as medical coils, platinum marker bands, medical staples, medical electronics, etc., she says. 

Above: Gel-Pak holding medical staples

For more details, visit http://www.gelpak.com/--gel-technology.

Gel-Pak's parent company Delphon will be exhibiting at Booth #1528 at the upcoming MD&M West in Anaheim February 7-9.

Click here for a list of the Innovation Tours at the show.

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