What is the best surface treatment for COC & COP Prefilled Syringes?

What is the best surface treatment for COC & COP Prefilled Syringes

The medical and pharmaceutical industry has shown an increasing tendency towards using plastic materials Cyclic Olefin Copolymer (COC) and Cyclic Olefin Polymers (COP) in the production of plastic prefilled syringes due to their properties such as high barrier performance. Here at Tantec UK & Ireland we take a look at what is the best surface treatment of COC & COP Prefilled Syringes.

What are the advantages of using plastic prefilled syringes?

  • Breakage resistance
  • Design flexibility 
  • Decreased surface reactivity 
  • Less absorption of the drug 
  • Lower cost options vs glass

The low surface energy of polymer-based substrates often leads to poor adhesion of  

inks and coatings. To obtain optimum adhesion, it is necessary to increase the surface energy. Surface treatment with corona or plasma results in improved surface adhesion and wetting properties. 

Materials like COC and COP are commonly used with pre-treatment, but this also extends to traditional polymer materials like Polypropylene (PP) or Polyethylene (PE) too. 

The purpose of surface treatment of polymer-based materials is to increase surface energy for improved adhesion of inks and coatings. The low surface energy of polymer substrates often leads to poor wetting and adhesion of liquids. After treatment, liquids such as inks and coatings will now flow over the surface, bonding strongly and wetting the component.

This improved surface is useful for adhesion properties before printing scales or safety critical print onto the syringe barrels and before coating the inside of the barrel with lubricating oils for a smooth plunger action. It can also be used for improve adhesion of needles in to the top of the syringe.

How can Tantec UK & Ireland with surface treatment for COC & COP Prefilled Syringes?

Tantec has for many years produced and developed multiple prefilled syringe surface treatment systems. Which to use may vary on throughput, part size and area requiring treatment. The three most common systems are SyrinTEC, VacuTEC and PlasmaTEC.

SyrinTEC – Inline Corona Treatment

SyrinTEC equipment for the medical and pharmaceutical industry is one of the key technologies developed specifically for syringes and similar shaped devices, SyrinTEC has been further developed for the Prefilled Syringe market after a number of customer enquiries.

The uniqueness of Tantec SyrinTEC for Prefilled Syringes is that treatment can be on the outside, inside or both surfaces of the syringe which can be accomplished in one process.

SyrinTEC works by using a corona treatment and different shaped treatment electrodes. These durable electrodes either insert in to the syringe barrel, or form around the outside depending on the treatment locations required.

The electrodes of the system can be changed for different sized parts, but these systems are normally highly engineered and designed for high speed lines, usually with a single specification of part. This engineered approach makes the quality, repeatability and performance of these systems unrivalled. Their integration in to automation is simple, allowing for control and feedback for continuous monitoring and quality checks.

VacuTEC – Batch and Inline Plasma Treatment

VacuTEC is a vacuum plasma treatment unit, capable of entire component treatment and is normally best used for trays of parts, although integrated conveyor systems are available for automated lines too.

The real advantage to using VacuTEC systems is that any shape syringe can be put in the chamber, and 100% of the part is guaranteed to be treated. This flexibility is highly sought after by lower volume manufacturers who have a wide variety of syringes and other components requiring treatment.

Larger systems, including auto feed conveyors, jigs for loading and automatic doors on one or two sides of the chamber all bring the VacuTEC to an automated indexing system rather than a manual batch process.

These systems are also very useful for catheters and medical tubing due to their flexibility, especially as systems can be both standard sized machines or custom built systems to suit specific production requirements.

PlasmaTEC – Inline Targeted Plasma Treatment

PlasmaTEC is a nozzle device, that points at specific areas to give treatment. Very easy to install on a moving production line, this system is extremely useful for small area treatment such as for bonding of needles in to hubs.

Single nozzles are very cost effective compared with SyrinTEC and VacuTEC, however, larger treatment area requirements such as longer syringes may become expensive as multiple nozzles are required so there is a crossover point at which systems like SyrinTEC become more sensible.

PlasmaTEC is also most sensible for areas easily visible, such as the outer syringe walls or needle hub. Internal treatment is likely not possible with this system.

Benefits of Surface Treatment Using Tantec Equipment

Our products are designed with a few common concepts that make them strong systems to use within the medical device manufacturing industry. All of the treatments we offer benefit from:

  • Non-contact treatment 
  • Tailored treatment areas
  • Variable treatment speeds – available to match integration and budget requirements
  • Fully integrated or offline versions available for all systems
  • Simple single part treatment systems through to thousands of parts per hour
  • Complete process control – electronic feedback for treatment parameters, alarms and system information on all systems
  • Cost efficient systems, choosing the right tool for the job. We offer the widest selection of treatment options anywhere globally.
  • Uniform, repeatable treatment
  • No chemicals or additional process liquids or gases are required

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