Last month, an innocent question on Tumblr sent the Internet into a frenzy debating the color of a dress – some seeing it as white and gold, others as black and blue. Even when Roman Originals, the company that manufactures the dress, confirmed the actual color of the dress (which is black and blue by the way), people remained firmly divided on the issue. Soon, numerous scientists and scholars joined in providing their rationale about who was actually correct. As it turns out, it all comes down to perception, which also happens to be a critical element when it comes to solving packaging problems.
This was certainly the case when TEQ became aware of a common problem with medical packaging – the ease of recyclability (or, to be more precise, the lack thereof). In essence, because sterile barrier systems often consist of more than one material and medical staff simply don’t have time to separate them for recycling, the result is often an enormous amount of waste.
In response to this issue, instead of relying only on available materials we set out to create TEQethylene™, a new proprietary blend of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE).
When used in combination with adhesive-coated Tyvek®, a breathable HDPE lidding material developed by Dupont™, the result is a mono-polymer sterile barrier system that is 100% recyclable.
In addition to this ease of recyclability, this monopolymer sterile barrier solution has less environmental impact than other materials, and offers many additional benefits over conventional HDPE such as better clarity for improved visibility and seal inspection, better durability to hold up to the sterilization process and better processing and dimensional control.
But we didn’t stop there. Knowing that many medical device manufacturers are often reluctant to explore incorporate new materials like TEQethylene into their designs because of the perceived cost of required stability testing, we set out to solve this problem as well.
To be more specific, when it comes to meeting ISO 11607 requirements for stability testing, the general perception is that it is the sole responsibility of the MDM to generate data to support SBS stability testing. However, when we stepped back and looked at this issue differently, it became clear that this is actually a fundamental misunderstanding.
In fact, our partners at Spartan Design Group, principals Curt Larsen and John Spitzley, served on the Working Group 7 of the ISO Technical Committee 198 to develop the 2006 version of 11607 and added Clause 6.4.7 which clarified that stability data does NOT necessarily have to be provided by MDMs and that data produced by groups such as SBS materials suppliers (like TEQ) are equally acceptable.
So, we set out to work with Curt and John to complete the testing necessary to provide our medical device packaging customers with the stability data they need to incorporate TEQethylene into their designs.
What about you? How has perception helped your business or company solve a challenging problem?