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Teflon: More than just pots and pans

Teflon is a household name that commonly invokes images of eggs sizzling on a skillet, spatulas flipping pancakes, or rice steaming in a pan.

But, there is much more to this magical non-stick coating.

Teflon, a brand name for PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), prohibits food from sticking to pots and pans because of its hydrophobic properties.

As a low-energy, fluorocarbon solid neither water nor water containing substances can influence the surface. This means that nothing will stick to the surface or penetrate it.

Today, Teflon has improved culinary pursuits and made cooking more accessible, but that isn’t the only field PTFE has influenced.

The medical device industry would not be what it is today without PTFE. As medical devices work intimately with the human body, they must be completely sanitary, inert, and harmless.

With its lubriciousness and impenetrable properties, PTFE is used to coat a variety of medical devices such as catheters, surgical equipment, balloons, bladders, and implants.

But, PTFE only works when the coating itself sticks to the surface. This requires proper surface preparation which can be challenging in any manufacturing floor. It’s especially difficult in medical device manufacturing as specifications are so high and there is no room for failure.   

The most common surface preparation process prior to PTFE coating is plasma treatment. This requires an in-place monitoring method to avoid over treatment or under treatment as both can be detrimental to coating.

Legacy methods such as dyne inks are destructive to the part and dangerous to the user so they are less than ideal, even in a laboratory setting.

The Surface Analyst is quickly replacing dyne inks as a non-destructive, easy, fast, accurate, and quantitative surface energy measurement in the medical device industry. It records every measurement which comes in handy for medical device manufacturing audits and harmlessly, yet precisely ensures the surface is ready to be coated.

So, while cooking may not be as serious as medical device manufacturing, it’s certainly a crucial aspect in day to day activities so whether it’s medical catheters or frying pans, the Surface Analyst is changing the game and improving products.

Check out the case study about how the Surface Analyst helped one medical tubing manufacturer improve their critical surface process and read more about the Surface Analyst’s applications for the medical device industry.