A direct consequence of industry leading research and development activities has allowed Orthoplastics to successfully ensure that they have the capability to manufacture crosslinked UHMWPE.
The benefit of manufacturing UHMWPE in this manner, is a significant reduction in wear on the medical application. By using a process which exposes standard UHMWPE to ionising radiation, it allows Orthoplastics to produce a higher grade of UHMWPE, otherwise referred to as Crosslinked UHMWPE, bringing major benefits to medical implant manufacturers, and the patient community.
To achieve crosslinking, UHMWPE is exposed to ionising radiation, usually either an electron beam or a gamma source, commonly Cobalt 60. In order to carry out this process of crosslinking UHMWPE, two important control factors must be in place; dose level and oxidation.
Firstly, dose level is critical to the residual mechanical strength, which decreases as the dose quantity rises. Controlling this process is critical for ensuring batch to batch, and part to part consistency.
The second stage of crosslinking UHMWPE is oxidation. This process is the direct outcome of generating free radicals after exposure to ionising energy. Oxidation is dealt with by firstly annealing or re-melting soon after irradiation and then removing the newly exposed surface of the rods by only a few millimetres.
Over many years, Orthoplastics has developed and validated our crosslinking process to achieve tighter dose distribution; these studies have resulted in greater product uniformity and performance characteristics.
Using selected vendors for e-beam, gamma and x-ray crosslinking, we can manufacture bespoke crosslinked variants for OEM’s across the world, to optimise material performance for each orthopaedic design.