The multi-component technology with injection moulding process offers both functional characteristics and ease of use in assembly with high requirements, such as for demanding medical products. PARI GmbH – specialists for effective inhalation – produces innovative inhalation systems and has already applied the advantages of multi-component technology in the new PARI LC Sprint nebuliser successfully launched in 2006. In order to modernize the product portfolio, it was time to develop a new, innovative inhalation mask for children and adults.
The patient inhales the aerosol produced in the nebuliser via an inhalation mask or mouthpiece. As the core of an inhalation device, nebulisers atomise the medication contained within as tiny aerosol droplets. The compressed air required for atomising is produced in a compressor and fed to the atomiser by means of a hose.
The new mask was intended to improve on existing inhalation masks. The goal of the project was to replace existing PP and PVC masks. For one thing, PP masks do not adapt to the different facial structures due to the rigidness of the material; aerosol could thus escape during inhalation therapy. Additionally, PVC as a material, has an increasingly bad image in medical technology due to the softening agents contained in it. For patients, especially small children, it is important that the inhalation mask lies softly and comfortably on the skin. To be able to better motivate children to inhale, an appropriate design is likewise important.
It was a matter of implementing a soft edge on the mask and at the same time to spray a second razor-thin inner sealing lip on the hollow for the bridge of the nose. It is thereby ensured that the mask can adapt well to the different facial structures and that no aerosol escapes during inhalation therapy, most importantly avoiding the area around the eyes. This double sealing lip is unique to the PARI inhalation masks; along with tightness against leaks, it offers an optimal fit for every patient. In order to make inhalation even more effective for the patient, a valve function was additionally implemented in the inhalation mask through the use of 2-component technology.
For material, PP was selected as hard component and TPE as soft component, which both meet the requirements of biocompatibility and are also autoclavable.
The new inhalation masks are available in three variations: “Spiggy” and “Starfish” specifically designed for children and “Soft” for adults. The new inhalation masks have been successfully mass-produced over the past few weeks using full automation, in the Weilheim plant at PARItec, system supplier of medical technology. The pre-moulded part made of PP is moved out of the first station with a handling device and into the second cavity. Afterwards, the handling device removes the pre-moulded parts and sorts the three mask types. In addition, the valve disc is pushed into the inside of the mask by means of a gripper hand and positioned for packaging.
The advantages are obvious: Through the use of multi-component technology, the masks can be produced in one step with improved use characteristics (sealing lip along the periphery, double sealing lip, valve function). It was possible to implement this only by means of the compound TPE in combination with the good adhesive characteristics on PP.
PARI was just recently awarded the recognised “Red Dot” Design Award for creativity, innovation and high quality for these newly configured masks.