Plastic Machining for the Medical Industry

Medical plastic part designers and manufacturers seek the expertise at PMI when they are working with high-performance engineering thermoplastics that must survive autoclaving and other sterilization methods.

Plastic part materials can be sterilized hundreds of times without degradation.  Plastics are becoming more prevalent on a daily basis in major surgeries as well as routine medical procedures in the form replacement joints, various supports, therapy, and diagnostic equipment.

To learn more about plastic machining in the Medical Industry or for an affordable quote, please e-mail us, call us at 888-761-4262, or use our contact form.

Preferred Plastics for the Medical Industry

The following plastics are frequently used in the Medical Industry:

  • Radel® R
  • Radel®
  • Udel®
  • Propylux®
  • Ultem®
  • Noryl®
For help selecting the optimal material for your application, contact the PMI technical support team.  We understand the unique advantages and limitations of each plastic material, and can help you make the best choice for cost, function, and durability.

Radel® R

Radel® R is an extruded form of polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) that offers higher impact resistance and has superior hydrolysis resistance than other amorphous materials, including both polysulfone and polyetherimide (PEI).  It retains much of the thermal resistance, stability, and machinability of PEI.  These properties make it ideal for medical applications requiring autoclaving.


PES (polyethersulfone) is a high temperature amorphous thermoplastic offering a superior combination of better chemical resistance and higher dry heat capability than polysulfone (Udel®) or polyetherimide (Ultem®).  Polyethersulfone may also be referred to as polyarylsulfone.

Radel® A provides a greater margin of performance in such areas as toughness in comparison with other plastics.  It has a high heat deflection temperature of 400°F (204°C), good hydrolytic stability, and chemical resistance to many commonly used acids and bases.


Polysulfone (brand name: Udel®) offers high chemical resistance to acidic and salt solutions, and good resistance to detergents, hot water, and steam.  In addition, polysulfone has excellent radiation stability, and offers low ionic impurity levels.  Polysulfone often replaces polycarbonate when higher temperatures, improved chemical resistance or autoclavability is required.  It is commonly used for analytical instrumentation and medical devices.  Polysulfone was the primary component of the Apollo astronauts’ gold visor on their trips to the moon.


Medical grade Propylux® HS is made from an FDA approved polypropylene resin.  Through a unique heat-stabilizing process, the extruded material is able to withstand higher temperatures with less water absorption than standard polypropylene.  Recommended sterilization techniques for Propylux® HS include steam autoclaving and cold sterilization.


Ultem® offers excellent physical properties with its ability to withstand a multitude of sterilization methods.  It is often the material of choice in reusable medical device applications.  Ultem 1000 is compliant to FDA and USP Class VI requirements.

Learn More About Ultem


PEEK-LSG (Life Science Grade) is a new product line that delivers a high degree of dimensional stability over a wide temperature range in wet and dry environments.  It helps maintain precision tolerances that are especially important in surgical, exploratory, and analytical devices. Typical applications for these new materials include machined components for surgical and dental instruments, analytical and monitoring components equipment, x-ray apparatus, anesthetic and therapy components, and diagnostic devices.

Learn More About PEEK

Tecanyl® MT

Exclusively marketed by Ensinger, Tecanyl® MT is destined for the repeated exposure of up to 1000 autoclaving cycles at 134 degrees C, without considerable loss of mechanical properties.  The material is excellently suitable for medical device applications (e.g., reusable surgical instruments).  It has good strength, high impact strength, and is easily machined.