SABIC Innovative Plastics' Tough Ultem* HU1004 Resin Validated as Top Material of Choice for Multiple Sterilization Capabilities vs. PPSU

PITTSFIELD, Mass. - SABIC Innovative Plastics today announced third-party test results that validate the multiple sterilization capabilities of its remarkably tough Ultem* HU1004 polyetherimide (PEI) resin. This high-performance resin-previously utilized for other techniques and now tested for use with the STERRAD® NX® low-temperature hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilization - gives healthcare providers the flexibility to choose any major method for sterilizing trays, electronic medical devices and other applications. The data revealed that Ultem HU1004 resin has significant performance and aesthetic advantages - in particular, ductility and color stability - over competitive materials such as polyphenylsulfone (PPSU) that are used for STERRAD® NX® sterilization. Ultem HU1004 resin's validation underscores SABIC Innovative Plastics' commitment to providing its healthcare customers with the highest quality materials to meet their needs for process simplification and performance.

"SABIC Innovative Plastics healthcare materials undergo rigorous performance testing in the development of new, high-end applications," said Tom O'Brien, marketing director, Healthcare, SABIC Innovative Plastics. "And based on independent lab testing, Ultem HU1004 resin meets critical industry sterilization demands, including higher-temperature autoclaving, ethylene oxide and gamma radiation for enhanced safety, and low-temperature sterilization processes to protect delicate electronic devices. Ultem HU1004 resin is fast becoming a leading choice among global OEMs for an expanding range of applications because it delivers stable performance and excellent aesthetics regardless of the sterilization method used."

Ultem resins have a long and distinguished legacy in the healthcare industry, where they have demonstrated strength, stability, chemical resistance and dependable performance in applications such as surgical devices (tissue stabilizers, skin staplers and laparoscopic device handles), medical equipment including anesthesia machines and orthopedic devices.

Lab Results Show Superior Mechanicals, Aesthetics for Ultem HU1004 Resin

To validate the mechanical properties and degree of color shift for Ultem HU1004 resin after exposure to the STERRAD® NX® method, SABIC Innovative Plastics commissioned SPS Medical, an independent testing lab located in Rush, New York. SPS exposed samples of Ultem resin and PPSU to STERRAD® NX® sterilization in increments of 50 cycles up to 300; these samples were then evaluated by SABIC Innovative Plastics' technical experts.

The findings demonstrate that Ultem HU1004 resin provides superior color stability vs. PPSU. In fact, PPSU showed a color shift up to 10 times greater than Ultem HU1004 resin, becoming significantly yellowed after only 100 STERRAD® NX® cycles. Ultem resin also delivered superior mechanical properties, including retention of mass and impact performance, compared to PPSU.

Following are key findings from the testing:

Weight Loss (after 150 and 300 STERRAD® NX® cycles)

o Ultem HU1004 resin lost less than a total of 0.5 percent of its weight after 150 and 300 STERRAD® NX® cycles

o PPSU had a 2.25 percent weight loss after 150 STERRAD® NX® cycles and a 7.7 percent loss after 300 cycles.

Tensile Properties Retention (after 150 and 300 STERRAD® NX® cycles)

o Ultem HU1004 resin retained >99 percent of its tensile strength at 150 cycles and 98 percent at 300 cycles. For tensile elongation at break, the Ultem resin retained 94 percent of performance at 150 cycles and 77 percent at 300 cycles.

o PPSU retained 96 percent of tensile strength at 150 cycles and 91 percent at 300 cycles. The material became brittle and retained only 12 percent of its elongation at 150 cycles, and 11 percent at 300 cycles.

SABIC Innovative Plastics' tough Ultem HU1004 resin is now an excellent candidate material for healthcare applications requiring high temperature autoclaving, ethylene oxide, gamma radiation and low-temperature hydrogen peroxide gas plasma sterilization processes. Testing, conducted by SABIC Innovative Plastics on autoclave sterilization, showed that even after 2,500 autoclave cycles at 134C, Ultem HU1004 resin retained ductility, stiffness and strength.

Ultem HU1004 resin is part of SABIC Innovative Plastics' extensive and growing portfolio of over 50 healthcare resin grades, which are supported by a comprehensive healthcare product policy.

For additional information on SABIC Innovative Plastics' healthcare solutions, please go to For technical product inquiries, please contact us at

About SABIC Innovative Plastics

SABIC Innovative Plastics is a leading, global supplier of engineering thermoplastics with an 80-year history of breakthrough solutions that solve its customers' most pressing challenges. Today, SABIC Innovative Plastics is a multi-billion-dollar company with operations in more than 35 countries and approximately 9,000 employees worldwide. The company continues to lead the plastics industry with customer collaboration and continued investments in new polymer technologies, global application development, process technologies, and environmentally responsible solutions that serve diverse markets such as automotive, electronics, building & construction, transportation, and healthcare. The company's extensive product portfolio includes thermoplastic resins, coatings, specialty compounds, film, and sheet. SABIC Innovative Plastics ( is a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC).

About Saudi Basic Industries Corporation

Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) ranks among the world's top petrochemical companies, and is a global market leader in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene, advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilizers. SABIC manufactures with a global footprint in Saudi Arabia, the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. The company operates in more than 40 countries across the world with 33,000 employees worldwide. It has significant research resources with 18 dedicated Technology & Innovation facilities in Saudi Arabia, the USA, the Netherlands, Spain, India and China. SABIC recorded a net income of SR 21.59 billion (US$ 5.73 billion) in 2010, and sales revenues totaled SR 152 billion (US$ 40.5 billion).

SABIC Innovative Plastics Media Contacts


Jodi Kennedy

SABIC Innovative Plastics

Pittsfield, Mass., U.S.A.

Tel: +1 413 448 7383



Larry Feng

SABIC Innovative Plastics, S&P Asia Pacific

Shanghai, China

Tel: +86 21 6288 1088


Agency Media Contacts

The Americas

Jim Allison

AH&M Marketing Communications

Pittsfield, Mass., U.S.A.

Tel: +1 413 448 2260, x250



Eduardo Lagoa

Edelman Brazil, Sao Paulo, Brazil

Tel: +55 11 3017 5300, x295



Kevin Noels

Marketing Solutions, Bergen op Zoom

The Netherlands

Tel: +31 164 317 011



Vivien Gong

Edelman, Shanghai, China

Tel: +86 21 6193 7524



Mitsu Sugino

Tokyo PR Inc., Tokyo, Japan

Tel: +81 3 3273 2731


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