Medica / Compamed 2023 in Düsseldorf, Germany took place from November 13 to 16, marking its status as one of Europe’s largest medical exhibitions. The event is divided into two segments: Medica for completed devices and Compamed for components. Apple Rubber participated in Compamed, showcasing our seals and gaskets designed for the medical industry.
Exhibitor attendance seems to have rebounded from pre-COVID levels, featuring a diverse range of products and components from companies around the world. Visitor attendance was notable, particularly among those seeking sealing solutions. However, there was a decline in casual visitors looking for general information. This led to a lower overall lead count, but the quality of leads was higher.
One noteworthy encounter involved a long-time visitor—a grandfather and his grandson—who shared their connection with Apple Rubber dating back to 2003. The grandson still held onto a marketing apple from that initial year, emphasizing the enduring relationships formed with our customers and vendors.
A significant portion of inquiries at the event focused on reducing friction on o-rings. This challenge can be addressed through various methods. Unlike metal, rubber friction is influenced by normal force, with deformation into microstructures contributing to elevated friction levels. For dynamic groove designs, maintaining a compression of 10% to 30% on the o-ring, compared to static seal design, is recommended. Material selection plays a crucial role, with silicone and EP rubber exhibiting higher friction, while FKM typically offers lower friction. Higher durometers can reduce friction but may not be suitable for low-pressure sealing.
Medical equipment designers exhibit reluctance towards using coatings, though Parylene and Topcoats can effectively reduce friction while preserving biocompatibility. Concerns are raised about PTFE spray coatings due to potential flaking in medical applications, despite their widespread use in automotive assembly. Care must be taken when using oil or grease, ensuring compatibility with the seal material to prevent swelling and potential leak paths or increased friction.
Apple Rubber opts not to utilize distributors and ships directly to most countries. Shipping costs, given the relatively small size of products, are considered reasonable compared to part costs. The company caters to customers seeking standard size o-rings (ISO 3601 or AS568) and offers a range of non-standard and metric sizes in various durometers and materials. In cases where a particular item is not in stock, tools and manufacturing parts can be promptly produced at the Lancaster, NY plant.
Next year’s Medica / Compamed is scheduled for November 11th through the 14th, promising another opportunity for engagement and exploration. We’re looking forward to participating in another impactful event in Germany and the surrounding areas.