Posts Tagged ‘medical tubing’

The Trends in Medical Extrusion Tubing Keep Growing

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Despite the economy, and the recent surge of job layoffs, there is one fact that remains—people still need quality medical care, and as such there continues to be a growing demand for high-quality medical extrusion tubing amongst those in the medical profession.

As a matter of fact, the average annual growth rate of extrusion tubing worldwide is calculated at 8%, and this is for good cause.

First, rapid advancements in medical device technology necessitate that custom medical extrusion tubing be an essential component for use in both invasive surgical procedures and after-care treatment. The small diameter extruded medical tubes are used in applications from transferring fluids to a patient during a transfusion or intravenous, or the medical extrusion tubing is used for an intubation or during anesthesia, to name a few.

Second, because small diameter extruded medical tubes are manufactured following industry regulations, customers are provided with a pre-sterilized, disposable, medical extrusion tubing product; giving the added assurance that the medical extrusion tube will assist in minimizing the spread of infectious disease during surgery or any other application.

While the reasons for using medical extrusion tubing are vast, there is one driving factor that has affected growth. It’s due to the competency of custom tubing manufacturing companies to meet the demands of the medical industry to make improvements to the extruded medical tubes manufacturing process, such as tighter tolerances or co-extruded new thermoplastic combinations. Employing new precision manufacturing techniques ensures that the medical tubing products are designed and developed to meet the stringent demands of their customers. And due to the growth in demand of medical extrusion tubing, the incentive is built in to respond immediately.

Double Lumen Tubing: Customized to Fit All Patients

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

The medical professions claims on the proper use of double lumen medical tubing, also referred to as DLT, during cardiothoracic or vascular thoracic surgery would involve a high degree of medical competency in order to reiterate their medical position on the critical use of double lumen tubing.
But one does not require a medical degree to explain or understand that double lumen tubing helps surgeons save lives in the operating room. It’s actually that simple—the reason, not the surgery, as to why double lumen tubing has enabled successful results for this application purposes.

To explain in it’s most basic terms: double lumen tubing consists of two lumens: one bronchial and one tracheal. The double lumen tube provides for ventilation of the lungs during an operation. The intubation process of the double lumen tubing occurs while the patient is anesthetized. The doctor first inserts the tracheal lumen tube into the patient’s trachea before the bronchial lumen tube is connected to allow for ventilation.
Now, here’s the important part.

Before starting the insertion process of the double lumen tubing, doctors need to first determine the diameter of a patient’s bronchus. This is done in order to select the appropriate size double lumen tubing that can easily be inserted and withdrawn into the bronchus without causing the patient harm.

But depending on the manufacturer, the availability of the appropriate size double lumen tube may not be available. However, there is a custom tubing manufacturer who can service the diverse needs of the medical industry. A.P. Extrusion can offer services in the design and manufacturing of small diameter medical lumen tubing to accommodate a wide range of bronchus’ diameters.

Got Air? Then you must have a custom medical tube.

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Custom Medical Tubing may not be the first thing people think about when it comes to the transfer of air, oxygen air and fluids—but if you work in the medical device industry, it’s likely on the top on your list.

And the reasons are clear—to help keep patients alive and well.
Manufacturing custom medical tubing must be executed following the strictest ISO compliant processes. Custom tubing manufacturers, who develop medical tubes which are generally used in diagnostic and interventional medical products, are required to perform its production in a Class 100,000 clean room. This ensures that the conditions under which the custom medical tube is made is adhering to those standards to result in a disposable end-product that is of the highest quality.

However, regardless of the material from which the custom medical tubing is made, these small diameter custom medical tubes can be extruded into a variety of shapes—circular, square, and oval. And while they can be more costly than other more conventional medical tubes, the expense is justifiable. After all, manufacturing custom medical tubing can be complex and need to be manufactured using the tightest tolerances specified to best suit the application.

In mission-critical procedures, the custom medical tube may be used as a nasal oxygen tube used on a post-operative patient. Medical tubes may also be involved in transferring fluids during transfusions or dialysis.

Research shows that PVC may be the leading polymer used for custom medical tubing, but most custom medical tubing manufacturing facilities can produce the custom medical tubes in a variety of thermoplastics.

Riddled with Medical Tubing Supplier Questions?

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

If a person is only as good as their word; then it would stand to reason that a medical tubing supplier is only as good as their…tubes, right?

Medical tubing suppliers around the country offer their customers a wide range of services in manufacturing custom tubing. However, what makes one medical tubing supplier stand out for the competition? After all, not all Medical Tubing Suppliers are created equal.

It’s not a trick question, but a real one that design engineers should consider when they are shopping around for the best medical tubing supplier to meet their custom tubing needs.

One such defining competency is a medical tubing suppliers expertise in a particular configuration of tubing, for instance, do they specialize in small diameter custom tubing?

Why this is important may not be immediately evident, but if you consider that while technology keeps advancing, the components installed in the equipment are designed to more exacting specifications—i.e., precision small diameter tubing.

OK-what does that translate into for the design engineers and the medical tubing suppliers?
Well, take thin wall tubing for example used in a sensitive piece of medical equipment—chances are its tolerances need to be tighter but it still needs to retain its mechanical characteristics of being flexible, durable, etc.; but the thermoplastic initially selected may be challenged in being extruded for this new small diameter custom tubing’s specifications.

But who would have the expertise to make that discernment for their customers? One would venture a guess and state that it would take the design and manufacturing insight of an experienced medical tubing supplier who specializes in small diameter tubing.
Wouldn’t it?

Plastic Tubing … A Clear Choice

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Flexible. Tough. Resistant.  Environmentally-Friendly. And recognized by nearly every industry in the world, clear plastic tubing has been a product of choice by worldwide manufacturing companies to small businesses to pet owners.
So what makes a seemingly simple product like clear plastic tubing so desirable to such a diverse audience?

-  First, whatever the industry or the application, the choice to use clear plastic tubing to perform various functions—from flow lines to transport liquids to using it for air supply on 200-gallon fish tank—PVC clear tubing (how it’s also known) consistently delivers reliable performance time and again.

-Second, clear plastic tubing is available in a wide range of sizes, thicknesses, and lengths that makes it easier to adapt to the need.

-Third, the properties of clear plastic tube make it more durable than most alloys for certain applications, and as a result clear plastic tubes can also be more cost-effective, as well as a “green” choice.  By using such a long-lasting product like clear (transparent) plastic tubing, companies are essentially decreasing their expenses as a result of not needing to replace the polyethylene (plastic) clear tubing as frequently on their equipment due to its strength and resistance to wear and tear. And also, it reduces their yearly waste disposal that essentially eases the negative effects on landfills and the environment.

After all, in today’s new business economy, what company isn’t trying to reduce expenses and their carbon footprint?

And to think, it’s all possible because of clear plastic tubing.

Making the Grade…

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

If time is of the essence and nothing can be left to chance,
medical grade pvc tubing must perform at its optimal level to satisfy those who rely on its resiliency.

Although it is easily manufactured, medical grade PVC tubing must have certain performance characteristics to be used in medical applications, such as for oxygen transfer, surgical drains, and peristaltic pumps to name a few. Those critical properties encompass, but are not limited to the following, for grade PVC tubing:

  • Medical grade must be manufactured using non-toxic, lead-free materials that conform to FDA standards
  • Medical grade PVC must be manufactured in a Class 100,000 clean room with strict adherence to GMPs.
  • Surface properties, physical and mechanical properties, biostability, etc, must be evaluated to ensure medical grade PVC tubing its suitable for critical applications, such as for catheters
  • The medical grade PVC tubing should maintain low temperature characteristics that make it suitable for certain applications that require it, such as blood collection.
  • Medical grade PVC tubes must be resistant to corrosion and other chemicals.

Of course, depending on the specific application, other characteristics of the medical grade PVC tubes are taken in account, such as whether it will be used on a high-risk patient. In this case, the medical grade PVC tube must be made in a non-DEHP plastic. If the medical grade tubing is used for transfusions, chemotherapy, or for feeding tubes then it is critical that its fluid pathway kink-resistant to reduce air bubbles and clotting.
Providing the medical grade PVC tubing continues to “pass the test”, medical professionals will be able to depend upon it for maintaining patient care.

Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs) are good for business

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Regulating agencies such as the FDA, USDA, or NSF institutes compliance procedures during the production of any product that will have human contact or be ingested—and that includes polyurethane tubing, which is used both in industrial applications, as well as in medical devices to name only a few.

The ability for the polyurethane tubing to perform in compliance with these agencies is critical.  And depending upon the application use of polyurethane tubes, it will determine under which regulating agency the manufacturer must comply.

Regulatory compliance encompasses the following agencies in relation to manufacturing polyurethane tubing:

  • FDA – requires that the polyurethane tube be manufactured in compliance with GMPs that ensure it’s free of impurities and safe for human or animal use; which essentially means that they want to ensure that potentially volatile chemicals do not migrate from the polyurethane rod to the drug or medicine.
  • USDA regulates – requires that polyurethane tubing be manufactured to assure food safety, protect natural resources, etc.  Similar to the FDA, it wants to ensure that the polyurethane tube does not contaminate the food or liquids that pass through it, but also that it be perform reliably to protect environmental surroundings and the public against exposure to potentially hazardous chemicals.
  • NSF regulates – (similar to the UL) it requires that any application for which clear polyurethane tubing is used is safe for food, water, and consumer goods.  In addition to customer protection, it also provides businesses with risk management solutions during the production of polyurethane tubing.

No one likes governmental intrusion, but when it ensures the safety of the public, in particular in the manufacturing of polyurethane tubing, then its regulations are quite justifiable.

How “clean” is a Class 10,000 Clean Room?

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

People may not realize how important it is for a custom manufacturer of medical tubing to manufacture the medical grade tubes in a class 10,000 Clean Room, unless you work in the medical industry.

But the fact that medical grade tubing undergoes its production process in a clean room ensures that the patient will only be treated with high quality, sterile equipment.

So what exactly is a “Class 10,000 Clean Room and why is it important in the manufacturing of medical grade tubing?

For starters, by definition, its rating is derived from an evaluation of there being “no more than 10,000 particles larger than 0.5 microns in any given cubic foot of air.”

If that sounds confusing, think of it like this—the manufacturing environment to produce medical grade tubes is an area where the air quality, temperature, and humidity are highly regulated in order to protect sensitive equipment from contamination.  This is accomplished by sophisticated air filtering systems that removes dust particles and other impurities that may negatively impact the quality of the medical grade tubing.

And not only is the room’s environment conditions perfectly balanced to ensure the successful production of the medical grade tube, those who work in the clean room are also held to clean room standards.

During the manufacturing process, the environment and the medical grade tubing is protected against human contamination such as lint particles from clothing, and skin and hair particles that could jeopardize the quality of the medical grade tubes. As such, all personnel must wear special protective clothing.

While the process to manufacture medical grade tubes may sound overly-cautious, it’s because of this level of strict adherence to GMPs (good manufacturing practices) that manufacturing medical grade tubing can deliver such safe reliability to the medical industry.

The smaller [the medical catheter tubing] the better …

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

In the case of medical catheter tubing, size does matter. And it is during medical procedures that utilize catheter tubes that medical catheter tubing be manufactured to the smallest diameter possible.

The manufacturing of catheter tubes is a sensitive procedure as optimizing its performance is ever so critical. The purposes for which medical catheter tubes are utilized are essentially a matter of life and (hopefully not) death.
Medical catheter tubes are designed so that it allows for some of the following performance criteria:

Ease of Use – Catheter tubing has to withstand the pressure of it being inserted into a patient and withdrawn without difficulty.

Kink Resistance – Often times because of the required length of medical catheter tubes, it’s imperative that it maintain its rigidity and flexibility so that a catheter tube can be manipulated in complex procedures.

Pressure resistance – Much along the ideas noted above, because medical catheter tubes are small in diameter, it also must maintain its properties to continue performing reliably under any conditions to which the catheter tube is exposed.

Most importantly, it’s exact position adjustability of medical catheter tubing that medical professionals rely upon. Catheter tubes need to be designed to allow for accuracy during the insertion process, whether it’s being inserted into a blood vessel, cavity, or any part of the body. It must allow for a smooth and uncompromised flow of fluids, such as an IV, or permit for the easy removal of a blood clot.

Despite the small diameter of medical catheter tubing it functions as one of the most resilient tubes manufactured by custom tubing manufacturers.

Why Collaboration Works in Manufacturing Medical Tubing

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

With such rapid advances in the medical industry, medical tubing manufacturers recognize the unique opportunity to partner with their customers to develop new medical tubing products.
It may not be the first time in history that innovation has necessitated this type of collaboration between a manufacturer and a designer. But when it comes to delivering superior healthcare, the partnership between a medical tubing company and its customers is paramount to success as the complexity of medical procedures keeps changing.

As stated, the impetus for a medical tubing manufacturing company to get involved with design engineers at the development level arises out advancements made in the medical profession. This requires the continual development of more sophisticated, high performing medical devices, surgical instruments, and other specialty medical equipment; which in turn requires more complex medical tubes that are used for the particular application.

Thus the role of the medical tubing manufacturer becomes two-fold: To manufacture the customers’ medical tubing product; and to also ensure that the medical tube can be manufactured to its specifications and still perform reliably.

Often times design engineers have very creative and complex design ideas for medical tubes that can push the limitations of the properties of the thermoplastic being used. In other words, the medical tubing manufacturer has to insert themselves at the early stages of development to guide the customer to select the right material, configuration, tolerance, etc. so that the medical tube functions in accordance with its requirements.

And when and if the original custom tubing product fails, the medical tubing supplier will recommend ways to improve the design until it works properly. It’s an ongoing cycle of innovation.