TPEs: Versatile Enough to Meet a Wide Range of Tubing RequirementsTeknor Apex has recently expanded its portfolio of Medalist elastomers, now offering suitable alternatives to PVC, silicone, and TPU for medical tubing.
The Medalist product line for tubing includes 13 standard and specialty compounds, ranging from 37 to 83 Shore A and covering a broad spectrum of physical properties. Medalist elastomers are ISO 10993-5 compliant and plasticizer-free, with a low level of extractables. They can be sterilized by e-beam, gamma, ethylene oxide (EtO) and steam (autoclave). These grades are good candidates for single and multi-lumen tubing for catheters, IV, drug delivery, gas supply, and chest drainage.
Medalist tubing compounds meet such functional requirements as kink resistance, clamp resilience, and resistance to "necking" when subjected to longitudinal force, according to Ross Van Royen, senior market manager of regulated products for the Thermoplastic Elastomer Division.
"Medalist elastomers are the first fully practical alternatives to materials long used for medical tubing," said Mr. Van Royen. "They mirror the clarity, haptics, physical properties, kink resistance, and clamp resistance of PVC while exhibiting enhanced gamma stability and flexibility. And unlike silicone, they provide the processing ease and design freedom of thermoplastics, while avoiding concerns about extractables and curing agents posed by rubber. Further, compared with silicone and TPUs in this market space, Medalist compounds offer an economical advantage."
The newest of the Medalist tubing compounds is Medalist MD-16376, an optically clear 76 Shore A compound designed for solvent bonding to connectors. Solvent bonding is one of the major reasons why medical device manufacturers were slow to accept TPEs in tubing applications, noted Mr. Van Royen.
In developing Medalist materials for tubing, Teknor Apex worked with medical industry experts, processors, and equipment suppliers to ensure that downstream processes like hole cutting, tipping, and printing would not be an issue. Teknor Apex can provide suggestions on which processes work best on Medalist materials.