Rubber tubing is used to facilitate the flow of gases and liquids in various process systems and equipment. While there are multiple types of rubber tubing, the inherent properties of silicone make it ideal for creating flexible and durable rubber tubing used in applications ranging from beverage processing to medical equipment. The material is tasteless and odor-free, and its inert qualities drastically decrease the risk of contamination and degradation over time.
The Basic Characteristics of Silicone Rubber
Some of the properties of silicone rubber include:
- Broad Temperature Range. Silicone tubing retains its elastic properties in temperatures as low as -130℉ and will not degrade in temperatures as high as 600℉.
- Wide Range Of Hardnesses Available. Silicone tubing is available in durometers as low as 20 Shore A and as high as 90 Shore A.
- Color Rainbow. Silicone tubing is available in a broad range of colors and can even be color matched.
- Durability. Silicone rubber is physiologically inert, which makes it durable over long periods of heavy use. It is very resilient and resistant to compression. It will not fatigue under multiple compression cycles, making it ideal for peristaltic applications.
- Resistant to Ultraviolet Radiation, Autoclaving, And Fungus Growth
- Manufacturability. Silicone rubber tubing can be made in a variety of sizes to suit a broad range of purposes. It can also be formulated for safe use with medical, pharmaceutical, and food products.
- Breakdown. While silicone rubber is highly versatile, it shouldn’t be used to transport concentrated oils or fuels, as these materials will break down the molecular structure of the material and cause it to dissolve over time. For these applications, fluorosilicone can be used.
For a general primer on silicone tubing properties and types, click here.
Common Applications of Silicone Tubing
Due to silicone rubber’s inert nature and odorless properties, the material is an excellent choice for use in systems that handle consumable goods. Some of the most common applications for silicone-based tubing include:
- Pharmaceutical manufacturing
- Food and beverage processing
- Medical equipment and devices
- General purpose industrial applications
- Peristaltic pump tubing
Silicone tubing is ideal for a wide variety of fluid transfer methods, including many chemicals, water, a variety of gases, and consumable fluids. Food-grade varieties comply with food contact standards set by the FDA under 21CFR177.2600 and by NSF under NSF-51.
Examples of Unique Silicone Tubing Applications
Beyond its use as general purpose tubing, silicone tubing is the preferred choice for multiple specialized applications. Some of these include:
- Coolant systems in automobiles
- Customized color tubing
- Siphon hoses for home brewers and microbreweries
- Milking machines in the dairy industry
- Durable tubing for aquarium air devices
Silicone Tubing in the Medical Sector
The medical sector needs materials that it can rely on to not cause contamination, degrade over time, or react with materials to create toxic or unpredictable results. For these applications, either food grade or USP-VI grade materials are often used. Silicone rubber is inert, which means it won’t react to water, most chemicals, oily and non-oily substances, and fittings that might otherwise cause oxidation. Silicone rubber helps pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and medical facilities create products and perform tasks with a significantly reduced risk of process failure or contamination. Silicone tubing also resists physical damage, ensuring long-lasting performance.
Other advantages of silicone tubing in the medical sector include:
- Sterilization. Silicone tubing is easy to clean and sterilize.
- Biocompatibility. The material does not commonly trigger allergies or adverse reactions, so it can be used for processes that contact living tissue, including respirators and other medical devices. It’s also regularly used in drains, feeding tubes and equipment, catheters, and implants.
- Strength. Medical-grade silicone rubber is specially fabricated, and each silicone tube undergoes extrusion and vulcanization processes that imbue it with optimal characteristics and strength.
- Versatility. Silicone tubing is easy to work with, and manufacturers can create very fine tubing with thin walls and small diameters. Silicone tubing can even be used inside capillaries.
Capabilities and Ranges for Rubber and Silicone Tubing
Vanguard designs all products to a range of industry requirements. Our production capabilities include:
- Single, coextrusion, and triextrusion capabilities
- Multi-lumen extrusion at varying hardnesses
- Multiple material/color extrusion
- Insert extrusion
- Diameters of 0.010–3+ inches
- Custom formulation for assets such as:
- Mechanical properties
- Chemical resistance
- Temperature resistance
- Thermal conductivity
- Electrical conductivity
- Color matching
- Thicknesses of 0.010 inches or more
- O-Ring fabrication
- Special put-ups
- Special packaging
- PSA application
Choose Vanguard Products for High-Quality Silicone Tubing
Vanguard focuses on supplying the best tubing material to meet your needs. We manufacture rubber tubing that provides optimal performance in an extensive range of applications, industries, and environments. Vanguard is proud to be a supplier of critically needed silicone tubing in General Motors’/Ventec Life Systems’ urgent production response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you need high-quality rubber tubing, turn to the experts at Vanguard Products. We offer standard and custom rubber tubing suitable for use in a diverse set of industries, including food and beverage and medical. To learn more about our tubing products and services, visit our About Us page. For pricing details, contact us today.
VANGUARD PRODUCTS RECOGNIZED BY GM-VENTEC FOR SUPPLY OF SILICONE TUBING TO CRITICAL CARE VENTILATORS FOR COVID-19
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