Although medical-grade tubing and hoses look similar to several other industrial hoses and tubes, they can differ in several ways to meet the specific requirements of medical device manufacturers and hospitals. Some tubes need to meet stringent FDA requirements but many applications do not. Choosing the tube or hose for a medical application is not an easy task due to several challenges involved. This post offers 5 easy-to-follow selection tips for medical hoses and tubing.
5 Tips to Choose Medical Grade Tubing and Hoses for Your Application
Many medical applications use medical rubbing tubing or flexible plastic tubing and hoses for gas transfer, fluid transfer, protective covers, and bellows. While these are all “medical” applications, the requirements for the tubing are drastically different. The following pointers will help you make the right decision.
1. Focus on the Materials: The hoses and tubes in this industry are made of different types of rubber and plastic. The following are a few common materials used for the same.
2. Ensure the Hoses and Tubing Meet Regulatory Approvals: The tubing may need to meet different regulatory approvals for use in medical devices. If you are aware of the type of approval such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Class VI, then you need to check if the manufacturer can provide you the supporting documentation. There are off-the-shelf tubing options that may carry these certifications up-front, and custom manufacturers will often have materials that are known to meet certain specs. Again, this is a great example of the importance of working with an experienced and reputable supplier or manufacturer.
3. Learn About Ingredient Incompatibilities: Manufacturing rubber and plastic products is a complex process that involves many different compounds. Various toxic materials found in some blends are known to contaminate fluid or gas. They are also included in lists of prohibited compounds created by governmental groups from across the world such as REACH and RoHS as well as Cal Prop 65. Having proper material certification and traceability is critical to meeting these standards and avoiding costly fines and/or returned product.
4. Temperature Requirements: The tubes or hoses may be used to transfer hot or cold gases or fluids. The frequency and cycle times of temperatures is also very important as it can have drastic effects on durability in some materials. You should also consider the environment where these tubes and hoses may be stored and the duration as both factors can impact the final material decision.
5. Body contact: There are three broad groups of rubber and plastic tubes in the medical industry:
Crushproof Tubing Company has supplied medical tubing products for over 70 years. The company provides these tubing and hoses in custom specifications for applications such as oxygen and mixed gas transfer, anesthesia equipment, air beds, and wheelchairs. Its medical rubber tubing and flexible plastic tubing are also used in lab test equipment, vacuum suction, and dental equipment. They offer low-volume custom runs of tubing to meet our exact needs and it is all made in the USA in an ISO9001-2015 certified factory.