Why the medical industry is using silicone components

Why the medical industry is using silicone components

Medical-grade silicone rubber is an important manufacturing material for a wide range of medical industry equipment. It plays an essential role in the delivery of high-quality products, greater safety and reliability, and strong brand reputations.

The regulations to which medical industry manufacturers must adhere are growing in number and becoming ever stricter. Covid-19 is only intensifying this pressure. At the same time, quality expectations are rising and competition is getting ever fiercer.

High-performance silicone rubber is playing a key role in allowing medical manufacturers to meet these demands and to stay ahead of rivals. The properties of this material are making it critical to the manufacture and performance of vital medical equipment.

Why silicone rubber is used in the medical industry

High quality silicone materials can be compounded to meet various specifications, this makes it an ideal material for a wide range of medical industry applications. Medical equipment manufacturers can select specific characteristics for their seals to meet their applications requirements. For instance, silicone materials can be compounded for superior strength, durability, and resistance to conditions such as extreme high or low temperatures.

Enhancing the resistance of silicone to temperatures as low as -90°C is a key benefit due to the need for medicines to be cooled and held at these low temperatures. High temperatures are also necessary and can be as high as 300°C and allow for sterilisation of equipment.

In addition, silicone can be developed to produce strong anti-friction properties making it last longer in applications that move against the seal. These properties also reduce the seal’s attraction of dust and dirt and make it easy to clean and sterilise.

Silicone material with low-smoke and low-toxicity is ideal for medical fire doors, hatches and other sealed openings. The material ensures that in the case of a fire, the seal will perform to strict specification requirements.

These diverse properties mean silicone is suited to a variety of medical environments, with its performance comparing favorably to other materials. For example, silicone offers greater heat and UV light resistance compared to a thermoplastic elastomer, while it is more inert than PVC and, because it doesn’t contain additives, there is minimal risk of leaching.

In addition, silicone has excellent electrical insulation properties compared to latex, and offers greater reassurance that allergic reactions are reduced in medical equipment users and patients.

The medical applications of high-quality silicone rubber

The range of applications in which silicone material is used is evidence of its ability to meet the demands of the medical industry, from vast temperature ranges, UV light and fire resistance and its suitability with regard to sterilisation, biocompatibility and cleanliness.

For example, silicone rubber is widely used in the manufacture of autoclave seals, with its enhanced resistance to heat and UV light making it better suited to this application than other materials.

Silicone is also used in the manufacture of seals for centrifuges and of anesthesiology and respiratory equipment, catheters, peristaltic pumps, IVs and laboratory equipment, as well as in a range of medical tubing applications.

Quality compliance and the role of your silicone parts supplier

Innovation is a key feature of medical industry manufacturing and the pace of this invention is notably swift, never more so than now, in the Covid-19 era. The demands made of product technology, by governments, healthcare providers and patients, continue to grow.

As manufacturers work to meet these demands, it is clear that high-performance silicone, and the right silicone component manufacturing partner, have an important role to play in achieving them.

It is vital that you work with a partner that ensures your silicone components are made to the highest standard from the silicone material best suited to your application and meet the requirements of major regulatory bodies, and that you have the level of intellectual property protection that fully safeguards your technology.

To find out more about Advanced Materials’ silicone rubber manufacturing services, contact us on +44 (0)1903 713566 or sales@amsilicones.co.uk.