Reasons Why Medical Device Manufacturers Should Choose PTFE Tubing

April 18, 2019 by  
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Medical device tubes

One constant in the highly competitive medical device manufacturing industry is the quest to produce improved devices with better and better performance ratios. This challenge has created several sub-challenges, one of which was to figure out how to join metal and plastic and have them work in unison. One small way they have achieved their goals in this regard is to mainstream the use of standard wall PTFE tubing in medical devices where tubing is needed. There are many reasons for this.

The Industry Environment

The medical device industry is one of the most competitive in existence. As an industry, there are many manufacturers competing for the same customers, and that means gaining a slight competitive edge can be the difference between cornering the market and showing up a little late.

In addition, there are strict regulations that are part of the governing regimen of the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Manufacturers also have to be concerned with the invasiveness of their equipment and their ability to provide their intended service in an environment where a malfunction can literally kill a patient. Their devices have to work, and work correctly every time, which means superior quality is a principal goal.

What PTFE Is

Industrial wall PTFE tubing helps meet all that criterion. PTFE, a fluoropolymer, has been used for decades and is a chemical product that has a high number of fluorocarbons. The closest everyday substance that it resembles is Teflon.

Non-Stick

As with Teflon, the non-stick qualities of wall PTFE tubing make it ideal for a medical device. Non-stick surfaces make the transfer of fluids almost seamless and helps avoid clogging, ensuring a medical device remains functional, even during high use. The same concept that lets you cook on a non-stick pan surface without having food left behind is the same principle that makes PTFE tubing ideal.

Oxygen tubes

No Chemical Reactions

Another benefit is that it is inert with most chemicals. This means there are no adverse reactions that could harm the device or the patient or interfere with the performance of the machine. Not having to take that into account speeds up the manufacturing process and reduces the chances that a piece of equipment will become an issue when treating a patient.

Low Friction

Even thin wall PTFE tubing possesses the lowest friction ratio of any polymer, which means it can be used in high-stress situations with no degradation in quality. In fact, light wall PTFE tubing can function in high-use temperature ranges approaching and exceeding 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

Miscellaneous Benefits

All PTFE tubing possesses excellent electrical properties. It is also highly resistant to UV radiation and can withstand constant use while displaying very little weathering. As an aside, these two realities are also why PTFE tubing is a choice of electrical wiring and automobile manufacturers.

In the quest to create better medical devices, engineers are always on the lookout for even the smallest gains. A simple benefit can yield great dividends as it pertains to getting a product to market and making it the industry choice. If you are looking for materials to create superior medical devices, check out Tef-Cap.

PTFE Heat Shrinkage Tubing: Where It Began

April 10, 2019 by  
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Colorful Heat Shrink Tubes

Heat shrinkage tubing is the process of decreasing the size of plastic tubes that are used to insulate cables and wires. This will allow you to better insulate the wires or provide resistance to potential abrasion. While you may be interested in using heat shrinking tubing for your wire or cable insulation, you may also wonder how this process came about and how it works. Here is some more information on the history and process of heat shrinkable PTFE tubing.

Invention of Heat Shrink

The process of heat shrink tubing was pioneered in the 1950s by the Raychem Corporation and its founder, Paul Cook. A chemical engineer, Cook founded his company with a focus on radiation chemistry, which is how the name of the company came about. Cook invented two products that would be the primary focus of his company: lightweight aircraft cables and heat-shrinkable tubing. While the Raychem Corporation was the pioneer of this process, it has since become widely used by a variety of companies within the industry.

Uses of Heat Shrinkable Tubes

Heat shrinkable tubes are typically used for two purposes: protection, and the cosmetic changes of cables and wires. This process can protect cables and wires by sealing water or dust out and away from the cables, protecting the cable or wiring from extreme heat, and providing a barrier between cable or wires and any chemicals that could corrode them. From a cosmetic point of view, you can create a color code for identification purposes, gather wires together, or improve the appearance of the wires.

Making Heat Shrinking Tubes

There are a variety of thermoplastics that heat shrinking tubes can be made out of including polyolefin, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), and fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP). If conductivity is an issue, a conductive polymer thick film can also be used to connect multiple conductive objects through tubing without the need to solder them. If the need arises, you may be able to add an adhesive lining that will make the tubing waterproof.

Why the Tubing is Shrinkable

Plastic tubing itself will not shrink when exposed to heat, so a process called cross-linking was created to complete the process. Cross-linking occurs when the plastic is exposed to a certain amount of radiation. After World War II, it was discovered that exposing plastics to radiation would allow you to intentionally alter the molecular structure without them melting. A process called covalent bonding between the atoms of the polymer allowed it to experience plastic memory. This means that when the plastic is cross-linked and expanded in shape, it will instinctively return to its original size when exposed to a specific amount of heat.

Using Purple Heat Shrink Tube

How Much Shrinkage?

You may want to heat shrink your tubing, but only a certain amount. So how do you know how much it will shrink? All heat shrinking tubing is provided with a shrink ratio that will tell you how much it can potentially shrink. The ratio is decided based on how small it will become compared to its original size. For example, if your heat shrink ratio is 5:1, the tubing is capable of shrinking up to one-fifth of its expanded size.

Heat shrink tubing allows you the ability to protect your cables and wires or make cosmetic changes. Once the primary product of an innovative company, heat shrinkable PTFE tubing has become an industry standard.

PTFE Tubing and Hoses Manufactured for Aerospace and Aviation

December 27, 2018 by  
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Installation of PTFE tube has become an indispensable activity for every organization to conduct operating activities smoothly and protect the web of wires from any kind of accident. Often, known as polytetrafluoroethylene, in the beginning the PTFE was used only in specific industries. However it was back in 1950, because going through its versatility, soon became an integral part of almost every industry especially in aerospace where it is used in filling fuel in aircraft, tubing hoses , hydraulic hose, protecting doors and making easy assembling of aluminum and other metals followed by complete protection from any kind of damage.
Interestingly, the use of the Teflon PTFE tubing in aircraft is not stagnated only upto the above mentioned activities but, is also used in various applications for instance in edges of wings mounted on the aircraft. The low coefficient of friction feature found in it, which makes the aluminum rod installed in wings flap and slat smoothly while landing. Moving ahead, the Teflon PTFE starts acting as sheet of protection at the time when an aircraft lands. In absence of this fluoropolymer plastic, it is possible that aluminum rod might break during landing when it is starts coordinately with other wings.
Teflon Tubing for Areospace applications
The Teflon PTFE tubing system is not only used in aerospace industry but as mentioned above it is also used in various other industries in different form depending upon their requirement. In this regard it would be important to talk about PTFE spiral cut tubing for aircraft which plays an important role to cover the wires and cables and also used in other industries because of features like heat resistance, protection from abrasion and insulation. In spiral format, the PTFE tubes becomes expandable moving in upward and downward direction protecting the bunch of wires from abrasion which might take place due to heat.
The flexibility of Convoluted PTFE Tubing makes the smooth movement of wires bounded in bunch in any direction at an ease without any damage. The integration of features like chemical resistant, heat resistant and moisture resistant makes them a perfect option for various industries.

Improvisation at Its Finest: The All-Purpose Heat Shrink Tubing!

May 16, 2018 by  
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We all know how heat shrink tubing can do wonders for any system where cables or wires need to be protected. Whether you need something to insulate bare wires, cover wire splices, color code wires or bundle together some badly sprayed out network cables – heat shrink tubing can be used for anything and everything.

But what if you’re not an electrician or a network installer, then what?

Is the use of heat shrink tubing only restricted to wire and cable related applications, or can you do much more with it?

To find the answer to this question, we reached out our ingenious Tef-Cap team and our simply amazing Tef-Cap customers. The uses they suggested left us in complete awe.

So we decided to share some of these heat shrink uses with our readers too—the homeowners, the handymen, the hobbyists, and everyone in between.

It’s improvisation at its finest!

Heat Shrink as Pencil Grips

 

One of our customers, who just so happens to teach occupationally impaired children, told us that he uses heat shrink tubing as a pencil grip. Because the children he teaches have difficulty with motor skills, they write with pencils that are larger in size than your average pencils. Hence, these pencils can’t be fit with standard grips. By cutting down heat shrinks in shorter lengths, he can slip them around the pencils and heat-shrink them into place. This makes it easier for his students to hold the pencils.

Heat Shrink for Curling Iron Repair

This use was suggested to us by one of our staff members who is very particular and conscious about the hair style she wears. She told us that recently the plastic grip on her curling iron came off. She tried to put it back, but couldn’t. Of course, she could not use the curling iron with a bare handle as it was quite risky, so she came with a genius idea. She used the heat shrink tubing to cover her curling iron’s handle, and the fix worked.

Heat Shrink for Glass Repair

Have you ever found yourself in a situation, where one arm of eyeglasses snapped and you just didn’t know what to do to repair the pair? Well, we could not help you at that time (sorry for that), but now we can. We’ve got a fix for you. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation again, simply get a heat shrink from your local store, slip it over the broken ends of your eyewear and eyewear arm, and shrink it to size. It may not serve as a permanent fix, but it buys you enough time. And yes, it would also save you from short-term blindness.

Heat Shrink as Furniture End Caps

That outdoor furniture in your patio, it has constantly being leaving rust rings on your patio floor for the last year or so. And you’re absolutely tired of cleaning these left behind marks again and again. Well, you can save yourself from the inconvenience by installing heat shrink tubing onto the feet of your furniture. Those rust rings aren’t coming back—trust us!

Do you have any unconventional use of heat shrink in your mind that you would like to share with us?

Feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments section below.

A BONUS read: The Chemistry Behind the Working of Heat Shrink

Fits Like a Glove: Buying the Right Size Heat Shrink Tubing

May 15, 2018 by  
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Imagine if buying a heat shrink tubing was as simple as buying a coat. You measure the object you want to cover and then buy a heat shrink to fit.

Unfortunately, it’s not.

Buying a right size heat shrink is much more complex than buying a right size coat. Because the tubing shrinks, when heated, does not retain the same dimensions it originally has pre-heating.

As such, it’s common for buyers (especially, first time buyers) to make sizing mistakes when buying a heat shrink tubing, ending up with a purchase that just won’t fit into their application.

This piece will guide you on how to avoid sizing mistakes and buy a right sized heat shrink tubing for your application.

First things first…

Before we get into the nitty gritty of how to measure a heat shrink when purchasing one, it’s worth noting that heat shrink tubing is first made to the diameter it will be when it’s shrunk. After that, it is expanded and packaged for sale.

So when you buy a heat shrink tubing, its shrunk dimensions are already known; they’re stated on the specification sheet.

Having this explained, we can now move on to the actual measuring step.

Dimensions and Dimension Facts—You Should Know About!

When measuring a heat shrink tubing, there’re basically two types of dimensions you’ll be working with: i) Recovered dimensions and, ii) Expanded dimensions.

Recovered dimensions are the shrunken dimensions and expanded dimensions are the dimensions of the tubing in the stretched form.

On a typical heat shrink datasheet, you’ll find the following dimensions listed:

  • Recovered internal diameter
  • Recovered wall thickness
  • Expanded internal diameter

Let’s say you want to buy a heat shrink to cover a cable which has an outer diameter of 7 mm.

The heat shrink that you buy must have:

  • An expanded internal diameter greater than 7 mm
  • A recovered internal diameter of just under 7 mm

Please note that you won’t find the exact dimensions listed on a heat shrink tubing’s datasheet. They will always have some tolerance range which will be mentioned on the sheet. So make sure you keep that in mind.

What about the wall thickness?

It depends on the application in which you want to use the heat shrink. If wall thickness is really important for your application (for e.g. If you’re looking to insulate a piece of wire), we would recommend that you purchase a heat shrink tubing with the maximum recovered wall thickness.

Let’s take a look at another example.

Let’s say you want to buy a heat shrink tubing to insulate a cable wiring. The cable has a diameter of 7 mm. It has bare wires running through it which are 4 mm in diameter. Plus, the cable has a connector at each of its end, which has a diameter of 15 mm.

The heat shrink that you buy must have:

  • An expanded internal diameter greater than 15 mm
  • A recovered internal diameter of just under 4 mm

For wall thickness the rule is same as discussed above.

One more thing you should keep in mind…

A heat shrink tubing not only shrinks in diameter when heated, but it also shrinks in length. Although the change in length is minimal, usually 10% of the original expanded length. So if you need a heat shrink tubing to cover an object of length 2 meters, you should buy a heat shrink which is at least 2.2 meters long. You can later cut off the tailing end if you wish to.

And that is how you can buy the right size shrink tubing for your application that will fit like a glove.

A BONUS read: The Chemistry Behind the Working of Heat Shrink

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