The medical industry is full of very specific requirements and regulations. After all, people’s lives are on the line and there is never any room for error. If a waiter spills a drink, it might make a mess, but a hospital is no place for mistakes or apologies.
This applies to the training and procedures, of course, but carries over to the world of medical manufacturing as well. Everything must be done correctly with the right materials all of the time. While this prompts most of us to think about today’s high-tech diagnostic equipment, biotech innovations and advanced tools, some of the most vital aspects of this sector are relatively simple.
Think about medical seals, they are vital in so many ways. They may seem simple, but they are not just one-size-fits-all commodities that can all be lumped together. Quality matters, and even more so, the materials used in the production of medical seals matter.
In many applications, silicone is the best polymer for the job. Its ability to serve as a wonder material extends to many other items as well, including implant materials, IV components and feeding devices.
1. Silicone’s Unique Elastomer Properties
Compared to other materials, silicone can seem like magic. It is most well known for its ability to retain its elastic and flexible properties in the widest temperature range of any elastomer. Simply put, it can withstand a level of extreme conditions that most other materials cannot. It can be bent, reshaped, exposed to high or low temperatures and still bounce back. In this way, it is almost unique in the field.
2. Silicone’s Biocompatibility Advantage
There are a variety of different types of silicone, and a few common classifications are known as medical-grade and food-grade silicone. One major differentiator of these types is that they are compatible with bodily fluids and do not produce a toxic response in the human body. This is a key reason why silicone is so important in the medical world. Other materials can potentially trigger an immune response or other negative reactions from people who might be sensitive to certain elastomers.
3. Silicone’s Affordable Performance
In manufacturing, cost is always a key concern. You don’t ever want to sacrifice performance just to realize some savings — and with silicone you will probably never have to make that choice. When it comes to the critical seals, o-rings and fasteners that are integral to so many components in the medical world, it just makes sense to go with the best material for the applications. When that proves to be silicone, you can get everything you need without having to worry about big expenses or order disruptions by partnering with a reliable manufacturing supply chain.
4. Silicone’s Molding Capabilities
Silicone's strong and tolerant chemical structure allows it to meet various pressure and temperature demands. This has many benefits, and plays a role in why it can so easily be formed into products using injection molding, transfer molding and compression molding. This level of versatility — on top of everything else — just further enhances the material’s wide range of applications in the medical industry.
Real-World Advantages of Silicone in Medical Manufacturing
Silicone is widely used in the medical industry, including seals and fasteners in the manufacturing of single-use devices and implantable medical devices. Silicone has unique properties of flexibility amid extreme temperatures. It is more biocompatible than many other options. It is affordable and widely available throughout the supply chain. And it can easily be used in applications that require various types of molding. Silicone is not just a top option, but the ideal material for so many applications in medical manufacturing.