“More and more frequently, the market is demanding plasticizer-free PVC alternatives that should nevertheless have PVC-like properties,” Dr. Ralf Ziembinski, Head of the Tubing Business Unit at Raumedic, has observed. For medical and pharmaceutical tubing, the manufacturer can offer polypropylene and polyurethane, for example. Both materials are drug tolerable, although their use must be considered on a case-by-case basis before the products are developed. “As plastic specialists, we provide extensive guidance when selecting materials,” explains the chemist.
When a more cost-efficient alternative to soft PP and PUR is needed, coextrusion could be a solution, suggests Ziembinski. For instance, Raumedic can offer a newly developed two-layer tubing made from EVA and styrene-butadiene rubber (SBR) as one alternative to PVC. While the material combination is about one-quarter more expensive than PVC, medical device manufacturers will benefit from one critical advantage: “The outer layer of the tubing made from SBR can be easily glued, which plays a key role during secondary processing,” says Ziembinski.