Tubing extrusion company Natvar now makes glassclear tubing to be laser welded without compromising strength.
Sure Bond tubing is a multi-layer coextruded tube. The laser welding property is achieved by adding an additive in one of the layers, which absorbs the energy of the laser light. It creates a clear, aesthetically appealing, stable joint without unwanted gaseous inclusions. The additive eliminates the need for solvent or adhesive bonding, which often leaves behind residual bonding material. In addition, laser-welded medical tubing helps eradicate quality challenges that crop up when connecting a tube to a luer (connector), including leaking, occlusions, and crazing that might compromise a product’s proper function. Laser welding also creates several processing efficiencies, including a faster cycle time and reduced consumables. For example, with less bond-surface area to weld, component manufacturers have the potential to reduce the amount of luer material needed in their applications.
Other commonly used medical-bonding techniques often create stress on an IV set or other device that delivers unstable medication, which might create leaks or occlusions and negatively impact, for example, insulin delivery.
The laser welding additive is based on organic absorbers. The technology enables a clear tube-to-clear tube weld for the visibility medical personnel need to monitor fluids. Historically, welding medical polymers with lasers was limited to bonding a transparent part to an opaque, typically black or gray, substrate. Now the technology offers color flexibility for creating custom tubing.
The Sure Bond technology is non-invasive to the fluid path and can be used effectively within the high-pressure injector tubing industry. Sure Bond tubing withstands pressures better and helps avoids catastrophic bond failure during intense surgical procedures.
Sure Bond manufacturing uses near infrared-absorbing colorless additives compounded into a thermoplastic before it is extruded into medical tubing. These light-absorbing additives convert laser energy to heat at a wavelength of 808 to 1.090 nm. Localized heating at the interface of the luer and tube produce strong (25 to 30 kg), hermetically sealed welds with minimal thermal and mechanical stress or presence of particulates.
It also eliminates UV curing which may require up to 20 seconds of cure time and the bond is reproducible, making it ideal for medical applications that need optimum product integrity and consistent quality.
Natvar Europe belongs to the international group ‘Tekni-Plex’ which operates 34 production plants world wide and is a leading producer of medical PVC compounds, pharmaceutical films, extruded tubing, closure liners and food trays.
Medical tubing is manufactured in 4 production plants strategically located in the USA (2), Belgium and China. Operating through multiple extrusion plants close to our customers, Natvar offers global sourcing of custom tubing to their international organised customers.