Liquid silicone rubber is used in a wide range of medical devices, including sealing rings, pistons, gaskets and components of medical electronic devices, whether implanted or not. Special applications of liquid silicone rubber by producers include:
• a cushioning pad for the pulmonary catheter that wraps soft liquid silicone rubber around the front of the catheter to prevent the catheter from penetrating and tearing soft lung tissue.
• double J tube sealing component.
• the outermost layer of the silicone shock absorber is covered.
• polycarbonate ablation tube with silicone sealing head.
• silica gel tube coupler.
• silicone sealing caps for medical devices.
The wider use of liquid silicone rubber is limited only by the experience of designers, education and creativity, and the experience of producers and the exploration of innovative applications of this medical material.
Technological properties of liquid silicone rubber
In manufacturing, liquid silicone rubber has the effect of combination and non-combination casting. Parts made from liquid silicone rubber can be combined with metal, plastic, glass, ceramics and plexiglass or silicone itself.
The manufacturing advantage of this property is the elimination of individual components in a device. For example, o-rings and gaskets made of liquid silicone rubber can be cast directly on metal or plastic parts to be protected, reducing inventory and assembly costs.
Manufacturers also need the ability to cast liquid silicone rubber directly onto hard plastic sheets to make a single part, rather than gluing two separate parts of different materials together. By producing a separate part in this way, the labor step of assembling separate parts is reduced and the risk of leakage due to failed sealing is reduced. This also gives manufacturers the opportunity to design more attractive and powerful products. Liquid silicone rubber can be designed in a variety of colors and can be processed to different hardness.
Considering the diversity of liquid silicone rubber as a production material, casting tools can be quickly applied to various projects to control the cost. Many suppliers can provide standardized finished cooling tables and tool components.
Industrial trends and future prospects
Ideally, the liquid silicone rubber mold can be extruded horizontally or vertically in a 100,000-stage purification plant. Thanks to the benefits of liquid silicone rubber, both manufacturers and end users have achieved the expected continued growth. The Fredonia Group reports that U.S. demand for silica gel is growing at an annual rate of 5.6 percent and will reach $4.1 billion by 2016.
One obvious trend is closer collaboration between product design, r&d teams and liquid silicone rubber casting engineers. The makers of the liquid silicone rubber realized that working closely with molding engineers during the design phase of new equipment could take full advantage of the material. Close collaboration between the manufacturer and the mold engineer ensures that the process performance of the designed product is optimized, which reduces rework and speeds product introduction.
The growing demand for liquid silicone rubber among manufacturers means that mold engineers must be able to cast liquid silicone rubber molds with great precision for a wide variety of medical devices. For mold engineers with little experience in casting, additional equipment and cleanrooms may be needed to produce accurate molds and ensure that operators are well trained. Manufacturers must conduct rigorous evaluations of mold engineers and suppliers. It is important to assess the experience, expertise and equipment of the foundry engineer, including the skills and capabilities of the factory visit.
The prospect of liquid silicone rubber as medical material
As the demand for home health care equipment and disposable equipment increases, so will the demand for liquid silicone rubber. The aging population of the United States, for example, will increase the demand for urinary devices such as catheters and personal diagnostic devices. Liquid silicone rubber is sanitary, hypoallergenic and easy to clean and disinfect.
Liquid silicone rubber is increasingly being used to treat sleep apnea as a sealant on polycarbonate masks with continuous positive pressure. The material seals well and is comfortable on the skin, easy to clean and disinfect and inhibits bacterial growth. The biocompatibility of liquid silicone rubber prevents allergic reactions with skin tissues. The finished product can also be designed to be transparent so that nursing staff can determine whether the user is anxious or uncomfortable by observing their expressions.
At the same time, liquid silicone rubber is playing a growing role in the development of needle-free syringes, which can help reduce the amount of needles used in treatment. For example, a polycarbonate coated liquid silicone rubber check valve installed in an intravenous tube can release the drug without the use of hypodermic needles and avoid contamination.
The increasing trend of equipment miniaturization is in urgent need of precise miniature models produced by injection molding machines, and it also increases the demand for liquid silicone rubber, because the properties of liquid silicone rubber will not be affected by the size of mold products. Another growth area in research and development is the use of liquid silicone rubber in composite products that combine silicone rubber with active ingredients.
The increasing demand and sophisticated casting technology make liquid silicone rubber widely used in equipment, and the increasing number of engineers skilled in liquid silicone rubber casting will make liquid silicone rubber widely used in medical equipment for clinical and household devices. The practicality of this medical material, coupled with the attention to the development of new applications, indicates the brilliant future of liquid silicone rubber