Natvar launches PVC-free medical tubing

BioPath is a multilayered flexible tubing designed to offer the medical industry an alternative to existing PVC and polyurethane products.

Natvar, a Clayton, NC-based manufacturer of medical tubing, has developed BioPath, a multilayered flexible tubing designed to offer the medical industry an alternative to existing PVC and polyurethane products.

BioPath tubing is coextruded using polyurethane and Eastman Chemical Company’s Ecdel elastomer.

It was specifically formulated to address the problems and limitations associated with existing medical grade PU tubing.

‘Many of our customers are looking to switch to non-PVC products to eliminate health and disposal concerns, but up to this point, there have been performance and processing issues associated with non-PVC alternatives. The goal in the industry has been to do away with PVC and plasticisers, but the right product just wasn’t there,’ said Bob Donohue, engineering manager for Natvar.

According to Donohue, Natvar developed BioPath tubing over a four-year period. The patent-pending tubing is co-extruded using an inner layer of polyurethane and a thin external layer of Ecdel elastomer, a tough, chemically inert and clear polymer with elastomeric-like properties. Because of the protective external layer, the tubing is solvent bondable and tough enough to stand up to ETO and gamma sterilisation.

BioPath will not yellow, haze or discolour as does polyurethane tubing. It also imparts strength and durability and eliminates processing and curing problems. Line speeds are faster with resulting cost savings. Also unlike PVC products, tubing made using Ecdel elastomers contains no migratory plasticiser and can be readily disposed of in landfill or through incineration with no hazardous by-products. When burned, it releases carbon dioxide and water.

BioPath tubing can be extruded in virtually any size and can be customised to meet customers’ specifications and needs. The internal diameter can range from 0.01 inch to 0.25 inch with varying wall thicknesses, depending on the degree of stiffness desired.