TPE for Medical Tubes

Not only against the backdrop of demographic change but also following the launch of new medical applications, the market for medical tubes has evolved to become a significant growth market.​

Accordingly, minimally invasive interventions are gaining in popularity which, in turn, leads to a sharp increase in the demand for tubes. The requirements in this context have also increased enormously. Ever more complex functions are expected.

The market for medical tubes

Where off-the-shelf tubes used to be in demand simply to keep the development times and costs as low as possible and obtain results fast, preference today is often given to customized, tailor-made solutions, e.g. when it comes to obtaining multi-layer tubes which can be manufactured in a co-extrusion process. While as much as 90 percent of tube sales were catalog purchases only a decade ago, an estimated 90 percent of tube applications today are tailor-made.​

That is why instead of manufacturers of basic extruded tubes, there is a reliance today on those which are specialized and offering complex solutions with a high degree of compliance and smooth project management.

Choice of materials as a key factor

To date, a lot of soft PVCs have been used in this area, including for reasons relating to cost, but also due to their very good functional properties. However, a change in thinking has begun, accompanied by a changeover to other materials. After all, certain medications migrate into PVC, for example, and are absorbed on the surface. This enables less of the medication to actual enter the human body. There are also health risks posed by plasticizers and additives which eluate. Furthermore, there is always the risk of regulations being tightened and the medical product’s approval endangered. The quest for alternative materials, therefore, has long begun.

The range of materials available for manufacturing medical tubes is enormous: from COC and EVA, HD-PE and LD-PE through PA6.12, PA 11 and 12, PEBA, POM, PVC and PVDF to TEEE, TPU and TPE materials. But not every material is suitable for all areas of application and not every material combination makes sense for the respective characteristics profile required. It always depends on what specific characteristics are required for what application. The formulations of materials used to handle various tasks ensure biocompatibility, resistance to chemicals/media, anti-buckling, a pleasant surface, transparency, as well as sterilizability.

Solutions offered by ACTEGA

In a market which is so clearly dominated by a demand for customized solutions, ACTEGA – specializing in customer-specific developments with manifold functional possibilities – is the right project partner. Flexibility and creating customized solutions are core competencies. A large development team of experienced plastics technicians is available to work on developing new, innovative products from the very first requirement profile stated by the customer through to the marketable product.​

First of all, any possible raw materials are analyzed in detail and compounded to differing material build-ups with various raw materials in the excellently equipped laboratory. These material approaches are then examined in terms of their various properties and those required by the customer. Thanks to an extensive machine park in our own in-house technical center and the corresponding application technology, test rods and specimens can be manufactured on injection-molding machines once satisfactory material compositions have been found, thereby testing the processing properties of the compounds. This enables new development products to be tested and parameterized in advance, while accelerating and optimizing the individual development steps. Then it can be ascertained on site whether the developed materials display good processing properties and meet customer requirements. This is how an innovative and steadily growing portfolio has evolved for tube materials. The formulations for the ProvaMed® portfolio meet the key requirements on medical tubes and can also be tailored to particular customized requirements.​

Accordingly, these TPE formulations display an excellent degree of transparency. This is a key factor wherever the flow rate of fluids needs to be clearly visible and traceable. This ultra-pure, transparent and elastic material is smooth, flexible and non-buckling. As a result, there is nothing to stop a continuous flow of gases or fluids. Other key factors also include good recovery and attenuation properties enabling tubes to return to their original shape after deformation. The compounds are free of PVC, silicone, latex and plasticizers. This also means that interactions between the tube material and pharmaceutical or endogenous substances which could be harmful to the human organism are in fact avoided. The ProvaMed® formulations for tube materials can be sterilized and display outstanding processing characteristics.

Our brands for medical tubes


Portfolio of standard products for medical technology and for customized TPEs for highly-sensitive areas of application.

Do you have any questions? Contact us and we will be happy to advise you on your individual requirements.