Maintaining silicone tubing supply levels during a constraint


The silicone situation

By Eric Rentsch, Product Marketing Manager, Fluid Handling, Cole-Parmer

Trouble sourcing silicone? You are not alone. Many consumers of silicone, from lab managers to OEMs, are finding it difficult to source high-purity silicone in a timely manner from their regular supply source and unfortunately, this is expected to continue through 2019. Fortunately, alternative tubing formulations have been developed since silicone’s market dominance many years ago. Some of these formulation’s critical properties, such as purity or pressure, perform comparably or even better than silicone in many applications. However, sifting through the variety of available options can prove difficult, even to some industry veterans. Take a moment and consider your process parameters such as pressure, temperature, material compatibility, and leechables/extractables and determine whether silicone is necessary in your process or if an alternative can be substituted. 

The silicone constraint is the result of classic economics:  a static supply of the raw material used in silicone called siloxane that is struggling to meet the increasing demand of the markets it primarily serves namely medical and pharmaceutical. External forces have constrained the trending market expansion of raw material suppliers which leads to longer lead times and high pricing for the extruders and producers of the finished product which then mostly gets passed to the end user. 

Read the entire article, Choosing Alternatives to Silicone Pharmaceutical Tubing from the Cole-Parmer Technical Library.

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