We can find many silicone-grade products used in everyday lives. These items are made from silicones that are tested for biocompatibility and are mainly used in medical applications. Many manufacturers produce these products for their healthcare industry clients.
In designing medical grade silicone molding products, two things come first when choosing the material: it should be easy to clean and sterilize, and its breakdown. The most likely candidate that satisfies this requirement is platinum-cured liquid silicone rubber. This material possesses durability and the ability to be disinfected in multiple ways.
Sterilizing Options for Silicone Molding Products and How it is Done
Since silicone molding products are used in healthcare, it normally comes in close contact with the human body. As such, it needs to be cleaned and sanitized to remove any bacteria from its surface. This process should be done before and after contact with the human body. The machine which it is a part of should also be cleaned and dusted regularly.
Although medical-grade silicone molding parts do not tolerate bacterial growth, it has other components, like the machine parts that can easily breed bacteria. Therefore, it is vital to sterilize the whole device or tools all at once without taking the machine apart.
So, what are the options in sterilizing medical-grade products?
Sterilization options applicable to the components of a medical device or tool are an important consideration of its design. It should be able to withstand the whole process without compromising its functionality. Let’s take a look at these options.
Rubbing Alcohol – We commonly find rubbing alcohol in medical facilities, and this is not surprising because it is the easiest and most popular method of sterilizing medical-grade silicone parts. It not only kills bacteria on the spot but can clean the surface of dust and dirt as well.
Autoclave – Many medical facilities have to autoclave to sterilize medical-grade silicone. It uses steam to sterilize as it instantly kills any microorganisms present. This process has a wide range of applications. It can sterilize medical implants, forceps, surgical instruments, and many more.
Gamma Radiation – It is a physical and chemical means of sterilization because it kills bacteria by breaking down the bacterial DNA, preventing them from multiplying. The energy of the gamma rays passes through the equipment, thereby killing the pathogens that are causing the contamination.
Dry Heat – There are two types of dry heat sterilization: the forced-air type and the static-air type. The static air of oven-type sterilization is the most common, where the heating coils located at the bottom of the unit are causing hot air to rise inside its chamber.
What Are the Uses of Medical Grade Silicone Molding Products?
Medical facilities, including doctor’s offices, hospitals, laboratories, and emergency care facilities require many devices, tools, and machines to take care of their patients. Many of these items are made from silicone molding and need frequent cleaning.
Some of the uses of medical-grade silicone are in manufacturing the following applications:
- Rubber tubing
- Anti-slip handles for medical instruments
- Defibrillator kits and cases
- Plugs, gaskets, and covers
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All these applications come in contact with the human body and should be cleaned of bacteria before and after use.
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