Tube Types and Custom Tubes: How to Choose

In 2022, America’s metal pipe and tube manufacturing market will be worth around $15.1 billion. Tubing plays a vital role in various industries. It provides functions that can make an operation ailing without it.

Tubing comes in various lengths, diameters, forms, and materials. Knowing which features are most critical can assist you in choosing your custom tube.

Are you considering custom tubing but don’t know how to start? You’ve come to the right place! This article will guide you with the uses, tube types, and other basics to help you choose the best custom tube.

Use of Custom Tubes

Many industries rely on dependable custom tubing in various shapes and sizes. Devices and components used in these industries hold high standards. The materials’ corrosion resistance, hygiene, and strength are essential considerations.

It’s crucial to know your specific needs while looking for the best tube. To help you decide, the following are among the industries that need custom tubing the most:

Aero Space Tubing

Custom tubing is essential in the aerospace sector. Hydraulic lifts, landing gear, and engine components all need tubing.

Aerospace engineers must guarantee that each tube is both robust and light enough. It must withstand the heat, stress, and repetitive wear of flight. Moreover, it must also be fuel-efficient and perform well.

Precision machining, which is crucial for accuracy, is one solution. CNC machining provides the precision and reproducibility that the aerospace industry requires.

Medical Tubing

Doctors and institutions often perform medical operations using precise, tailored technology. Medical instruments used in less invasive procedures need tight tolerances. To maintain surgical accuracy, tolerances as tight as +/- 0.0001 are advisable.

The surgical device’s finish may influence the eventual result. Under harsh lights, gleaming reflective stainless steel might be distracting. Take stents, surgical tools, stethoscopes, and diagnostic equipment as examples.

These often need small, custom tubing that is reliable, durable, and easy to sterilize.

High Tech Manufacturing Tubing

Custom tubing has a wide range of industrial applications. It helps from the production of automotive parts to nuclear reactor tubing components.

Manufacturers have one thing in common: robust, dependable, and cost-effective tubing. It will keep their production lines moving.

What Are Custom Tube Types?

An important decision you must make about your tubing is choosing the types of tubes. Decide whether to use flexible tubing or a rigid one. Both serve the same purpose, but each has its benefits and drawbacks.

Flexible Tubes

The primary benefit of flexible tubing is its simplicity. It doesn’t need any special equipment to bend or break. Its angles don’t have to have a meticulous measurement.

Moreover, lengths are measurable and cuttable within a range of error because of the tube’s flex.

Flexible tubing is a lot cheaper than the second type. A rigid tube might cost many times more per meter than flexible tubing. Acrylic and PETG rigid tubes are twice the price of a standard PVC flexible plastic tube.

Flexible tubing fittings are also less expensive than their rigid tube counterparts. Petro Packaging Company offers plastic tubes and extrusions for the best price.

Flexible tubing has significant advantages, but it’s not all gold and glitters. For flexibility, many forms of flexible tubing include a substance called a plasticizer. It’s particularly true in the case of PVC tubes.

Plasticizers can degrade over time, resulting in powder leaking from the tube. This powder can clog the tiny passageways between the cooling fins in water blocks.

Flexible tubes also come in different materials. The properties of these tubes depend on the material used.

  1. PVC or polyvinyl chloride is the most often used material for flexible tubing. PVC is a good compromise between price and performance. It also has unrivaled clarity and comes in almost every color.
  1. EPDM stands for ethylene-propylene-diene monomer. It’s a synthetic rubber that’s flexible and heat and chemical reaction resistant. EPDM is almost maintenance-free, although it is completely opaque.
  2. TPV stands for Thermoplastic vulcanizate. It begins off as EPDM tubing before vulcanization with polypropylene.

The materials’ flexibility implies that any load unmaintained by a fixed mount can sag or flex it. A good example is flow indicators. Rigid tube supports these modest weights with no evident flex.

Rigid Tubes

Its name implies that rigid tubes don’t bend as flexible ones. Rigid tubing doesn’t flex or sag. It supports flow indicators and fittings for temperature sensors and valves without bending.

Rigid can result in a lovely, clutter-free build, especially in computer water cooling. With these rigid tubes, bends, angles, and tubing lengths all need planning ahead of time. Moreover, measurements of the tubes’ cuts and curves must be precise.

But rigid is so much more expensive than flexible tubing. It’s because of the materials used in its manufacturing.

There are different tubes under the rigid tubing. Review the following to help you decide which one to consider.

Acrylic Tubing

Acrylic tubes bend when heated and offer more scratch resistance than PETG. Acrylic tubing comes in many colors and offers clarity surpassed only by glass.

PETG Tubing

Polyethylene terephthalate glycol is a more flexible and easier-to-use alternative to acrylic. Also, this plastic tube can bend at lower temperatures compared to acrylic. It’s sensitive to distortion during the bending process and when in high temperatures.

To counter this, use special PETG tubing plugs. These plugs support the inside of the tube at the fittings.

Glass Tubing

The glass tube provides unsurpassed clarity and scratch resistance. It’s also resistant to chemicals in almost all cases. But its brittleness and difficulty in bending counteract these advantages.

While it is possible to bend borosilicate glass, it’s more complex than flexing any other type of tube. Plus, incorrect bends cannot be re-heated and bent. Ready bent glass tubing is available, though.

Know the Best Tube Types For Your Needs

Custom tubing helps in various operations within different industries. More than the other, one type suits one application and vice versa. It’s essential to know the nature of what you’ll be using these tubes to identify the tube types you need.

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