Tubing is a well-known term, referring to any hollow cylinder used to convey fluids or to protect electrical or optical cables and wires. A tube generally has a certain level of rigidity and permanence. This contrasts with the hose, which is generally flexible and portable. Tubing is quite similar to piping, and the names are sometimes used interchangeable, but what makes tubing different is that a tube generally has tighter engineering requirements than a pipe. Custom tubing is, as the name implies, tubing made specifically to fit certain applications and stipulations.
Though generally cylindrical, tubing can be fabricated into square, rectangular and irregular shapes. Custom tubing comes in many forms, such as HSS square tubing, heavy wall tubing, welded steel tubing and long steel tubing. Providers may also cut, form and weld fabricated tubing to meet customer needs. They can also customize tubing length. Metal tubing is often produced using carbon steel, stainless steel or aluminum. A tube manufacturer may choose to begin the process of customizing on a manual tube drawing machine. For medical and defense industries, cold form tube drawing is thought to be the best, as it yields the highest grain structure and tightest tolerances. Non-metal custom tubing comes in the form of plastics. Examples of these plastics are: PVP, polyurethane, nylon, polyethylene, polypropylene hytrel, fluoropolymer, TPR, viton, silicone, latex, butyl and nitrile.
These plastics have innumerable varying strengths and applications in custom tubing. Here is an elaboration on just a few of those listed: PVP tubing offers chemical, corrosion, abrasion and water resistance, and yields a rubber-like flexibility. With excellent flow characteristics and various construction options (ex. wire or braid reinforcement, rigid pipe, unreinforced), it has many applications. Possible applications include, but are not limited to, beverage transfer, chemical processing and transfer, mold coolant lines, dairy processing and filters. Polyurethane sits apart from most thermoplastics as a material with both good chemical resistance and excellent weathering characteristics. It is an ideal choice for fuel lines. Other applications include abrasive powder transfer, hydraulic control systems, robotics, oxygen and gas lines and granular transfer. Lightweight, extremely flexible, and corrosion and abrasion resistant, nylon tubing works in air conditioning systems, compressed air, paint supply, laboratories and dispensing equipment. Another major plastic tubing is silicone, which is widely used for medical tubing because it meets standards of cleanliness and non-toxicity. Silicone also lends itself well to electrical jobs, as it generally displays inertness towards U.V., radiation and ozone. It also holds up well against extreme temperature variations. Custom tubing, both metal or non-metal, has applications in virtually every industry, and with so many different materials and fabrication options, it is guaranteed to meet a customer's need.
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