Summertime and Every Time with Plastic Tubing

by Breana Cronk, IQS Editor

April showers bring May flowers. May flowers signal spring, which is just a jump, skip and a hop away from summer. Summer means swimming pools, milkshakes and do not forget the sunscreen or the tanning oil, depending on your prerogative. While it may be the most recognizable connection, sunshine is not the only thing that all of these warm weather staples have in common. Though basking in the summer sun may steal all the glory, plastic tubing makes each of these things possible. Far from limited, plastic tubes actually play an important role in life as we know it not just on summer days, but also cold days, rainy days, stormy days, snowy days and everyday.

Photo courtesy of NewAge Industries, Inc.

When those April showers do not make the grade, plastic pipes provide irrigation to help the flowers grow anyway. Tubes and pipes also provide the water and filtration necessary for the swimming pool. That sunscreen tube, plastic. The milkshake is milk and ice cream of course, but for the straw you can take your pick from acrylic tubing, polypropylene or polyethylene tubing. Add to that list toothpaste containers, gas lines, refrigeration systems, air compressors and even protected wiring all made from plastic tubing and chances are few people in the United States have spent even one day of their lives without coming into contact with plastic tubing of one kind or another. With this in mind, it is little wonder that these versatile items make up a significant portion of the multi-billion dollar plastics industry.

Photo courtesy of Teel Plastics, Inc.

Plastic tubes range from rigid to flexible, heavy to thin, transparent to opaque and even colorful. They can be cut to length as with straws or spooled for far reaching liquid or gas transport. While so many options surrounding plastic tubing allow manufacturers to easily cater to the needs and whims of several industrial, commercial and even domestic applications, the tubes themselves are often at the forefront of innovation. Advancements in plastic tubing equal advancements in a number of other industries. Although plastics are often perceived as fragile and inferior to the stresses encountered by metal tubes, many applications now use them to replace older metal or glass components. Several materials such as nylon tubing and PVC tubing have proven their abilities time and time again offering the high heat and pressure resistance of metal pipes with the added benefits of low weight and high corrosion and abrasion resistance.

Photos courtesy of Genplex, Inc.

Like metals and other industrial materials, plastic tubing is carefully standardized to ensure quality and safety. A number of regulatory boards monitor the materials and manufacturing processes used in the production of plastic tubing products, especially those intended for food and chemical processing or medical and surgical use. Not only the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture), but also organizations like the National Sanitation Foundation and other independent groups monitor the plastic tubes which play such an important role in our society. These boards think about the many uses for plastic tubing so you can safely enjoy the milkshake or the air conditioning or any of the many other delights and conveniences made possible by plastic tubing.

Photo courtesy of NewAge Industries, Inc.

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