Answered March 2nd, 2012 by Expert:
Medical devices manufactured in PVC and other plastics are characterised by a rather complex value chain with many different technologies, specialities and knowledge areas involved. If you for example take a urinebag manufactured in PVC there are many kind of industries involved, from the production of the raw material to the moment the nurse installs the bag on the bedside of the patient.
First of all you have the manufacturers of the PVC raw material – the resin, which is of no value without the additives (plasticisers, stabilisers etc.) produced by different companies. When the additives are mixed with the resin, you get the compound, which is made by the compounder. Now compounded, the compound is typically purchased by the converter who makes the tubing, the bag etc. All the companies mentioned so far are not necessarily involved in the medical industry only. They produce products to many other industry sectors.
The medical device manufacturer then purchases the extruded tubing and the calendered bag from their subcontractor – the converter. Then company then manufactures the final product. Finally the distributor comes into the picture and then the device ends up at the hospital to be used in the treatment of a patient.