TOP 10 Reasons to Change Your Silicone Cable to Northwire’s BioCompatic USP Class VI Alternative

Press Release from Northwire Inc.

OSCEOLA, WI. – December 19, 2014 – Cable engineering company, Northwire, Inc., (NWI), in collaboration with precision cable connector leader LEMO is pleased to launch the newest innovation BioCompatic for extreme engineering applications ranging from life science to industrial.  A cost-effective upgrade to silicone – and a USP Class VI alternative – was engineered by Northwire specifically to eliminate the traditional curing processes and add many other improvements like robust resistance to chemicals, cuts and abrasion.

Following the popularity of the inaugural Underwater Connectivity white paper, Northwire and LEMO will continue their collective efforts to bring value to customers focused on the enhancements of utilizing a silicone alternative. These advantages include USP Class VI interpretation, benefits of rapid R&D deployment, time-lapsed photography of autoclave tests in-process and the compatibility of LEMO’s series of medical Push-Pull connector.


R&D Engineers channeled the collective voices of valued Northwire customers and market demands to achieve optimal biocompatibility in the USP Class VI, ISO 10993-5, REACH and RoHS2 compliant custom cable alternative to silicone. (Need more Subject Matter Expertise on USP Class VI? Then check out the white paper for a feature article navigating the complexities of compliance.) Phthalate and halogen free, BioCompatic is ideally suited for life science applications in diagnostics, patient monitoring, surgical devices and beyond.  In addition to passing a battery of tests not limited to the studies of cytotoxicity, systemic toxicity, intracutaneous, muscle implantation and more, Northwire’s BioCompatic is very flexible, durable, soft and smooth. 


Northwire’s custom Design-to-Ship in 5 Days or Fewer services ensures rapid technological development.  Conversely, lead times from silicone OEMs is typically 8 to 12 weeks!  To make matters worse, traditional silicone cable manufacturers may employ additional equipment and a time consuming curing catalyst process known as "parylene coating” to the outer-jacket of silicone wire products.  Often times, this coating may be subject to reoccurring ‘recoating’ requirements.  With standard lead times of 5, 10 and 15 days, Northwire’s rapid technology deployment enables quick and cost-effective products to support time-sensitive product launches.  Northwire offers free samples, rapid prototyping, and 3D printing to reduce time to market and support field-testing.  (Want to increase speed to market?  Read more about the benefits of Northwire’s rapid R&D deployment in the white paper.)


The immutable laws of physics dictate that two rotations forced at the same time create a new axis of rotation as a result of the resistance.  This “rotational motion” can change orientations and generate wobbling and precession phenomena – ultimately headaches for the end-user.  Think of a surgeon repetitively torqueing on a surgical device.  Imagine the traditional silicone cable twisting until it resembles a tangled mess, leading to frustration and even interference with the operator.   To solve this legacy problem, Northwire designed and engineered BioCompatic to optimize the torque-ability and retractable cable capabilities.  Torque-free features and retractable coil cords enable the end-users’ repetitive motion without resistance – eliminating negative side effects.  High flex life is another hallmark of BioCompatic, optimizing flexibility in a variety of motions including torsional, rolling, variable, bend and continuous flex.  (Infographics in the white paper will illustrate the variety of flex test options available.)


Ideally suited for extreme engineering applications in life sciences, industrial, energy, aerospace and defense, Northwire designs and manufactures BioCompatic to ensure valued customers’ competitive advantage in the global economy.  Featuring signal, control, power and instrumentation, BioCompatic is ideally suited for hybrid fiber optic applications, too.  Thermal stability is enabled by the thermoplastic alternative leveraged in Northwire’s silicone alternative.  Offering a conductor count of 2 or more, the AWG range is 36 – 2 (.0127-33.6 mm2).  Cost competitive cable types are available for wide range of stranding, outer diameter, fillers, shielding, armoring, wraps and strength members.  Custom colors, private labels and anti-counterfeiting technology – ranging from overt to covert – protects valuable intellectual property and ensures 100% lot traceability everywhere in the world.  (The white paper will provide a convenient field-guide, summarizing the features, attributes, flexibility standards, agency, environmental compliance and more.)


Operating in extreme conditions requires extreme testing. Northwire’s R&D Engineers submitted BioCompatic to a battery of tests including Chemical Resistance to the TOP 6 Hospital Disinfectants and Concentrate.  While typical exposures do not exceed 10 minutes of exposure, Northwire R&D Engineers increased the challenge by immersing BioCompatic for 24 hour to demonstrate robust effectiveness and the resistance of the high-reliability materials against the following harsh agents:

  • Betadine
  • Cidex OPA
  • Virex II 256
  • Clorox Healthcare Bleach
  • Isopropyl Alcohol, IPA
  • Hydrochloric Acid, HCI


What happens to the traditional silicone cable when a 200 pound medical gurney rolls over it?  Tests prove that it fails in less than 9,300 cycles.  Meanwhile, Northwire’s performance enhanced BioCompatic silicone alternative exceeded over 186,000 cycles!  With superior tear strength and resistance to chemicals, cut and abrasion, Northwire’s newest custom cable solution boasts a brittle point of -80 ⁰ C and a high-temperature rating of 105 ⁰ C.  Electrical, ergonomic, and environmental extremes present themselves in many forms, ranging from gurneys to mice.  (Learn more about the benefits of Northwire’s anti-rodent additive in the white paper.) 


Sterilization refers to any process that removes nasty transmissible agents like bacteria, viruses and more.  Compared to the competition, Northwire’s BioCompatic retained over 100% of tensile strength and elongation when subject to over 500 steam autoclave cycles and demonstrated 50% longer color clarity over the leading brand of silicone cable alternative.  Moreover, BioCompatic is ideally suited for Gamma and Ethylene Oxide (commonly known as ETO) and hydrogen peroxide sterilization cycles and demonstrates fungal resistance.  (Check out the white paper for the time-lapsed photography of the tests performed.)


As with most complex subjects, communication is key, and especially profound in the gathering and dissemination of critical-to-quality requirements and Quality Management Systems.  Northwire speaks the universal languages of Project Management, Lean, Six Sigma, ISO and ASQ.  Rely on a common tool set of professionally certified Project Managers, leveraging shared templates, formulas, processes and procedures to ensure requirements are translated into exact product specifications.  With certifications in ISO 13485, ISO 9001 and AS9100 and compliance to ISO 17025, Northwire offers a comprehensive suite of quality proficiencies and complimentary contract engineering services, including test and development, R&D, NPD and more.


The partnership between Northwire and LEMO offers you a one-stop-shop suite of high-reliability cable and connector solutions.  The originator of the Push-Pull Precision Connectors, LEMO’s world-wide footprint offers a local resource in 80 countries around the world.  LEMO offers more than 100,000 combinations of solutions that continue to advance; its precision suite of medical connectors is manufactured by their subsidiary, REDEL.  REDEL’s self-locking plastic circular connectors for medical applications include:  REDEL® 1P series, SP02 connector, single-use and reusable connectors, ECG wire connector, IP68 connector and many others; all of which boast extensive autoclave capabilities.  (Check out the full suite of LEMO connectors at and learn more about REDEL connectors highlighted in the white paper featuring the new REDEL SP connector, a revolutionary patented solution latching systems that offers many benefits to customers.)

The winning combination of LEMO, REDEL and Northwire allows you to centralize your custom cable, connector, and cable assembly.  Engage in the healthy exercise of rationalizing your supply base with one strategic partner to design and manufacture innovative solutions for custom and standard cables, connectors and cable assemblies.  By identifying your critical needs and awarding spending to a smaller number of strategic suppliers with the most to offer, you have removed a super-sized amount of complexity.  Combined to complement market demands for vertically-integrated requirements, Northwire and LEMO offer wide depth and breadth of services and solutions.

No. 1. COST

Traditional silicone applications require curing which adds cost and negatively impacts lead time to production. Northwire’s BioCompatic silicone alternative eliminates the extra stage of production and the associated equipment and curing catalysts.  When traditional silicone OEMs lead time is 8 to 12 weeks, it often requires an investment in inventory sitting on the shelf, tying up cash flow.  Relieve inventory demands and direct cash flow to better use by leveraging 5, 10, and 15 day lead times from Northwire.  Flex the power of your purchasing strength with Northwire and LEMO collectively, work with a leaner supply chain, realize cost avoidance and start enjoying cost savings, increase productivity and on-time delivery.

From achieving the Holy Grail of approvals to vertically-integrated solutions from Northwire and LEMO to cost savings, BioCompatic is highly-anticipated in a marketplace ready to avoid the price of silicone and long lead times.  Schedule a joint ‘Lunch and Learn’ with LEMO and Northwire or contact Northwire for free samples.  Connect with the Customer Care TEAM at 800.468.1516, [email protected], or via live chat.

About LEMO

LEMO is the acknowledged leader in the design and manufacture of precision custom connection and cable solutions.  LEMO’s high quality push-pull connectors are found in a variety of challenging application environments including medical, industrial control, test and measurement, audio-video, and telecommunications.

LEMO has been designing custom connectors for six decades.  Offering more than 100,000 combinations of products that continue to grow through tailored, specific designs, LEMO and its affiliated sister companies REDEL, NORTHWIRE and COELVER currently serve more than 100,000 customers in over 80 countries around the world.  In 2014, LEMO Group acquired Northwire, Inc.

About Northwire

Cable manufacturer, Northwire, Inc., celebrating over 42 years of innovation, has corporate headquarters and manufacturing in Osceola, Wisconsin and engineering and manufacturing in Santa Teresa, New Mexico. The cable engineering company is the premier partner for the design, manufacture and contract services of custom technical products including custom technical wire and cable, retractable cable, cable assemblies, connectors, harnesses, injection molding, over-molding and contract engineering and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) for diverse applications in life sciences, energy, MIL-Spec, industrial, machine vision, architectural lighting, underwater and beyond. In addition to ISO 13485:2003, ISO 9001:2008, SAE AS9100C:2009 certifications and qualification to ISO 17025:2005,  Northwire is a member of NDIA (National Defense Industrial Association), NCMA (National Contract Management Association), RIA (Robotics Industries Association), AIA (Automated Imaging Association), FieldComm (fka Foundation Fieldbus), ODVA (Open DeviceNet Vendors Associations) and WAI (Wire Association International), among others.

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