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Hyped Up about Hypotubes

Selection of hypotubes manufactured by Merit Medical Coatings.

PHILADELPHIA, June 19--Merit Medical Systems Inc. (South Jordan, UT) and its Merit Medical Coatings division are clearly jazzed about the recent inauguration of a Hypotube Center of Excellence in Galway, Ireland. The purpose of the new center, according to company spokespeople at MD&M East, is to enhance the company's hypotube manufacturing capabilities. "Merit Medical Coatings has coated and provided hypotubes for well over a decade," remarked Michael Blackham, vice president, sales and business development at Merit Medical Coatings. "Our main mission is to become one of the leaders in hypotube manufacturing."

The center houses systems and equipment for designing and producing customized hypotubes, including laser machines capable of spiral, skive, and slot cutting; laser ablation equipment for performing noncontact removal of coatings from the hypotube surface; leak testers capable of conducting tests at high pressures; and laser welding equipment used for seam and point welding of stylets. The center also boasts a cleaning process free of harsh chemicals and passivation processes for combating corrosion.

"Merit Medical Coatings has purchased and installed the most advanced laser cutting and laser ablation equipment," commented Dominique Vleeshouwers, director, sales and business development. "We have also highly automated the equipment to speed up output and reduce lead times. The laser-cutting technology provides clean and precise cuts, preventing mass particulate reside in the tubes."

"We developed a unique coating technology 20 years ago to apply PTFE and hydrophilic coatings to metal substrates--typically wire, but also metal tubing, mandrels, stylets, needles, guidewires, and guidewire components," noted Camiel Peerlings, the company's operations manager. "But our big investment in the hypotube business is pretty exciting for us."

Bob Michaels is managing editor of Medical Product Manufacturing News.

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