Rainbow Medical's catheter cutter features a vacuum system to remove chads.
In standard catheter-cutting operations, the chad may not completely detach from the tube, or it may detach but remain lodged within the catheter. If not detected during the manufacturing process, this waste material can migrate into the patient. To remedy this problem, the new technology uses a vacuum to collect chads, which are passed through an electronic counter. If an anomaly is detected, processing is halted automatically. The production cycle cannot be resumed until the faulty catheter has been inserted into a disposal unit.
"Until now, chads were either left partially attached to the edge of the catheter or pressed into the hole," remarks Alan Profit, Rainbow's founder and owner. Unless the error was detected through visual inspection, the chad could still be present when the catheter was inserted into the patient.
"A leading medical company was interested in finding a solution to problems caused by urinary catheters," Profit explains. "The process of cutting the eyes, or holes, in urinary catheters is mechanical pressure, which produces eyes with surfaces or edges that are not entirely smooth. The upper surface of the eye can cause tissue damage to the urinary tract when the catheter is inserted or removed, which can lead to infection."
The use of ultrasonic cutting produces a burr-free tube with what is known as end rounding. "This is vitally important," Profit notes, "since it dramatically reduces trauma during insertion and withdrawal, while also reducing somewhat the particulate or bacterial incrustation that can attack the lower surface of the eye." The catheter-cutting system also entails some cost advantages, according to Profit. "The system's ultrasonic, vacuum extraction, and optical sensing capabilities eliminate the need for customers to either visually inspect each item or use small pin gauges to check for debris--routines that require 100% inspection."
Rainbow Medical Engineering Ltd
Letchworth Garden City, UK