Manufacturing Systems Today: Stent and Catheter Manufacturing

Bob Michaels

March 30, 2011

4 Min Read
Manufacturing Systems Today: Stent and Catheter Manufacturing

ASG Medical SystemsCatheter cutting, slitting, and flaring machine
The Accu-Flare CSF is the first machine to fully integrate cutting, slitting, and flaring of thermoplastic tubing into one process, according to its manufacturer, ASG Medical Systems. Capable of processing such materials as silicone, PTFE, and PEEK, the system features four operating modes: cut; cut and slit; cut and flare; and cut, slit, and flare. The cut-only mode has a length minimum of 1 mm, while the cut-and-flare length range is from 8 to 100 mm. Both the cut-and-slit and cut-slit-flare modes, on the other hand, feature a length range of 40 to 100 mm. Additional product features include full automation capability with feeding from the company's stick or spool feeders; a touch screen user interface with diagnostics, password-protected recipes, and machine parameters; and full bar code recipe setup, including tool tracking. The compact system is designed with a 50 × 50 × 35-cm footprint and weighs 25 kg.
ASG Medical Systems

Machine Solutions Inc.Automated stent-crimping system
Designed to perform automated PTCA stent crimping operations, the SC1775S system is optimized for high-volume manufacturers seeking advanced process control and integration with current MES. Manufactured by Machine Solutions Inc., the stent-crimping system is equipped with PLC control, an industrial PC HMI touch screen user interface, automated product handling, and networking capabilities. It is capable of storing up to 999 recipes and 20 stages per recipe. Postcrimp laser micrometer inspection, postcrimp image capture using a high-resolution camera, integrated bar code scanning, and integrated leak-detection options are also available. In addition, a proprietary film-head technology option protects drug coatings and polymer scaffolds during crimping. Product specifications include a crimp head length of 60 mm; an operating diameter range of 0.5 to 10 mm for thermoplastics and stainless steel; and an operating force range of 10-100, 20-200, or 20-300 lb. The system also features a diameter accuracy of ±0.25 mm, a force accuracy of ±1% of full scale, and a repeatability of ±0.4% of full scale.
Machine Solutions Inc.

PlasticWeld Systems Inc.Catheter Hole-Drilling System
Suitable for catheter production, the HPD-6 semiautomatic hole-drilling system developed by PlasticWeld Systems features a stainless-steel cabinet and precision-machined components. Utilizing Oriental Motors linear actuators and Omron PLCs that can store up to 50 unique hole-pattern programs, the system has an intuitive operator program that enables virtually limitless combinations of hole patterns with distance and rotation inputs for each hole, according to the company. The system incorporates a proprietary collet clamping mechanism for positively orienting multilumen tubes and a blow-off and vacuum system for ejecting and capturing drilled tube slugs. With nominal dimensions of 24 × 24 × 19 in., an operating electric power of 110 V, and a compressed-air rating of 80 psi, the standard-configuration system can drill along a 6-in. length of tubing. Customized units can drill along tubes of any length.
PlasticWeld Systems Inc.

VanteCatheter manufacturing system
Providing fast cycle times, repeatability, and a compact footprint, the semiautomated Saffire catheter manufacturing system from Vante consists of an RF generator and one of two forming platforms. The model 4200 RF generator features a large touch screen that allows operators to clearly view operating cycle parameters and temperature feedback. Selection of a forming platform is determined by insertion force requirements; the 4210H platform has a slide insertion force of 9.3 lb at 30 psi, while the 4210L unit has a slide insertion force of 3.2 lb at 30 psi. Capabilities of the system include taper, radius, soft, closed-end, and dilator tips; flaring; neck-downs; butt, overlap, and braid-to-nonbraid welds; single and multilumen tubes; balloon tips and welds; and marker band embedding and placement. It is suited for a variety of applications ranging from IV products to endotracheal tubes.

Blockwise Engineering LLCStent-crimping machine
Suited for volume production, the PLC-controlled Model RHN stent-crimping machine provides process flexibility by allowing a sequence of diameter- or force-controlled steps defined in the selected recipe. Progression of steps can be automatic with programmable delays or programmed to wait for a user to press the index button or footswitch. In addition, each recipe may consist of 20 steps; up to 50 recipes can be stored in the PLC. At the core of the system is the High-Force Twin-Cam radial compression station featuring hardened stainless-steel dies that form a cylindrical opening ranging in diameter from 0 to 60 mm. Also integral to the system are a stepper motor that provides power to open and close the compression station, an integrated encoder that measures the diameter of the opening, and a force transducer that measures the actuating force. Available options include vacuum/pressure supply or heated dies.
Blockwise Engineering LLC

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