Originally Published MPMN
Originally Published MPMN January/February 2003
HOTLINEDevice Automates Marker Band Swaging
Band-to-band position accuracy of ±0.01 mm is achieved
|Automated process equipment from MSI uses a proprietary segmental compression system to position and swage marker bands to balloon catheters.|
A developer of catheter-processing equipment has developed a marker band-swaging device that automates a meticulous manual process. Marker bands are compressed and secured to the inner member of a balloon catheter to facilitate visualization of the balloon and stent during clinical use. During the swaging process, an operator typically positions the tiny band by hand under a microscope or magnifying lens and attaches it by means of thermal bonding, adhesive bonding, or industrial roll swaging. These processes require the operator to precrimp the band using tweezers to prevent movement during attachment.
The swaging machine developed by Machine Solutions Inc. (MSI; Flagstaff, AZ) automates much of this operation. The operator simply places the band on the shaft and then inserts the shaft into the machine. The device automatically positions and swages the marker band based on parameters that were input into the system's PLC.
The machine's technology is based on the company's proprietary segmental compression mechanism, a series of segments operating together to provide uniform radial compression. The segments are machined as a single die, which grips, positions, and swages the bands. Precise positioning is achieved by means of a laser through-beam sensor system.
Specially designed rollers move the catheter shaft through the machine, while the band is held in the swaging head.
According to marketing director James Kasprzyk, the swaging device achieves a band-to-band position accuracy of ±0.01 mm. The mechanism "is delicate enough to attach the marker band without completely compressing the balloon catheter," he says.
"Our one-piece die closes to form a very accurate opening at very small sizes with no setup or shimming required," says Kasprzyk. "The machine combines the positioning process with the swaging, which reduces the overall manufacturing cycle time," he adds. In addition to short cycle times and accurate band positioning, machine features include minimal wear of die parts and clean operation.
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