greater range or combinations of physical properties.
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The new materials we are testing have new or improved additives that affect strength and flexibility (e.g., nanoparticles). Also,
new radiopaque compounds are coming into the market as well
as different additives to change the surface properties (lubricity or
ability to provide for surface coating).
Ken Koen: We extrude various durometers of polyamides, polyurethanes, polyolefins and polyethelenes. We extrude barium and
bismuth loaded materials as well as various FDA-approved colors.
Lately customers have been experimenting with lubricious additives.
We have been working closely with polymer scientists to compound
commonly used materials with these lubricious additives.
Most lubricious additives are proprietary but the purpose
would be to increase catheter movement or tracking in the vascular anatomy. Most soft materials tend to be tacking on the surface
which can be a problem. With the introduction of these additives
to these materials we can maintain the same performance and
decrease surface friction.
Apur Lathiya: Silicones are used for implants such as ICDs
(implantable cardioverter defibrillators) or pacemakers because
they have good biostability. Silcones used for both short and
long term applications, in wound drainage for surgeries and in
intracranial pressure catheters. Where you want biostability and
relative softness, it works well. For thermoplastics, depending on
where they are used because there’s such a variety, a lot of it is
used in vascular applications because they provide good pushability, torquability and flexibility. Polyurethane has great durability so it’s also used in long term implant applications. It softens
in the body so it’s used for dialysis products. What material you
choose is really application-specific.
Tim Lynch: Polyimide is the material on which our business
began in 1987. Polyimide is a top-of-the-line plastic in terms of
strength, and our process enables us to produce very small, thin
wall tubing to very tight tolerances. Since that time, braiding and
coiling have been added for the purpose of reinforcing the tubing
in specific ways. Coiling can add kink resistance, crush resistance
and flexibility. Braiding offers column strength and torque and
can also vary the flexibility of a tube. Plastics are generally chosen for one of three reasons in a catheter; lubricity, flexibility or
compatibility. Most recently, customers have been using additives
in an effort to improve lubricity of many plastics. MicroLumen offers tubing in polyimide, PTFE, pebax, urethane, nylon and many
other materials. MicroLumen’s PTFE liners seem to be gaining acceptance in the marketplace for their thin, yet lubricious, nature.
Since engineering and manufacturing the
equipment used in balloon catheter manufacturing, Interface Catheter Solu�ons has
evolved alongside new medical applica�ons
with the development of over 2,300 balloon
designs and the next genera�on equipment
to support full catheter manufacturing.
Sean Lynn: Demand for minimally invasive procedures has
increased the need for specialized tubing for catheters that deliver stents, stent grafts, and other medical devices in the body.
Gone are the days when the standard catheter process was to
jacket a coiled wire. Designers and manufacturers of modern interventional catheters, like Teleflex Medical OEM, are challenged
with a demand to achieve what seem like contradictory performance characteristics simultaneously. This can include performance characteristics such as strength, and flexibility or trackabil-
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