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Proprietary Extrusion Process Enables Variable Flexiblity of Medical Catheter Shafts
DAYVILLE, Conn.--Diagnostic and interventional catheter devices can be over 100 cm (39 in.) in length to reach vascular sites deep within the body. The forward, or distal, end of the catheter must be soft and flexible to navigate complex vascular pathways while minimizing trauma. The end held by the physician, or proximal end, must be more rigid to allow the physician to advance and steer the catheter shaft. These variations in flexibility can be achieved by changing materials, wall thicknesses, or shaft diameters along the length of the shaft. Medical device manufacturers have traditionally accomplished this by manually assembling and bonding segments along the length--a labor-intensive approach that increases costs and quality considerations.
An alternative recently became available in the form of Putnam Plastics Corporation's Taper-TieTM variable flexibility tubing, produced using a proprietary, continuous extrusion technology that's designed to replace the traditional manual assembly of segmented shafts and eliminate associated labor costs. Putnam's Taper-Tie technology is a continuous manufacturing method that produces a catheter shaft with variable properties along its length. The proprietary extrusion process can quickly change from rigid to soft grades for a designated polymer along the length of the shaft, while simultaneously reducing wall thickness. The result, according to Putnam, is a highly flexible distal end and more rigid proximal end in a single extruded tube.
"Taper-Tie technology is a continuous, lean manufacturing process," said Larry Alpert, Putnam's engineering services manager, in a statement. "Variable flexibility of the catheter shaft is optimized with less manufacturing steps, resulting in lower overall production costs."
Putnam Plastics (www.putnamplastics.com) provides advanced extrusion technologies--including thermoplastic and fluoropolymer extrusions and polyimide tubing--for medical catheters and minimally invasive devices. The company offers development through validated manufacturing services.
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