PolyMedex Discovery Group has announced that it now offers custom melt filtration of polymers used to manufacture catheters and medical balloons. The company’s advanced melt filtration capabilities can remove more than 80% of gels and other contaminants whilst retaining the polymers’ inherent mechanical properties.
Today’s vascular devices require small-diameter catheter shafts with thin walls to reach new areas of the body with complex surgical tools. Thin-wall polymer balloons are attached to the end of these shafts and used to expand vascular pathways and to deliver stents for permanent support. Manufacturing the shafts and balloons requires advanced melt extrusion techniques that are dependent on polymers with substantially greater consistency and quality, notes PolyMedex.
Clusters of abnormally dense molecules that typically lodge within medical-grade polymers such as urethane are not always visible in pellet form. Yet these gels can disrupt flow during extrusion of thin-wall components since they do not fully melt during processing.
Traditional melt filtration technology has been capable of reducing gel contaminants larger than 200 µm, but this is not sufficient for new vascular device designs. Advanced melt filtration processes developed by PolyMedex for a range of polymers can remove gels as small as 20 µm.
Melt filtration is performed on a custom basis with materials including nylons, urethanes and Pebax thermoplastic elastomers.Norbert Sparrow