Medical Device Manufacturing: Minimally Invasive Catheters

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Catheters, a widely used medical device, are thin tubes usually made of soft plastic material that is inserted into the body. The human body presents challenges when medical devices must conform to morphological structures, varying thermal conditions and different strength and flexibility criteria. In order to achieve high-quality small process variations catheters must be designed to achieve consistently good experiences for doctors and patients.

There are four main types:

  1. Urinary Catheter Tubes – are used to drain the bladder and treat urinary tract infections. They are also used for issues of retention, incontinence and prostate surgery and are used intermittently or on-demand.
  1. Peripherally Inserted Central Catheters (PICC) – are a percutaneous indwelling port that provides intravenous access over time and remains inside the body.
  1. Central Venous Catheters – are central venous lines placed in large veins.
  1. Implantable Ports – have a small reservoir or port and are used to deliver chemotherapy or drugs to veins or to take blood samples.

Catheters are either non-hydrophilic (uncoated) and hydrophilic (coated). Other medical conditions treated with catheters include kidney infections, dementia, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries.

Advanced Technology and Material Science

Due to advances in technology and materials science manufacturing is constantly evolving and growing especially in equipment used for minimally invasive interventions. Catheter providers design, engineer, select material, prototype, test, validate, manufacture and assemble catheters.

Ever growing expectations of doctors, hospitals and patients challenges medical engineers to manufacture increasingly complex designs, prototypes and tooling with the latest materials. Engineers are making strides designing smaller devices that are less invasive but more precise and with tighter tolerance.

As a result, healthcare systems are seeing better patient outcomes, reduced hospital stays and a lower cost of healthcare.

Designers and engineers take into account biological, chemical and physical factors when choosing the best materials to use in manufacturing catheters. These materials must have the best hydrophilic coatings so that high lubricity is achieved and friction and insertion force can be controlled.

Catheter makers develop new vascular access products in hopes of providing increasingly better manoeuvrability and atraumatic experiences. All of the following variables play a role in creating the best products:

  • specifications
  • critical dimensions
  • functional performance
  • tolerance expectations
  • visual criteria
  • device maneuverability
  • flexibility
  • torque
  • miniaturization
  • antimicrobial resistance

Uniform & Repeatable Thermal Processing

Despatch offers highly uniform and repeatable industrial ovens that address the specific needs of catheter manufacturers. Key features include the ability to hang long catheter tubes inside the oven, vertical airflow to keep cross wind from blowing tubes around, tall configuration with a small footprint to save floor space, and stainless steel for clean processing. A cart with a rack for hanging catheters that can be preloaded is a valuable option that will improve productivity.

Despatch ovens cure and dry coatings and linings to ease discomfort of insertion by increasing the lubricity of the tube. Thermal curing improves adhesive bonding of ports and attachments. Annealing can be adjusted to provide variations in the flexibility and hardness of tubes depending on the application. The unique configurations provided by Despatch result in highly efficient thermal processing for catheter manufacturers.

Despatch manufacturers healthcare, medical device, optical and pharmaceutical ovens for:

  • Sterilizing medical devices and curing coatings
  • Curing surgical staples, catheters and medical device coatings
  • Implants
  • Drying
  • Curing parenteral drugs (human/veterinarian)
  • Sterilizing and depyrogenating glassware
  • Decontaminating materials entering aseptic areas
  • Ingestible drugs
  • Granulation drying prior to tablet and capsule manufacturing
  • Tablet coating drying and conditioning
  • CBD decarboxylation
  • Ophthalmic: curing optical and contact lens coatings
  • Optical: curing of anti-reflective coatings and hardness coatings

We hope this article has given you some insight and useful information about industrial process ovens for catheters. If you have questions, our skilled customer service team can assist you. To speak with them call 952.649.6529 or send a message.

Image by falco from Pixaba