Medical Tubes Made Easier for Assembly

New features on the PML extrusion lines facilitate medical device assembly downstream and the production of intravenous (IV) tube overall.

Tube surface treatment, pre-cuts, optimized cooling and digitalization are working in favor for higher efficiency.

A surface finish

Maillefer has added features to its extrusion technology that result in a PVC tube surface with lower adherence. A smooth and glossy IV tube surface has the undesirable effect of surface tackiness. The coil winding and later unwinding operations are slowed as a result. By treating the tube surface during extrusion, a positive gain is felt on the extrusion line speeds and on the following device assembly operations.

Long, short or both

Several conditioning possibilities are available from our PML line: full length coils, individually cut short lengths, or coils with separable short lengths built-in. The classic method calls for tubes of long length wound into coils through use of a fully automatic dual coiler at the end of the extrusion line. The delivered coil is then unwound and cut into individual lengths during the assembly step.

Another solution is to collect short lengths for assembly by cutting the tube directly at the end of the extrusion line. In this case, there is no need for a coiler.

Finally, an innovative third solution combines both methods. A full length tube is partially cut into short lengths before reaching the coiler. The advantage is to have easy-to-handle tube on coils, yet have short separable lengths ready for assembly.

Optimization in a digital world

In addition to the above, the performance of the PML extrusion line has been improved. For example, we have optimized the cooling section and its footprint on the shop floor. The line is typically geared for a constant uninterrupted speed of 300 m/min. Even in compact layouts, high speeds are attainable with reliability and product quality.

Extrusion capabilities are expanded. Certain customers require the ability to process TPU and TPE as an alternative to PVC. Maillefer screw and barrel designs offer the optimum processing solutions for the more recent formulations. In terms of tube constructions, we propose both single as well as multi-layer extrusion heads with or without striping.

The entire line is designed and built to the strict requirements of the medical device industry. Available control systems include process monitoring, data logging, event alarms, recipe storage, scheduler, report generator and video monitoring. Plus, with Smart Monitoring, the doors of digitalization are opened into an Industry 4.0 environment.

Thanks to cooperation with the world’s leading medical device manufacturers, innovations on IV tube surface finish and for conditioning are available. Advantages are speed increase and product optimization that are carried over to the manufacturing processes located downstream.

 

Philippe Giovangrandi
Technical Director Pipe & Tube
philippe.giovangrandi@maillefer.net

Topics: Product quality, Maillefer, Performance, Extrusion, Innovation, Pipe & tube manufacturing

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