Extrusion Firms Combine on Novel Catheter Shafts

Adam Spence and Microspec combine to offer catheter shafts that are more efficiently produced and mechanically sound

Two medical extrusion innovators are combining technologies in a move that will reportedly enable catheters to be produced more efficiently and with greater mechanical integrity.

The agreement between Adam Spence, Wall, N.J., a leading manufacturer of reinforced catheter shafts for vascular technologies; and  Microspec Corp., Peterborough, N.H., permits Adam Spence to supply reinforced catheter shafts with Microspec’s proprietary multi-durometer extrusions.

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"This partnership...bodes well for customers seeking to enhance performance while lowering costs,” says Steve Maxson, v.p. marketing and sales at Adam Spence

The most common method of constructing a catheter shaft—for example, one with four different discrete length sections of varying durometers— ​​​​​​consists of laminating the four tubing sections together over the braided shaft in a re-flow process. For instance, 35D and 40D soft TPE tubing (such as Pebax) would be used for the distal segment, and stiffer 55D and 72D TPE tubing for the proximal segment.

Microspec’s inline multi-durometer extrusion technology, however,  “allows two alternating durometer sections to be joined continuously during the extrusion process ensuring gradual transition from one durometer to another,” explains Timothy Steele, Microspec founder and CEO. “The length of each section can be programed into the extrusion process per product specification”.

The combined distal and the combined proximal sections are then laminated together reducing the number of bond joints from three to one. “This process will increase productivity, reduce overall costs and improve the mechanically integrity of the catheter shaft”, notes William Li, senior catheter engineer at Adam Spence.

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