ANAHEIM, Calif.—Trelleborg A.B.'s Sealing Solutions unit showcased its GeoTrans extrusion technology, seal-glide nanoscale coating and silicone sheeting capabilities at MD&M West, held Feb. 6-8 in Anaheim.
GeoTrans is an extrusion technology that gives Trelleborg the ability to adjust the cross-section of a silicone extrusion in a continuous process, eliminating the need for a secondary assembly, bonding or overmolding.
Drew Rogers, global director for medical at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, said the process can be made to both the inside and outside diameter, and includes different wall thickness of tubes.
"GeoTrans is a proprietary process we've developed that allows us to change the geometry of a tube on the fly," Rogers said. "We can adjust so it segues into a four-lumen tube. In the old days you would have extruded a four-lumen tube and a single-lumen tube and then assembled them by gluing them together. Now we can change from one to the other, going back and forth, and we can change material and configuration on the fly."
One application for this technology is pacemaker lead wires. Rogers said those involve threading a very thin tube into the patient's blood vessel. Medical original equipment manufacturers are constantly adding wires to this product. Rogers said products can contain as many as five wires in a single tube. That requires very small and precise tolerances for the wall thicknesses.
"It saves a lot of time and money by being able to produce these products in a single extrusion run," Rogers said. "It enables us to meet some pretty definitive applications. The more complex, the better we are. That's where other manufacturers start to fall out. We can do the typically hard-to-do stuff."
The firm's seal-glide is a very thin elastomer coating that's designed to reduce friction with a more lubricious surface. Rogers said it greatly reduces the coefficient of friction, improving elastomers' sliding properties for better seal performance and increased service life.
Trelleborg's sheeting capabilities range from high-consistency silicone rubber, liquid silicone rubber, gels, dispersions and adhesives. The firm can produce multiple silicones in multiple layers for a range of applications, including custom dermal adhesive gel products for wound management and scar reduction.
Rogers said another benefit from the sheeting is that silicone, when it's thin, is gas-permeable, making it great for membrane applications. They also can be made with reinforced fabric to help in suturing applications.
In wound care, doctors can lay a thin silicone sheet overtop to speed the healing and reduce scarring. Rogers said in the future these sheets will include an anti-microbial within the silicone sheet to reduce infections.
"The solutions we provide in sheeting are very unique," Rogers said. "It's a very good business for us."