ANAHEIM, Calif.—Trelleborg Healthcare and Medical developed tubing technology years ago that allows for complex designs, and it still continues to offer new possibilities for products such as wound drains and catheters.
Branded as GeoTrans, the extrusion technology also simplifies assembly and can shorten the design validation process, Trelleborg officials said at the Medical Design & Manufacturing West trade show.
The patented process can be used to separate one lumen into two, or combine two lumens into one, or change the dimension of tubing manufactured with high consistency rubber silicone, which has a grade strength that allows its shape to be changed.
During extrusion, cross sections of the tubing can be changed substantially by moving tool components.
"GeoTrans isn't new to the marketplace, but we have the ability to continue to refine the technology and make it more precise to meet our customers' needs," said Kevin Ehlert, segment manager of the health care and medical unit of Trelleborg Sealing Solutions, which is part of Trelleborg Group. "That's where we're going. We're applying it to new technologies and emerging applications,"
Another trend for the medical unit is ultra-thin catheters for neurological applications and wound drains, which consist of a tube and two components that can be extruded together.
Geometric transitions also are used to extrude bifurcated tubing—comprised of a two-lumen tube, two single-lumen tubes, and a molded hub—in one process.
While simple extrusion is faster, reducing the number of component cuts on the amount of assembly work needed could speed up the regulatory review, said Dan Sanchez, product manager for Trelleborg's health care and medical operations.
"With fewer components and secondary processes, the design validation step may be significantly shorter," Sanchez said. "The process for achieving compliance with international standards and regulatory requirements for a single part is also greatly simplified, due to risk mitigation."
In addition, the patient experience is improved because geometric transitions don't have assembled joints, which can weaken and fail, or internal misalignments that can interfere with the flow of fluids, Ehlert said.
The elimination of assembled joints increases component strength and the medical device's longevity, he added.
"Reducing the risk of separation or part failure gives the patient a more robust solution," Ehlert said.