Spectrum Plastics Group and rapid prototyping for finished catheters
A Spectrum Plastics Group company has refined a rapid-prototyping technology so it may be used for finished catheters.
Vector+ allows customers to design a catheter component in any shape, and the company can produce it with the same speed and design of prototyping, according to Mike Schultz, vice president of operations for Spectrum’s Apollo Medical Extrusion, Sandy, Utah.
“Currently, catheter components are either injection molded or 3D printed. This is a huge roadblock in designing catheters,” Schultz said. “With only a limited number of materials that can be 3D printed and product design being limited by what shapes can be injection molded, a lot of product design is constrained by what’s achievable.”
Vector+ is fabricated from medical grade, USP Class VI and /or ISO 10993 certified materials and additives. It is thermally welded to the catheter, creating a seamless dimension that allows for a smooth, low profile, but high-strength transition, according to the company. Traditionally, such a process is limited to early prototyping through 3D printing. Vector+ makes it possible for the full-scale production of the component and catheter, leading to lower tooling costs and a fast track to manufacturing. By using the same materials for the catheter shaft and for the Vector+, customers reduce the numbers of materials in their device and thus reduce waste and material testing costs associated with catheter design and development.