Apex, North Carolina -- Polyzen Inc. says it has identified an unmet need in the medical device arena, developing a polyurethane material that can be extruded as a small diameter ultra-thin-wall tube.
Polyzen has built on its background in polymer processing, and expertise in urethane formulation to develop these tubes, which can be used as a disposable sheath for fibre optics, for example, or be made small and thin enough to pass through a 3mm ID channel for a diagnostic scope.
Lay flat tubing is most commonly exploited in packaging applications. Typically these tubes are extruded using an olefin based material, such as polyethylene, in widths above 1.5 in (about 4 cm). Polyzen, however, has identified a need in certain medical uses for a special polymer, urethane or nylon, which is less than 1 in lay-flat width and a relatively thin gauge.
"Polyzen has perfected the extrusion process for small diameter, thin walled lay-flat tubing," said Rubin Shah, director of business development. "Expanding our capabilities beyond more ubiquitous higher thickness tubes has given Polyzen a clear advantage over its competitors," he adds.
The lay-flat process makes a seamless tube, which can be delivered in continuous rolls and cut to any size. Applications for lay-flat tubing are extensive; in the medical realm, is its now being used to construct sheaths to be used as barriers for colonoscopes, endoscopes, speculums, probes and many other devices requiring protection from moisture, blood, or bacteria prevalent within the body.
These sleeves provide a cost advantage over the current practice of extensive cleaning or reprocessing.
Polyzen's capabilities include making thin-wall tubing with a gauge ranging from 0.001 in - 0.005 in with a tolerance of +/- 25 percent of thickness. Small diameter lay-flat tubing can be extruded at widths of 0.25 in up to 3 in. All extrusions are done in a class 10 000 clean-room.
Polyzen makes critical disposable components and devices, and claims to be an innovator in processes such as dip-moulding, thin-film RF welding, and medical balloon technologies in medical device circles. Its extrusion capabilities cover flat-die and blown film types, co-extrusion and lamination.