Catheter Design

Laser cutting is an excellent option for rendering catheter design. Fabrication experts can develop and manufacture single and multiple lumen catheters as well as guide wires that are used in a variety of medical specialties and clinical applications. The goal of these services is to deliver high-quality products that provide optimal torque, tracking and flexibility without kinking. Catheter design and laser production services are ideal for the following medical devices:

  • Optical endoscopic devices
  • Medication delivery systems
  • Organ-specific biopsy catheters
  • Stent and heart valve delivery systems
  • Electrophysiology (EP) mapping devices
  • Central and peripheral vascular catheters
  • Cardiac and endometrial ablation devices
  • Cardiovascular balloon catheters
  • Dilator and introducer sheaths
  • Radiofrequency devices
  • Neurosurgical devices
  • Surgical guide wires
  • Urological catheters
  • Diagnostic tools

Advanced experience is critical during the catheter design process. Experts take products from conception to completion. Engineering teams work with CAD files provided by the client or assist during the design process. They also adapt and grade catheter design for all applications.

By reviewing goals for each product line, the design firm can evaluate production options and predict possible outcomes based on the catheter design, material and laser cutting process. A full exploration of multiple iterations ensures a high rate of success for projects.

Medical Device Prototyping and Production

State-of-the-art laser cutting and micromachining capabilities add value to general and specialized catheter designs. On-site prototyping slashes lead times and expands production capabilities so that clients can test multiple materials, designs and processes quickly. Laser cutting and micromachining is precise, repeatable and cost effective. With multiple fabrication systems available, the completed products will meet or exceed the most demanding specifications. There is no better way to put a catheter design to the test and evaluate its performance. Here are a few of the advantages of laser cutting and prototyping services.

  • Compatibility with most wall thicknesses and outer diameters
  • Accuracy tolerance within 5 microns or .0002 inches
  • Kerfs as small as 17 microns or .0007 inches depending on the wall thickness
  • Precise results on tubing with diameters as small as 254 microns or .01 inches
  • On- and off-axis cutting for producing complex shapes and features accurately
  • Low-temperature, non-contact cutting to reduce thermal distortion and stress

Medical Device Finishing

When developing a catheter design, finishing requirements and processes should always be considered. Non-contact laser cutting produces perfectly smooth edges that improve comfort and safety. Additional polishing, buffing and resurfacing is generally not needed, but secondary coatings can improve the product’s performance in the final application.

Laser-cut edges are naturally burr-free on biocompatible metals like stainless steel, platinum and alloys containing cobalt, chrome, nickel and titanium. Similar results are achieved on products made from vinyl, latex, silicone, polyurethane and polymers. Here are a few finishing options that can improve the catheter design and overall function.

  • Precision laser drilling for single and multiple lumens
  • Reinforcement via laser bonding, welding or fusing
  • Annealing to increase tensile strength and reduce material weaknesses
  • Hydrophilic coatings to prevent mineralization and to improve comfort
  • Ergonomic molding and shaping for the tip and flexible tubing

Nitinol Catheter Design and Medical Devices

A large portion of catheter design and manufacturing services involves nickel and titanium (NiTi) alloys. These unique materials, which are marketed as nitinol, memory wire or several trademarked names, are a popular choice for minimally invasive catheters and stents due to their high-performance properties, extreme flexibility and exceptional shape memory.

For example, vascular scaffolding stents made from nitinol are collapsed during catheterization and fully expanded when they are installed. Catheter design is developed specially for this application. When cut with lasers, micro- and nano-radius nitinol guide wires perform optimally during catheterization.

Nitinol offers the flexibility of engineered polymers and the durability of metal. For roughly 90 percent of end users, nitinol is highly biocompatible. Medical-grade silicone, polyurethane, polyethylene and PTFE are viable alternatives for end users with known nickel sensitivities. Catheter design also employ the following materials:

  • Coil-reinforced tubing provides enhanced kink resistance and superior strength at high pressures.
  • Value-added braided tubing is intended for applications where performance and durability are critical.
  • Laser-cut hypotubing is ideal for angioplasty and procedures where large-diameter, thin-walled catheter design with superior strength are required.
  • Synthetic polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) tubing functions as a thin yet durable liner for reinforced catheters.
  • Multi-durometer tubing has a combination of rigid shaft material and flexible sections to provide greater control.

Biocompatibility data and compliance certifications should be available for each material. Laser cutting and finishing services are usually performed in a clean room that meets all regulatory requirements.