Lately, braided and coiled (also known as braid and coil reinforced) shafts have been a trending topic in the world of medical devices. With the growing popularity of complex minimally invasive surgeries and the rising demands of procedural requirements, the need for shafts with tighter tolerances and improved characteristics has increased drastically. So, this week, we interviewed our experts at Biomerics Advanced Catheter to learn more about braided and coiled shafts and the capabilities Biomerics has to support companies in this innovative field.
What procedures/applications can braided shafts be found in?
Braided and coiled shafts can be found in a number of applications throughout the neurovascular, peripheral vascular, coronary vascular, structural heart, and electrophysiology markets.
“If the procedure requires the placement or guidance of a device within the body, a braided or coiled shaft will most likely be used,” explained Bill Alexander, Director of Business Development at Biomerics Advanced Catheter.
What are the advantages of braided shafts compared to non-braided shafts?
According to Bill, “With many minimally invasive devices, the goal is to produce a tube with the largest possible inner dimension (ID) and lowest possible outer dimension (OD). When done correctly, this enables the passage of larger devices through smaller incisions.
“Braided and coiled shafts allow companies and engineers to achieve this goal. By utilizing braiding and coiling, shafts can realize thinner walls while also improving the pushability, steerability, torque, and non-kinking features that non-coiled shafts lack.”
Where do manufacturers typically run into problems when they begin producing shafts?
“Manufacturers can run into a wide range of problems when designing, developing, and producing braided and coiled shafts,” explained Bill. “If a company doesn’t have engineers with the right experience and expertise, problems can be encountered at any step in the manufacturing process. Operations such as thermal bonding, reflowing, and braiding are all specialized skills that take years of experience to learn and understand—add to that knowing how to successfully terminate a braid, understanding etch quality extrusion capabilities, and material science expertise, and the opportunities for mistake increase quite a bit.”
What should companies look for when choosing a braided shaft contract manufacturer?
“The first thing I’d recommend when choosing a braided and coiled shaft sourcing partner is to find out how many engineers they have on staff, and what type of experience they have,” remarked Bill. “Sometimes the application requires certain bend, handle, or ‘smart’ features, and the complexity of the project increases significantly. This is why it is imperative that the engineers working on any braided or coiled shaft project have the necessary manufacturing experience and expertise.
“Another thing companies should look for when selecting a sourcing partner is R&D capability. What kind of equipment, if any, do they have dedicated to R&D? Some applications require advanced production equipment, like extruders and braiders, for R&D—if a manufacturer doesn’t have these things, costs can increase quite a bit. There are many suppliers out there who can produce a basic shaft to a print but that don’t understand the clinical application or need. The question that has to be asked is: Is the manufacturer really addressing the design intention of the customer and the device? Only a handful of manufacturers have a cross-functional R&D staff that have the capabilities necessary to develop and produce a world-class shaft that meets the demands of the application. With more and more medical devices requiring ‘smart’ features for sensing and ablating, sophisticated engineering with iterative development to meet the stringent market specifications are needed.
So, when searching for a sourcing partner, don’t just look for a manufacturer. Look for a company that has the manufacturing and design capabilities necessary to deliver a complete, innovative braided or coiled shaft.”
How can Biomerics help?
With numerous years of experience in designing, developing, and manufacturing “smart” minimally invasive devices, Biomerics Advanced Catheter is a pioneer of braided and coiled shaft solutions. As one of our core technologies, we pride ourselves in being the braided and coiled shaft sourcing partner for many of the industry’s leading companies. We utilize a cross-functional team to develop and manufacture a wide range of shafts with varying materials, braid reinforcement, and configurations to meet the most exacting torque, kink resistance, lubricity, flexibility, and strength specifications.
For more information, give us a call (1-801-355-2705), send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org), or visit the braided and coiled shafts section of our website.
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