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The central importance of polymer surface coatings for optimised production in the field of medical engineering

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Medical engineering is a crucial sector that demands precise and reliable solutions. A clear example of how polymer surface coatings are increasing efficiency in this sector can be seen in the important work carried out at our Origgio plant for an international company specialising in the production of blood-filtration devices.

The key role of thermal clamps in the medical industry

Thermal clamps are crucial components in the manufacture of blood-filtration devices used in medical engineering. These devices are designed to perform two essential functions: firstly, they firmly secure the bundle of hollow fibres used to create the filters, guaranteeing structural integrity. Secondly, through heating, they join the fibres together, creating a stable bond. The operating temperature of these clamps typically reaches 275°C. During the production process, they work at high speed, performing six cycles per minute, and maintaining the pressure for five seconds. These parameters represent important challenges because guaranteeing that the thermal clamps are efficient and reliable is essential for the quality and reliability of the final medical devices.

Manufacturing challenges

It is easy to imagine how these extreme conditions can generate problems that negatively impact manufacturing. In fact, the customer contacted us to handle the high level of adherence of materials to the clamps, which resulted in plastic residues being deposited and blocking up the clamps. This often translated into certain points in the fibre bundles being less compact, compromising the quality of the final product. Furthermore, the original coating required frequent maintenance, causing production downtime and additional costs for replacement of the thermal clamps.

PlasmaCoat®: polymer coatings for an effective solution

An innovative solution was adopted to overcome these challenges: PlasmaCoat® coating over the entire surface of the thermal clamps. This coating has significantly improved the situation by enabling easier release of the materials, reducing plastic residues on the clamps. In addition, it has increased the average useful life of the clamps from three to nine days, with peaks of up to 12 days. Application across the entire surface has also enabled use of both sides of the clamps, further extending useful life.

Another improvement has been achieved by structural change to the clamps themselves. A small channel has been added to collect residues of excess material, avoiding accumulation in the clamp opening. This simple change has significantly reduced problems associated with plastic residues.

Success through technological innovation

This case study demonstrates how the application of advanced polymer coatings, detailed technical expertise and close attention to detail are essential to improve efficiency and productivity in critical sectors such as medical engineering. These solutions enable companies to optimise production processes and offer high-quality products with a positive impact on the lives of patients.

The Argos ST Group works constantly to develop and apply innovative solutions to complex challenges arising in sectors like that of medical engineering.