STS Biopolymers (Henrietta, NY, USA), a polymer-based-coating supplier, and MCTec B.V. (Venlo, Netherlands) have merged into a single supplier of coating technology. Like STS Biopolymers, MCTec develops lubricious and drug-releasing coatings for devices such as catheters and stents. However, reel-to-reel wire- and tube-coating applications are MCTec's forte in the industry and will complement STS Biopolymers' dip and spray coating technologies. According to STS chairman Richard Whitbourne, the merger will lower clients' costs and expand both facilities' production capabilities. The reel-to-reel PTFE coating technology will be the primary factor in lowering costs, especially for guidewire manufacturers, Whitbourne adds.
In the guidewire manufacturing process, a fine metal wire is wrapped around a metal mandril and welded to each end to create a spring. Usually, the finished ensemble is then sent through an electrostatic spray to apply a Teflon coating.
MCTec's reel-to-reel method provides an attractive alternative to the electrostatic spray coating process for some manufacturers. A PTFE coating is applied to the fine wire before it is coiled around the mandril, making it unnecessary to coat the entire guidewire.
"By applying the coating on the wire ahead of time, the manufacturer not only eliminates a step in the manufacturing process, but is provided with a much more uniform coating," explains Whitbourne. "Things like corner cracking,
Teflon clumping, and wire stiffening are no longer concerns."
In addition to treating guidewires, MCTec applies PTFE or lubricious coatings to other medical components including electrostimulation devices, movable core wires, stainless-steel hypotubes, and other catheter tubes. STS Biopolymers hopes to integrate MCTec's high-speed reel-to-reel process with its services, which include the application of lubricious, hydrophilic, drug-delivery, and ultrasound echogenic coatings.
Both facilities will continue to operate and incorporate the technology of the other. A name for the newly formed company is yet to be determined. For more information, contact MCTec B.V., P.O. Box 9, 5900 AA, Venlo, Netherlands; phone: +31 77 3878369; fax: +31 77 3878230; e-mail: info@ mctecbv.com; Internet: http://www.mctecbv.com.