Medical balloons are critical medical devices that require the highest manufacturing precision and quality. Balloon catheters, as an example, allow for a wide variety of diagnostic and therapeutic procedures; stent delivery, dilation of vessels, and clearing blockages. In order to meet the needs of minimally invasive medica procedures, medical balloons continue to get smaller in size. Even though they are trending in that direction, medical balloons must retain their strength and ease of use. Because of these needs, laser micromachining is playing a critical role in creating detailed, high-precision, medical balloon features.
Laser Micromachining in Medical Ballooon Manufacturing
Laser micromachining requires precision engineering. The experts team at Citrogene are more than capable of crafting custom medical balloons through our laser micromachining process. During the medical balloon manufacturing process, lasers remove material with micron-level precision, which results in a no-contact interaction with the materials. This allows lasers to create complex features that are difficult or impossible to do through traditional machining methods. The absence of heat-affected zones, known as HAZ, makes laser processing ideal for sensitive balloon materials. Lasers also provide sterile shaping processes that can be used to customize component geometries to match the various functions of the catheter.
Lasers are used in several ways to manufacture medical balloons. Here’s a few of the most common methods:
Laser ablation is the process of ablating (or vaporizing) material at the micron level to shaper or texturize medical balloon surfaces. For example, the surfaces of drug-delivery balloons can be shaped with lasers to create micro glass flow cells that will allow for flow channels and delivery of drugs or to provide a pathway for electrodes. Texturing using this method can improve the performance of the coating on the balloon or the underlying surface. Lasers are also used to correct variable wall thickness or remove material to improve performance parameters, such as flexibility.
The beauty of advance micromachining techniques means that engineers can laser-drill holes at a micron-scale in a variety of patterns with the utmost precision. This is especially useful for balloon catheters, as well as drug-delivery catheters; both of which rely on high densities of tiny laser-drilled holes to deliver drugs at a precise rate.
Quality Control is the Key to Success
If a medical balloon fails, it can severely impact a surgical procedure and/or harm the patient. Therefore it is of the utmost importance to choose a micromachining partner who will tirelessly meet the performance standards and manufacturing tolerances required for a medical balloon to function properly. Precision micromachining uses the latest tools to provide the highest quality, while also being able to manufacture products at scale without loss of precision.