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Graham Engineering, Conair swap extrusion equipment for medical tubing

Part of an ongoing collaboration in extrusion process development.


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January 6, 2016 by Canadian Plastics

As part of an ongoing collaboration in extrusion process development, Graham Engineering Corporation and The Conair Group are exchanging equipment that will be used in each company’s extrusion laboratory for development and innovation of technology for medical tubing.

Graham will provide a 1-inch American Kuhne ULTRA CR extruder with AKcess touchscreen to Conair’s laboratory in Pinconning, Mich. Conair will supply its latest MedVac vacuum sizing/cooling tank, a MedLine puller-cutter, and a MedLine take-away conveyor to be installed in the new, dedicated medical laboratory in Graham’s 150,000-square-foot headquarters and factory in York, Pa.

“Conair and American Kuhne have a long history of partnering on extrusion applications, not only on equipment, but also on expertise in process optimization, which is vital to the development and testing work taking place in our new medical laboratory in York,” said Steve Maxson, Graham’s director of global business development – medical. “Conair has been on the forefront of efforts to solve complex medical extrusion challenges such as non-contact and contact vacuum-sizing techniques for small bore medical tubing and cutter blade and bushing designs to effectively cut low durometer, difficult-to-feed small bore tubing.”

According to Maxson, the new medical laboratory will be working on developments including next-generation medical solutions for bioresorbable tubing for stent scaffolds, multi-layer structures for minimally invasive devices and for the delivery of drugs, gradient tubing, and continued development of the company’s proprietary automatic die-centering technology.

In Conair’s Michigan process-development centre, meanwhile, the new American Kuhne extruder will expand the complement of production-scale extrusion equipment installed. “This new extruder will expand our capabilities,” said Bob Bessemer, sales manager, medical downstream extrusion. “It is specially equipped to allow us to process fluorinated ethylene propylene, which is increasingly being used in tubing for critical medical applications.”

The extruder can also handle high-temperature materials like PEEK, and other medical grade thermoplastics including polyamides and polyurethane, Bessemer added.