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When Hearts are on the Line: Integrated Catheter Inspection

Intergrated Catheter Inspection



Wire braid reinforced catheters have many applications, and some are used to perform lifesaving procedures.  Like all medical devices, much effort and focus is directed at quality assurance.  When we were approached by a manufacturer responsible for producing catheters used for heart valve placement, we were eager to help.

Wire braiding in a catheter can enhance many characteristics, including torque transmission and column strength while maintaining the necessary flexibility.  Only with consistency in the braiding pattern, can a catheter perform predictably as part of a medical device.  Because in this case, with the catheter being an integral tool in a heart procedure, it was critical that the tubing behave reliably, consistently, and precisely as designed.  Consistency in the braiding provided for the most accurate and reliable placement of the valve, and of course, variations in the braided structure could result in errors that might be life-threatening.

The catheter design demanded inspection at multiple points along the tubing.  In addition, thorough inspection required viewing from various angles.  Because of the size of the features, manually evaluating the images was not practical, particularly for meeting production demands. In order to rapidly analyzing images, our team developed a custom algorithm, capable of counting peaks and valleys to validate precise per-inch crosses of the wire braid.  This algorithm, combined with custom TruView™ Prime X-ray inspection system, was integrated seamlessly into their manufacturing line.  The inline design, fitted with a rotation device is able to provide automated inspection of all areas of interest at multiple angles.  By incorporating 3D laser scanning, the system is simultaneously capable of inspecting the outside of the tube as well.

The result was fast and highly accurate validation of these life-saving devices.  If your quality assurance challenge demands a Creative solution, please reach out to our team today. We look forward to working with you.

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