Filaments, Fibers and Yarns:
Considered the building blocks of textiles, filaments, fibers and yarns form the basis of all the shapes and components here at ATEX Technologies. All medical fabric development and production begins with selecting the correct medical grade fiber. Raw material resins are extruded into filaments to make a continuous yarn. Yarns can be extruded as monofilament or multifilament and the choice of which to use will depend on a number of factors such as required absorbency, strength, permeability, and overall dimensions to name just a few. Multifilament yarns can also be twisted to aid in abrasion or other desirable characteristics. It is also possible to texturize yarns to add bulk and stretch. The chosen post processing methods and parameters of a yarn will depend on key objectives such as thermal stability, lubricity, coverage, porosity, and surface area. Here at ATEX, we are fully vertically integrated in terms of PET and other thermoplastic polymers meaning that we extrude and then process our own proprietary material in house allowing us to control the quality of our product as well as minimize any supply chain risk to our customers. We have a Master File with the FDA for this material which can be leveraged by our customers during their regulatory process.
This is one of the most basic shape options we offer but even a cloth can be made with an incredible variety of features and from a wide variety of starting materials. In its simplest form, a flat sheet can be knit, woven, or nonwoven with the same fiber pattern throughout. We can also fabricate these into smaller or more complex cut components so you don’t have to. We manufacture custom die cut or laser cut components or cutouts to the exact dimensions required using one of the many cutting technologies we have in house. We also offer cutting on the bias to further optimize the features of a flat sheet. However, it is also possible to vary the structure within a sheet or panel to create regions that offer denser or more open pores thereby increasing or decreasing stretch ability. We may often get caught up in the length and width here as a primary dimension but let’s not forget the 3rd dimension…Thickness! When it comes to ultra-thin materials you have come to the right place. Flat sheets can be as thin as 40um but also exceed 2000um for some applications. It is also possible to create patterns, windows and pockets within the fabric to impart additional functionality. Our engineers can further customize the sheet by adding colored indicator lines or markers. The possibilities are endless!
Tubes and Tapers:
Tubes and Tapers can be created using our core technologies of knitting and weaving and are often associated with vascular grafts as the shapes lend themselves well to following the natural curvature of the venous and arterial vessels. Woven tubes and tapers tend to have the strongest construction with high resistance to dilatation and high burst strength. However, they do also tend to have a lower porosity. Knit tubes and tapers tend to be softer and more compliant but may have a lower burst strength overall. The major difference between the two forms is that the Taper will narrow to a smaller diameter much like a cone whereas the tube will have the same length and diameter dimensions throughout the component while also maintaining uniform density. Tubes can also be formed from a hollow braid or a nonwoven sheet and is the perfect solution for some clinical specialties. As with all of our textile components, tubes and tapers can be made using a number of materials and with a number of additional features such as crimps, sealants and markers.
Bifurcates and Trifurcates:
Closely related to the tubes and tapers described above, bifurcates and trifurcates are multi-appendage components that, again, are well suited for use in the branched vessels of the cardiovascular system. Bifurcates are woven tubes with a single diameter opening on one end of the component and 2 smaller diameter appendages on the other. A trifurcate would have three such smaller “legs” (or iliacs). Bifurcates, trifurcates and other complex components can be made by attaching individual customized elements to the main tube (body or trunk) of the product allowing for maximum versatility and precision in design and performance. Our ATEX engineers are highly skilled at developing intricate and highly precise components and can assist you with optimizing your component for the best possible performance. Our expertise fabricating these complex structures and in transitioning them from a 2-dimensional to 3- dimensional complex component can be accomplished using in-house developed tooling to bring your specifications to life. Bifurcates and trifurcates can provide solutions elsewhere in the body as well and we encourage you to think “outside the graft”. We’re up to meeting whatever technical challenge you’re facing with our innovative textile engineering expertise.
Sutures, Tapes, Cords and Tethers:
This group of components is unique in their construction in that the basic forms are created by interlacing three or more yarns so that they cross one another to make a narrow strand, much like a rope. As with all of our other implantable textile components, sutures, tapes cords, tethers and cables can be made with a wide variety of materials. Construction can also vary considerably depending upon the desired physical and performance characteristics. Braiding is often the technology of choice in narrow shapes but we can also employ knitting or weaving to tapes or tubes. They can be made flat, round, tapered, bifurcated, made over a core and hollow (coreless). It is also possible to use a hybrid set of materials, often with different colors, lubricity, or modulus, to further enhance performance and visibility within the body. At ATEX, we are able to provide you with these components on spools and as assemblies with needles, anchor points and other terminations. Often, these materials are further processed at our customer sites to be used in suturing, as reinforcing cables, release cables, artificial ligaments and tendons and even as steering guides. Call us today to find out more about our capabilities in this area.
Others: (scaffolds, rings, donuts, loops etc.):
At ATEX, the sky is the limit when it comes to the complex shaped components we can provide. If you have a concept that requires a complex shape that others have been unable to master, why not talk to us? Our engineers are ready to share their vast knowledge of textile technology and clinical applications to help you bring your product to market successfully.