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A so-called intelligent balloon tubing extrusion system has been developed by Gimac (Castronno, Italy), a maker of microextrusion equipment for the medical manufacturing sector.

Norbert Sparrow

April 17, 2014

1 Min Read
Gimac unveils smart medical balloon extrusion system

The iLoon—i for intelligent and loon for balloon—is a complete integrated extrusion system with built-in intelligence, explains Gimac's Simone Maccagnan. "It contains everything a medical manufacturer needs to produce balloon tubing, from extruder and conveyor to the die-head, bath, and puller and cutter," says Maccagnan. Medical device manufacturers had their first look at the system at MEDTEC Japan earlier this month, but, adds Maccagnan, it is still in its infancy.

"The iLoon is a baby right now and is not yet able to do some of the things for which it has been designed," says Maccagnan. "But the iLoon grows fast! Before the end of the year, it will start to simplify the life of catheter balloon tubing extruders."

Currently, the system allows operators either to load a preset product part number from a database or enter a small set of critical inputs, including the material being processed, outer and inner diameters, cut length, and required elongation, by means of a user interface, explains Maccagnan. The iLoon determines tooling requirements and displays process steps to the operator.

The system is enclosed in a laminar-flow housing and includes continuous UV-light sterilization and water treatment systems.

It is designed to communicate with compatible up- and downstream analytical and testing systems, monitoring material viscosity, moisture content, and other properties, and it can even interface with customer relationship management systems and send out job updates, says Maccagnan.

Gimac plans to bring a more refined version of the iLoon to next year's MD&M West event in Anaheim, CA. Prepare to be wowed.

Norbert Sparrow

Norbert Sparrow is Senior Editor at PlasticsToday. Follow him on twitter @norbertcsparrow and Google+.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.


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