A Medical Device Daily

Gentex (Zeeland, Michigan) has agreed to jointly develop materials for the medical tubing market with Natvar (Clayton, North Carolina), a subsidiary of Tekni-Plex (Sommerville, New Jersey).

Natvar will be granted a license to Gentex's Clearweld laser welding technology to compound, produce, and sell near infrared absorbing products in medical tubing applications.

The Clearweld process employs specialty infrared absorbing additives that are compounded directly into plastic resins to laser weld medical tubing and connectors. These laser-absorbing materials focus laser energy and convert it into heat. Localized heating at the interface of the laser and tube produces strong, hermetically sealed welds with minimal thermal and mechanical stress and no particulates making it ideal for medical applications.

This new technology will eliminate the need for solvents or adhesives used in assembly operations for many medical device applications today.

Clearweld was developed jointly by TWI (Great Abington, UK), an industrial research and development organization that specializes in material joining, and Gentex, which retains the sole right to commercialize the technology worldwide.

Gentex is a privately owned corporation with four operating units: Helmet Systems, Performance Materials, Respiratory Products and Electro-acoustic Products. The company makes high-performance products and systems for both the military and commercial markets with extensive research and development capabilities.

Natvar bills itself the leader in tubing extrusion technology for the medical and industrial markets. Natvar specializes in providing close-tolerance tubing components for such applications as intravenous therapy, hemodialysis equipment, cardiovascular procedures, urinary drainage, and catheterization.

In other agreements, Sirona Dental Systems (Long Island City, New York) a manufacturer of high-technology dental equipment, reported that it signed an agreement, along with its distribution partner Patterson Dental (St. Paul, Minnesota), to supply CAD/CAM restoration equipment (CEREC) technology to a minimum of 150 dental practices affiliated with Pacific Dental Services (Irvine, California).

Patterson Dental will deliver and install CEREC machines in Pacific Dental Services' affiliated practices throughout California, Nevada and Arizona over the next 24 months.

Sirona develops a complete line of dental products, including the CEREC, digital and film-based intra-oral, panoramic and cephalometric X-ray imaging systems, dental treatment centers and handpieces.

Patterson Dental provides a range of consumable dental products, equipment and software, turnkey digital solutions and value-added services to dentists and dental laboratories throughout North America.

Pacific Dental Services provides digital X-rays, digital charting, and secure online registration.