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A catheter coating test system developed by consultancy Nexus IE (Witchford, UK) allows engineers to perform a single test to determine the lubricity and effectiveness of specific coatings or to evaluate coating durability via repeated testing of the same device.

The fully automated test system was developed for medical device coating supplier BioInteractions (Reading, UK). It will have its global debut for medical device manufacturers at MD&M West, co-located with PLASTEC West, in Anaheim, CA, in February 2018.

The BIOFriC 1000 is designed as an easy-to-use, dedicated system to measure the coefficient of friction of coated catheters in R&D labs as well as product manufacturing environments. In addition to testing the slipperiness of coatings and their longevity, the system can also be used to verify the performance of a manufacturer’s product coating process or for more efficient batch testing of final products, according to the consultancy.

“Nexus IE has designed the new BIOFriC 1000 system to work with BioInteractions products and to provide our customers with a fast and reliable assessment of how specific hydrophilic coatings can enhance product performance,” explains Biointeractions Chief Technical Officer Alan Rhodes. “BioInteractions can now supply both the coating and test system that will enable medical device manufacturers to more easily assess different coating and catheter combinations while reducing their development timescales and costs when bringing innovative new products to market.”

The system accommodates catheter lengths up to 500 mm in diameters up to 20 mm. The top of the catheter is held in a pair of serrated jaws and is pulled vertically upwards with a known force and at a maximum speed of 50 mm per second using a clamp fitted with specialized silicone rubber pads. The required pulling force is then used to calculate the coefficient of friction for the device under test, explained the company.

A touchscreen integrated with a recipe-based control system allows operators to specify the speed, distance and number of cycles required per device, or to store and recall the required process conditions for specific production batches. Data from multiple runs can be stored for viewing or exporting, or for integration into a production management system.

BioInteractions offers a range of biocompatible coatings including innovative hydrophilic materials that have been specifically developed to enable easier catheter insertion and removal, and to minimise the risk of tissue damage and patient discomfort both during and after a procedure.

Nexus IE specializes in the assembly of specialized electromechanical systems and serves the medical device, pharmaceutical and other technological sectors.


The BIOFriC 1000 system will be introduced to the global medical technology community next year at MD&M West, the world’s largest medical manufacturing trade show and conference, in Anaheim, CA, on Feb. 6 to 8.

PLASTEC East returns to the Javits in New York on June 9 to 11, 2020. The event is co-located with Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) East, along with shows devoted to automation technology, packaging and design. Go to the event website for additional information and to register to attend.

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