Published November 16, 2004
Volume 12, Number 11

Innovative Extrusions Builds Components for High-Tech Medical Devices

Innovative Extrusions
Clarence Williams, president of Innovative Extrusions, oversees the
operation of the complex machinery used in creating medical catheters.

By George Walsh
Special to NETWORK

Minimally invasive procedures are a wonder of modern medicine. Curing major medical problems such as clogged arteries can now often be done with the use of high-tech tools that can have patients up and around in a few days. The instruments that enable physicians to perform these feats are made possible not only by the inventors and builders of medical devices, but by companies like Innovative Extrusions at 5627 Stoneridge Drive, which makes specialized components that are a part of them.

“We’re a medical device component supplier that offers services that involve plastic extrusions, such as tubing for medical catheters,” says Clarence Williams, president of Innovative Extrusions. “We also build balloons that are catheter-based for surgical procedures like angioplasties. We’ve been in business for a year as of December, starting out here in Hacienda. Many medical device companies are outsourcing a lot of the parts that go into their products. It costs a lot more to maintain certain services like ours in-house so they look to us to outsource the types of components we specialize in.”

Extrusions are done by starting out with raw pellets of the specified material and then turning them into a tube or balloon of a certain specific diameter in a procedure reminiscent of the way pasta dough is squeezed through a hole to make different types of noodles. Extruding materials like thermoplastics into precisely made medical device components, however, requires heat, special equipment, and a lot of experience. The tubes need to have not only a very specific outer dimension, but a just as accurately formed inner dimension.

“We do multiple kinds of extrusions using any kind of thermoplastics that are available, Williams says. “We have a couple of larger companies that build nothing but catheters, including coronary catheters. We also have some specialty customers that just do guide wires that require tubing, which are also used for coronary procedures. These companies make the devices that are sold to the hospitals. We supply some of the components that they use to make the devices, including shrink tubing, balloon tubing, and balloons made to the specifications they need in terms of size, material, diameter, and even color.” All of the manufacturing that Innovative Extrusions undertakes is done in-house at its Hacienda facility. Currently the company has three employees on staff and two working on a contractual basis.

Williams is hopeful that the devices he makes will have an impact on the medical community, even though many people may not know that companies like his exist. “You see a lot more hospitals going toward using catheters instead of surgery for certain procedures because it turns something that would have been a major operation into an outpatient procedure. Everything is going toward using minimally invasive procedures because the doctors can just run the catheter in, do what they need to do, and pull it out. The patient can usually go home in a day or two. Hopefully, things like open heart surgery will one day be a thing of the past.”


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