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Article | March 31, 1995
Thermoformed tray is a hit for Target
The FasTRACKER(TM), introduced last May by Target Therapeutics, is a disposable catheter tray system that protects a single catheter from abrasion and crimping and maintains a sterile barrier.
It measures 11 1/2" x 9 1/2" and is thermoformed from 40-mil extra-impact polystyrene sheet by Plastofilm Industries (Wheaton IL). Snap-fit into the tray is a high-density polyethylene coil in which the catheter resides. To flush the catheter with saline solution required before use hospital personnel can attach a syringe to the port of the HDPE coil while the catheter is still inside the package. "The tray acts as a work area while holding the components in place" says Bill Horkins packaging engineer for the Fremont CA company. Color coding and product identification labels allow Target to use the same basic package for more than 30 different catheter SKUs. The final components in the tray two rotating hemostatic valves fit into a recessed area near the bottom. Since all components snap into place no lidstock is required. Instead the filled tray is placed within a Tyvek®pouch that's heat-sealed and then put into a paperboard carton. Plastofilm's thermoforming process requires an advanced-design tool that uses an intricate water cooling system as well as top-mold plug assist vacuum draw and air-actuated ejectors that are used to remove the tray from the tool. "It's tough to get them off the mold" admits PI's production tool and model shop manager Todd Buck. "There's about a 30° backdraft and you can't expect to pull the material straight off these undercuts. The plastic tends to stick to the mold. To remove them cleanly we put a perimeter stripper around each cavity actuated by an air cylinder on the bottom half of the mold."
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