Model VC Balloon Wrapping Machines

Model VC Machine Base

Blockwise’s production-proven air-actuated balloon wrapping (aka folding) machine, for pleating and compressing catheter balloons
  • Full recipe control over balloon wrapping process
  • Powerful and intuitive interface
  • Temperature-controlled stainless steel dies
  • Minimal maintenance with consistent results

The world’s most intuitive balloon wrapping machine pairs a high-performance microcontroller with a touchscreen HMI to provide complete and fully configurable balloon wrapping. Recipe control ensures ease of use for the operator, while a secure calibration and manual mode ensures easy recipe setup and R&D use.

Our workhorse balloon wrapping machine with microcontroller and touchscreen HMI provides intuitive and flexible control of the balloon wrapping process. Most process settings are under software control.

Pleating and compression stations are both actuated by air cylinders. Air pressure regulation provides force control of balloon compression. Alternatively, compression can be diameter-controlled by means of a mechanical stop screw.

A complete machine includes a Model VC machine base, a pneumatically actuated pleating station, and a pneumatically actuated compression station. The pleating and compression stations are chosen based on the balloon diameter and length. Our engineers will help you choose the best pleating and compression stations for your application.

Operating temperature is from ambient up to 100°C. Balloon inflation pressures can be set up to 100 psi. Model VC is available for both PTCA and PTA applications, in diameters up to 30 mm, and working lengths up to 310 mm. Pleating stations can be easily swapped on the VC machine base for product changeover Knowledge Base: Balloon Wrapping Basics

Custom Die Design is used for all pleating dies in the VC balloon wrapper. The customer is provided with a table to fill in the details of a balloon range, such as distal seal diameter, double wall thickness, inflated diameter, and desired number of wings. One or more stainless steel die sets are then designed to accommodate the largest end of the range. All dies are hardened and electropolished. Knowledge base: Pleating Dies Custom Design

A product carrier on a manually-powered linear slide holds the catheter and allows the operator to quickly align the balloon catheter to control which parts of the product are pleated and compressed.

The VC wrapping machine has been sold and continuously refined since 2007, with hundreds of machines now in service at about 100 balloon catheter manufacturing companies. Although the newer model VE with electric actuation was introduced in 2015, the VC is still being produced, refined, and supported as Blockwise’s mid-range wrapping machine.

HMI Capabilities

A touchscreen HMI (human-machine interface) allows the user to enter settings in “recipes” that specify a set of parameters for the balloon wrapping process. Pressure calibration and gauge checks are easy. Manual mode allows direct commands without a recipe. Engineering, maintenance, and manual functions can be password-protected.

The process is initiated by either the START button or the Simpluer switch, as desired. The machine prompts the operator to move the catheter through the pleating and compression stations. An information box shows the current state of the process.

  • Up to 100 recipes
  • Easy calibration
  • Password access to critical settings
  • Error reporting and logging
  • Manual mode operation
  • Optional barcode scanner for recipe selection

The pleat station open-stop indicator is easily calibrated without reference instruments. The pressure and temperature readouts may be checked using customer-supplier reference instruments. The manual includes step-by-step instructions.

The VC machine requires no maintenance. The pleating and compression mechanisms also require no maintenance - just keep them clean. Do not use in a dusty or dirty environment, and blow with compressed air. Clean the center opening with 99% isopropyl alcohol on a lint-free swab or cloth.

Required Installation Connections – Model VC

Description Physical Specs Functional Specs
Electric Power Powers the control system, HMI, heaters, etc. C13 Coupler (IEC 60320) 100-240 VAC 8A 50-60Hz
Compressed Air Powers the Simpluer connector, etc. (see Knowledge Base: Compressed Air & High Pressure Gas Connections) Instant Tube Fitting Accepts ¼-inch OD Plastic Tube 6.9 to 8.3 bar (100 to 120 psi)

Model VC (G) for Alpha-Pleat™ Stations

The most accurate pleating geometry in the world; Model VCG, with its smaller base plate, accomodates Alpha-Pleat™ stations for balloons up to 14 mm diameter and up to 124 mm overall length. Designed especially for PTCA-sized balloon wrapping, the patented Alpha-Pleat™ station has EDM-cut stainless steel dies that are self guided by extremely precise bearing balls, resulting in unparalleled geometric accuracy with virtually zero wear. The J-Crimp™ compression station relies on non-contacting dies with very small die-to-die gaps.

Diameter Length Number of Wings# Wings Die Material
1-14 mm 62 or 124 mm 2,3,4,5,6 Hardened Stainless Steel

Model VC (T) for Twin-Cam™ Stations

Model VCT uses a larger base plate that can accommodate the larger Twin-Cam pleating and compression stations, for balloon larger the 14 mm diameter or 124 mm length. The patented Twin-Cam™ mechanism ensures reliable and consistent pleating and compression, with very small die-to-die gaps, no die-to-die wear, and, uniform temperature distribution. The VCT machine base can also accommodate Alpha-Pleat™ and J-Crimp™ stations for pleating and compression.

Diameter Length Number of Wings# Wings Dia Material
1-30 mm 62-310 mm 2,3,4,5,6,8 Hardened Stainless Steel