Model LX Stent Loading Machines

Model LX Machine Base

A full-featured radial compression machine used to load self-expanding stents into delivery catheters.
  • Powerful and intuitive interface
  • Optional “Powerfeed" capability that propels stents through the compression station
  • Very flexible "sequence-of-steps" recipe setup

LX loading machines use Blockwise Zero-G radial compression mechanisms, with plastic dies and nearly-zero die-to-die gaps. Like the CX crimping machine, the LX uses and high-end microcontroller-based closed-loop crimping control, with Blockwise’s unique compliance compensation system, resulting in the best diameter and force control available in a plastic-die crimper.

A stepper motor opens and closes the compression station. An encoder measures the diameter of the opening. A force transducer measures the actuating force, which is proportional to the radial compression force. Knowledge Base: Crimping Diameter and Force Control

A complete stent loading machine includes a Model LX machine base and a radial compression station. Model RJ is compatible with a variety of Blockwise radial compression stations which are chosen based on the diameter and length of the stents to be processed.

The model LX crimper is a refinement of the previous Blockwise model RFL. Process recipes running on the RFL machine can be directly transferred to the CX, step-for-step, with the same results. Improvements in the LX machine are: touch-screen for more convenient operation, better accuracy of diameter and force control, better reliability, additional step types for quality checks, and easier calibrations.

Optional Add-ons

Auto-Pushrod System


A pushrod is attached to a versatile clamp that is driven by a linear actuator. The recipe controls whether the pushrod moves at a constant speed, or chases the stent with a constant force.

Catheter Gripper


Holds the catheter next to the compression opening while the stent is loaded inside. The tapered lock system makes alignment automatic and reliable. Custom bushings and molded gripper pads keep your product held securely in place.

Liquid Nitrogen Bore Cooling


Allows the stent to be cooled prior to crimping, helping stabilize the stent struts or reducing the radial force of the compression stage.

Liquid Nitrogen Catheter Cooling


Liquid nitrogen is sprayed on or in the catheter as the stent is pushed inside, reducing the radial forces and friction while loading.

Powerfeed

Powerfeed is a compelling option available on the LX base. When enabled, dies move back and forth along the axis of the stent in a way that propels the stent through the compression station. This essentially eliminates the issue of friction between the stent and compression station, which is typically the bottleneck in a stent loading process.

HMI Capabilities

A touchscreen HMI (Human/Machine Interface) allows the user to enter settings in “recipes” that specify a sequence of diameter or compression force “steps”. Depending on the options installed, the recipe may also control pushrod position, or cooling temperature. Calibrations and gauge checks are easy. Manual mode allows direct commands without a recipe. Engineering, maintenance, and manual functions may be password-protected Knowledge Base: LX Loader Screens and Recipe Setup

Recipes can be easily entered or changed on the recipe editing screen. Each recipe contains a sequence of steps that are executed in order.

Operation is initiated by pressing the START button or the foot switch. The machine sequences through a series of “steps” defined in the currently-selected recipe. Progression of steps can continue automatically, or wait for the START button. There may be up to 50 steps in each recipe, and up to 300 recipes. There are 7 types of steps. Knowledge Base: Example Self Expanding Stent Loading Process

  • Up to 300 recipes
  • Up to 50 steps per recipe
  • Easy calibration
  • Password access to critical settings
  • Manual mode operation
  • Error reporting and logging
  • Export recipes to USB drive for backup or transfer
  • Optional barcode scanner for recipe selection

Calibration or checking of diameter and force is very quick and easy. Only one pin is needed for diameter. Calibrating the diameter does not necessitate a force recalibration, or vice-versa. Checking or calibration of pressure or temperature requires customer-supplied reference instruments.

The LX requires no maintenance. The radial compression mechanism also requires no maintenance - just keep the mechanism clean. Do not use in a dusty or dirty environment. You may clean the mechanism by blowing with compressed air. You may clean the center opening with 99% isopropyl alcohol on a lint-free swab or cloth. The plastic die tips eventually wear out. The die life depends strongly on the customer’s product and process settings. The die tips can be replaced at the Blockwise factory.



Required Installation Connections – Model LX

Description Physical Specs Functional Specs
Electric Power Powers the control system, HMI, heaters, etc. C13 Coupler (IEC 60320) 95~125 VAC or 220~250 VAC - 50/60 Hz - 10A
Compressed Air Powers the Gripper, Powerfeed lock, etc. (see Knowledge Base: Compressed Air & High Pressure Gas Connections) Instant Tube Fitting Accepts ¼-inch OD Plastic Tube Regulated to 6.8 to 8.5 bar (105 to 125 psi)
Liquid Nitrogen Liquid Nitrogen for cooling bore or catheter. Female NPT 1/8 (ANSI/ASME B1.20.1 1/8) Max 1.5 bar (22 psi)

Model LX with Powerfeed™ Compression Station

Blockwise’s most capable stent loader. The feeding action of the dies eliminates the problem of friction in the compression mechanism and pushes with the entire length of the stent, instead of just at the back. Excels at loading long length or difficult to load stents. Most commonly it is combined with an automated pushrod system and catheter gripper.

Diameter Length Max Radial Force Die Material
0-29 mm 225 mm 1435 N Ertalyte TX or PEEK

Model LX with Zero-G™ Compression Station

Basic stent loading system for stents with light radial force that push easily. Dies have minimal gaps throughout the diameter range. This machine can be configured with a manual pushrod holder for a simple setup, or the auto-pushrod system for automated loading.

Diameter Length Max Radial Force Die Material
0-30 mm 62,124,150,225 mm 1000 N Ertalyte TX or PEEK