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Minnesota Medtech Week Innovation Prize Finalists Announced

With more than 462 votes in, our readers have selected the five finalists for the Minnesota Medtech Week Innovation Prize.

Qmed Staff

From a novel method of "printing" electronics to an affordable, professional-grade desktop 3-D printer, there will be an array of interesting technologies featured at the MD&M Minneapolis this year, held November 4-5. Read on to learn about the technologies that will be eligible for the Minnesota Medtech Week Innovation Prize.

Read about the five finalists (sorted in the order of votes they received) that will be featured in an "innovation tour" at the event. (Qmed and Medical Product Manufacturing News senior editor Chris Newmarker will lead an Innovation Tour out of the Expo floor CenterStage at Minnesota Medtech Week on Wednesday, November 4, at 11 a.m. Tour participants will meet the five Minnesota Medtech Week Innovation Prize finalists, and select the overall prize winner.)

1. Heraeus Medical Components (Booth #1205)

"Printing" Complex Electronics Encapsulated in Ceramic

Heraeus Medical Components (St. Paul, MN) says its CerMet technology could enable ever tinier implantable medical devices, including biosensors. The reason is that CerMet moves way beyond the older labor-intensive methods of brazing several individual metal pins into an insulating ceramic, according to Heraeus. Instead, a multi-layered printing process creates conductive, even 3-dimensional-shaped, channels into a ceramic matrix.

"Our innovation is enabled by a novel biocompatible platinum-based CerMet paste," Heraeus says. "The paste is filled into the cavities of a ceramic sheet using a state-of-the-art printing procedure--even [3-D printing] methods could be applied. After printing, the filled sheets are stacked, laminated, and co-fired to yield a hermetically tight and highly robust compound. Finally, individual parts are singularized and are ready for integration into a housing or a ferrule."

Feedthroughs are but one example of how Cermet is a leap forward, according to Heraeus: "Imagine a feedthrough with hundreds of conductive paths in an area as small as your thumbnail. Imagine a three-dimensional feedthrough with bifurcated or angled conductive paths. Imagine a feedthrough as small as the tip of a ballpoint pen."

2. Zeus (Booth #1105)

A Heat Shrink to Simplify Catheter Manufacturing

FluoroPEELZ is a fluoropolymer heat shrink from Zeus (Orangeburg, SC) that operators can easily peel rather than cut off from the catheter shaft after the reflow heating process in which the inner layers of the catheter are combined. Launched in February 2015 at MD&M West, FluoroPEELZ's advantages include reducing scrap, improving yields, and increasing worker safety--while decreasing the need for training, according to Zeus. Says the company: "Catheter construction is a delicate and costly process that leaves no room for error. The last step of removing the recovered FEP heat shrink over the outer shaft is often the most critical and laborious. One imperfection and the product goes to scrap, costing the manufacturer time and money."

3. Sunstone Engineering (Booth #1637)

A Faster, More Affordable Welder for Tiny Medical Device Parts

Released in January 2015, Sunstone's Orion 200i2 micro TIG (pulse arc) welder is able to control a wide range of power in order to permanently fuse together metal as fine as a piece of hair or as larger as most medical tools and instruments. It utilizes argon gas and a tungsten electrode to produce a plasma arc that fuses small metal parts of all metal types together. Sunstone (Payson, UT) boasts the Orion is a much faster and affordable option compared to laser welding.

Other Orion 200i2 features include an interactive touch screen interface, a space-saving design, and monitoring features to ensure the machine produce a consistent weld every time. Different modes allow the power to release in specific ways depending on what the desired outcome is.

4. Compounding Solutions (Booth #1257)

A Friction-Reducing Additive

Compounding Solutions in September 2014 introduced its Mobilize lubricious, friction-reducing additive, which it boasts can produce a 20-40% reduction in friction. Such reduced friction can reduce the amount of force required to insert or retract a device.

Mobilize can even allow the potential removal of FEP, PTFE, or HDPE liners during device processing, and can cut costs in half compared to traditional processes that utilize PTFE liners and hydrophilic coatings, according to the Lewiston, ME-based company.

5. Formlabs (Booth #311)

An Affordable Professional-Grade Desktop 3-D Printer

Formlabs--the four-year-old 3-D printer company that raised nearly $3 million in a Kickstarter campaign--is touting its new Form 2 stereolithographic 3-D printer as ideal for creating medical device prototypes. The Form 2 is a professional-grade desktop 3-D printer that costs only a few thousand dollars.

The Form 2 excels at producing intricate parts, thanks in part to its ability to use laser light to cure resin. TechCrunch referred to the Form 2 as the first refined consumer-grade SLA printer.

Qmed and Medical Product Manufacturing News senior editor Chris Newmarker will lead an Innovation Tour out of the Expo floor CenterStage at Minnesota Medtech Week on Wednesday, November 4, at 11 a.m. Tour participants will meet the five Minnesota Medtech Week Innovation Prize finalists, and select the overall prize winner.

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