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Las Vegas Show to Feature Advanced Packaging Technology



Las Vegas Show to Feature Advanced Packaging Technology

Billed as an exhibition of the most advanced packaging equipment and technology in the industry, Pack Expo Las Vegas 99 will be held October 18­20 at the Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas. The sponsor of the event, the Packaging Machinery Manufacturers Institute (PMMI), anticipates a show of record-setting size, with more than 600 exhibitors occupying over 300,000 sq ft of floor space.

More than 15,000 people are expected at Pack Expo Las Vegas 99, to be held October 18ן20.

Besides stopping at all those booths, attendees can drop in on Solutions 99, an interactive conference program featuring hot trends in packaging and processing. Sessions will feature experts speaking on various issues and offering advice on packaging and processing programs.

For more information, visit PMMI's Web site.


Study Predicts Surge in Demand for Oxygen Therapy Equipment

By 2005, the number of people who require home oxygen therapy is expected to grow from 1.3 million to 2.5 million, creating a lucrative business opportunity for companies that produce technologically advanced oxygen therapy equipment, according to a report by Frost & Sullivan, a Mountain View, CA, marketing consulting company that monitors the healthcare industry.

The report, entitled U.S. Oxygen Therapy Device Markets, evaluates industry segments such as concentrators, liquid-oxygen systems, compressed-gas systems, oxygen conservers, and regulators. Principal areas of research include identification of industry challenges, market engineering measurements, strategic recommendations, planning, and market monitoring.

The report is available for $2950. For more information, visit Frost & Sullivan's Web site.


RIM Material Passes the Drill for Dental Instrument

It was a cutting-edge product in search of a cutting-edge look.

Developed by the Midwest Dental Products Division of Dentsply International (Des Plaines, IL), the AirTouch cavity detection and treatment system cuts through material on the teeth with aluminum oxide particles delivered by pressurized air. When considering the housing for the AirTouch, designers at Dentsply Midwest decided that they wanted a material that could be formed into complex curves that would present a high-tech appearance. They also wanted a material with good structural properties, strength and impact resistance, and large-part capability.

The high-tech-looking housing of the AirTouch cavity detection and treatment system is made of the Prism CM-200 solid polyurethane RIM system from Bayer Corp.

Dentsply Midwest worked with Chicago design firm IDEO Product Development and molder Premold Corp. (Oconomowoc, WI) to find a housing material that was up to the job. "We worked with IDEO to find a replacement for sheet-metal and vacuum-formed parts," says Kenneth Schweitz, president of Premold Corp.

That replacement turned out to be the Prism CM-200 solid-polyurethane reaction injection molding (RIM) system from Bayer Corp. (Pittsburgh). "The combination of the Prism RIM system's attributes—its good structural properties, impact resistance, strength, and cosmetics—made it the material of choice for this application," says Schweitz. He adds that the Prism RIM system is easy to work with and resists the formation of shrink marks on the surface of the product.

What's more, the RIM process was more economical than the alternatives, Schweitz notes. "In one case, it was less expensive by a factor of 10 compared to injection molding, because of the complexity and size of the part. And compared to vacuum forming, the Prism system requires fewer secondary operations."

For more information on the Prism CM-200 RIM system, call 800/622-6004 or visit Bayer's Web site.


New Digital Hearing Aid Features Tiny Tantalum Capacitor

Tiny capacitors are critical components in one of the world's smallest digital hearing aids, a device so tiny that it can fit into the ear canal.

The Natura digital hearing aid from Sonic innovations Inc. (Salt Lake City) uses a proprietary digital signal processing technology with nine independent digital audio channels to process and amplify sound. This allows the Natura to be fine-tuned to compensate for hearing loss anywhere on the spectrum of sound frequencies.

Sonic innovations' tiny Natura hearing aid features a super-small circuit board with a TACmicrochip capacitor from AVX Corp.

One of the key components used in the design of the hearing aid's miniaturized circuit board is the TACmicrochip from AVX Corp. (Myrtle Beach, SC). This device, which provides high bulk energy storage, is the world's smallest surface-mount tantalum capacitor, according to AVX.

"There were tough challenges in implementing the Natura's revolutionary multichannel digital design," explains Bill Vierow, technical marketing manager for AVX. "The space constraints demanded an unprecedented degree of miniaturization in our components. We are pleased that our advanced technology hit the mark for such an important innovation in the medical field."

For more information about AVX products, call 843/946-0414 or visit the company's Web site.


Rapid Growth in Demand Seen for Minimally Invasive Cardiothoracic Surgery Products

Minimally invasive cardiothoracic surgery (MICS) products and procedures are rapidly penetrating the traditional cardiothoracic surgery market, according to a report from Medical Data International (MDI; Santa Ana, CA). The 394-page report, called U.S. Markets for Cardiovascular and Cardiothoracic Surgery Devices, predicts that the market for MICS products and services will reach an annual growth rate of almost 40% over the next few years.

The report analyzes markets for products used in open-heart and minimally invasive surgery. Major topics include prosthetic heart valves, prosthetic vascular grafts, and vascular and cardiac repair patches and fabrics. Also included: an overview of emerging diagnostic technologies related to cardiovascular disease management, market forecasts through the year 2003, and profiles of 24 major companies in the field.

The report is available for $3850. For more information, call MDI at 800/826-5759 or visit the company's Web site.


Business and Acquisition News

The board of directors of Baxter International Inc. (Deerfield, IL) has approved a plan to spin off the company's $1 billion cardiovascular business to Baxter shareholders on a tax-free basis. The spin-off will create a new publicly traded company headquartered in Irvine, CA. . . . Medical device maker Guidant Corp. (Indianapolis) has completed the sale of its general surgery business to United States Surgical (Norwalk, CT), a division of Tyco Healthcare Group LP. Financial terms were not disclosed. . . . Chicago firms First Chicago Equity Capital and Garrett Capital Advisors LLC announced that they will form a global cardiopulmonary products company by combining three acquisitions in that field. These are the assets of the cardiopulmonary products division of C.R. Bard Inc. (Murray Hill, NJ), certain assets of the cardiosurgery business of Minntech Corp. (Minneapolis), and Surgimedics Inc., a closely held company headquartered near Houston. . . . Thermedics Inc. (Woburn, MA), a manufacturer of implantable heart-assist devices and other biomedical products, has acquired the German medical products company Erich Jaeger GmbH for approximately $42 million. . . . Smith & Nephew Inc. (Memphis), a subsidiary of London-based worldwide healthcare group Smith & Nephew plc, has signed an agreement to acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Exogen Inc. (Piscataway, NJ), a supplier of noninvasive ultrasound devices that accelerate the healing of bone fractures. The transaction values Exogen at approximately $68 million. . . . Plexus Corp. (Neenah, WI), which provides contract design, manufacturing, and testing services to the electronics industry, has completed its merger with SeaMED Corp. (Bothell, WA), a maker of electronic medical equipment. Under the merger agreement, SeaMED became a wholly owned subsidiary of Plexus. . . . Advanced Surface Technology Inc. (Billerica, MA), a producer of coatings and surface treatments for the medical industry, has announced an agreement to acquire the Plasma Science line of plasma products from BOC Coating Technology (Fairfield, CA). The acquisition allows AST to supply plasma systems to the medical market.



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