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Articles from 2001 In October


In Brief

Originally Published MPMN October 2001

In Brief

Admix Inc. (Manchester, NH; www.admix.com) has acquired the Boston Shearpump line of sanitary high-intensity in-line mixers from Copek Industrial Products (Belmont, MA; www.shearpump.com). Operations and manufacturing will be consolidated at the Admix facility in Manchester....CDC Solutions (Conshohocken, PA; www.cdcsolutions.com), a provider of multichannel content delivery for regulatory and enterprise-scale publishing, has announced a formal alliance with First Consulting Group (Wayne, PA; lifesciences.fcg.com), a multinational supplier of information-based strategic consulting, integration, and management services. The joint venture will provide integrated content management solutions designed to meet the business needs of submission assembly and publishing in the life sciences industry....Davis Standard (Pawcatuck, CT; www.davis-standard.com) and Nordson Fiber Systems (Dawsonville, GA; www.nordson.com) recently entered into a strategic alliance that combines the fiber extrusion technologies and expertise of both companies. Davis Standard manufactures nonwoven fiber equipment and Nordson Fiber Systems produces precision dispensing equipment....Klöckner Capital Corp. (Gordonsville, VA; www.klockner.com) has announced that Klöckner Bartelt Inc. (Sarasota, FL) is no longer for sale and will remain a Klöckner-owned company. Klöckner Bartelt is a supplier of pouch packaging and cartoning machinery....A supplier of high-volume power-supply automated testing equipment, Chroma ATE Inc. (Irvine, CA; www.chromaate.com) has acquired some assets of Advanced Power Designs Inc. (Irvine, CA; www.vxibus.com) and has formed a new company, Chroma System Solutions Inc. The new company will be responsible for sales and support of power-supply ATE systems, electronic loads, ac and dc sources, power meters, and VXI power products....Illinois Tool Works Inc. (Glenview, IL; www.itw.com) and The Texwipe Company, LLC (Upper Saddle River, NJ; www.texwipe.com) have recently announced the signing of a definitive asset purchase agreement. Under this agreement, Illinois Tool Works (ITW) will acquire Texwipe. The acquisition will strengthen ITW's product offering of contamination control supplies....Plassein Packaging Corp. (Willington, CT; www.plassein.com) has changed its name to Plassein International to better represent its focus on merchandising and performance engineering solutions for specialty film applications....AST Products Inc. (Billerica, MA; www.astp.com) has signed a joint venture agreement with Hunter Urology Ltd. (Devon, UK) under which Hunter will manufacture and market urology products for intermittent self-catheterization. Part of the agreement includes an exclusive licensing arrangement for urinary ISC catheters to be coated with AST's hydrophilic, lubricious, and antimicrobial coating.

Katherine Sweeny

Copyright ©2001 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Internet Update

Originally Published MPMN October 2001

Internet Update

Site Upgrade Enables On-line Polymer and Chemical Purchasing

www.bayerone.com

Bayer Corp.'s Web site has been expanded to allow extensible mark-up language (XML) transmission for receiving and processing polymer and chemical purchase orders. BayerOne is an on-line, private exchange that users access at www.bayerone.com to manage their accounts with Bayer's polymers and chemicals businesses. The addition of XML capabilities allows the company to integrate its supply-chain systems with customers' order data. It also allows users to access customizable tools on BayerOne such as order history, shipment track and trace, and product safety data.

Educational Welding Web Site Updated

www.pro-fusiononline.com

Dedicated to welding processes and techniques, a Web site offers information on optimizing welding in specific applications. Found at www.pro-fusiononline.com, the site has been recently renovated to include streaming videos of parts being welded, on-line software to compute welding parameters, and tips on topics that range from tungsten preparation to gas purity. Users can register at the site to receive welding technology updates.

Servo Product Site Integrates Selection Tool

www.kollmorgen.com

A new Web application allows users to conduct a preliminary search of servo products to determine the viability of a product solution. The product selector, located at www.kollmorgen.com, simplifies and quickens the initial qualification of servo products to reduce time spent in determining product applicability. The tool also provides immediate access to the most up-to-date database of current products. Used in conjunction with Motioneering, the company's dynamic-analysis sizing software, the product selector enables the user to search a large database of motor and drive products by one or more performance and feature parameters. Motioneering can be used after the product selector search has been concluded to perform a more detailed analysis based on machinery and motion requirements.

Katherine Sweeny

Copyright ©2001 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Components Offer Good Breathability, Adhesion, and Cushioning

Originally Published MPMN October 2001

Components Offer Good Breathability, Adhesion, and Cushioning

The Inspire line of medical components from Rexam Engineered Films provides good control characteristics for wound-care applications.

Rexam Engineered Films (South Hadley, MA; www.inspirecomponents.com), a manufacturer of materials and components, has developed the Inspire medical components product line. It includes a standard range of polyurethane films, foams, adhesives, hydrogels, and composites that offer a variety of performance characteristics geared to supporting and enhancing modern moist wound healing.

Polyurethane chemistry is employed with many other materials to create the desired wound-dressing characteristics. The line features more than 20 products that are designed to deliver control characteristics including good moisture vapor transmission rates, a range of adhesion properties, good coefficient-of-friction properties, and high impressive wear profiles conformability. The company is currently researching new technologies to develop products for new wound dressings.

"With our current and planned range of Inspire products, we are capable of supplying high-performance materials with virtually no concern for order volume," says medical marketing manager Peter S. Walker. "At the same time, we can control manufacturing costs and keep order-to-delivery times down."

Katherine Sweeny

Copyright ©2001 Medical Product Manufacturing News

X-Ray Theft-Detection System Steals into Hospital Trauma Unit

Originally Published MPMN October 2001

X-Ray Theft-Detection System Steals into Hospital Trauma Unit

The Lodox x-ray system from Lodox Systems Ltd. uses a movable C-arm scanner to increase speed and limit exposure to radiation.

Technology developed to catch diamond thieves may soon be found in an array of applications that require quick, low-emission x-ray imaging of large objects. Commercialized by Lodox Systems Ltd. (Sandton, South Africa; www.lodox.com), the Lodox x-ray system has its roots in equipment used to perform full-body imaging of diamond miners.

To overcome the limitations associated with repeatedly scanning a large number of workers, the Lodox machine uses an x-ray imager mounted to a movable C-arm to scan an object the size of a human body in about 13 seconds. Because scanning is performed in one continuous motion, the system is faster than most stop-and-start machines, and produces approximately 25% of the radiation. Images are output digitally with resolution up to 4.2 line-pairs per mm. A gray scale function with 16,000 levels optimizes contrast.

Though initially designed for use with humans, the system's creators say that the machine is suitable for rapidly scanning any large, complex-shaped object with minimum exposure to radiation. Currently, the Lodox system is undergoing clinical testing in a South African hospital trauma unit where it is being used to diagnose serious injuries within seconds of a patient's arrival. FDA approval for the product is expected in the first quarter of 2002.

Zachary Turke

Copyright ©2001 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Cold-Gas Molding Slashes Cycle Times

Originally Published MPMN October 2001

Cold-Gas Molding Slashes Cycle Times

This gas-assisted injection molder is equipped with a cryogenic heat exchanger that may increase productivity by as much as 40%.

A gas-assisted injection molding (GAIM) process developed by scientists at Warwick University (Coventry, UK; www.warwick.ac.uk) uses cold air to increase production rates by as much as 40%. Like standard GAIM methods, the Kool Gas procedure reduces cycle times by injecting air into the mold to displace unnecessary material from a part's core. Unlike conventional processes, however, this method first cools the gas to a temperature of –170°C. "This temperature differential allows the dramatic improvement in cooling times," says researcher Gordon Smith. In addition to quick cycle times, the Kool Gas process also allows detailed manipulation of the thickness of part walls. "Because the gas goes in at such a cold temperature, it cools the surface of the molded product very quickly and allows greater control of wall thickness than previous meth-ods." Among many other applications, the Kool Gas procedure could be used to produce medical tubing with very smooth internal bores.

Zachary Turke

Copyright ©2001 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Nickel-Free Shape-Memory Alloy Introduced

Originally Published MPMN October 2001

Nickel-Free Shape-Memory Alloy Introduced

A titanium-based shape-memory alloy is constructed without nickel to increase manufacturability and eliminate some biocompatibility concerns. With material properties that fall between standard titanium and nitinol alloys, the new material from Memry Corp. (Bethel, CT; www.memry.com) offers elasticity in situations in which allergies prohibit the use of conventional shape-memory metals. The material has a strain recovery of 3.5%; most nitinol products can bend up to 8%, and titanium devices, 0.6 to 0.8%. In addition to elasticity, the new material also offers the benefit of being easy to weld and join.

Possible applications include orthodontic and implantable and nonimplantable surgical devices. According to CEO James Binch, the material can also be used to make orthopedic devices. "Because it is biocompatible and offers greater elasticity than normal titanium, it is a very close match to bone structure, even those areas that flex."

Zachary Turke

Copyright ©2001 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Schurter Licenses Duraswitch Technology

Originally Published MPMN October 2001

Schurter Licenses Duraswitch Technology

Designed by Duraswitch Industries Inc., this PushGate switch will be marketed worldwide by Schurter GmbH.

A German manufacturer has licensed technology from Duraswitch Industries Inc. (Mesa, AZ; www.duraswitch.com) to expand its portfolio of piezoelectric, mechanical, and membrane switches. With a product line that includes switches, keypads, circuit-protection devices, and connectors, Schurter GmbH (Endingen, Germany; www. schurter.de) has secured the rights to manufacture and distribute PushGate, thiNcoder rotary, and other Duraswitch products worldwide for a period of two years. PushGate switches combine the tactile qualities of discrete switches with the thin profile of membrane units. ThiNcoder products, on the other hand, allow design engineers to integrate rotary and push-button switches on the same thin package.

According to Duraswitch CEO Terry Dunlap, these switches have many applications in the medical industry. "Our switches are perfect for medical devices. They provide a crisp feel when activated, even when gloves are worn, and can be sealed to increase sterility." Other benefits include a design that allows surface mounting on flexible circuits, eliminating the need for soldering and wire harnesses. Duraswitch is a technical research and design firm that specializes in testing and engineering new technologies.

Zachary Turke

Copyright ©2001 Medical Product Manufacturing News

PolyOne Modernizes Plastics Manufacturing Sites

Originally Published MPMN October 2001

PolyOne Modernizes Plastics Manufacturing Sites

A $12-million investment will improve services related to PolyOne's engineered materials, vinyl compounds, and colorants.

An international polymer services company has invested $12 million in new technology and equipment to upgrade its North American plastics manufacturing network. Allocating the money among several locations, PolyOne Corp. (Cleveland; www.polyone.com) says the modifications will improve services related to engineered materials, vinyl compounds, and colorants. The sites selected for reconfiguration are product-focused manufacturing centers located in Avon Lake, OH; Dyersburg, TN; Macedonia, OH; and Seabrook, TX. "These manufacturing centers are dedicated to helping manufacturers determine the correct polymers to make their products quickly and efficiently," says director of corporate communications Christopher Farage. Up to nine new manufacturing lines and 65 jobs will be added as part of the upgrade. A new information system to support these locations will also be installed. Polyone has announced that it will supplement these investments with an additional $33 million over the next two years. Following these modifications, the company will close the engineered materials plants located in Bethlehem, PA; Corona, CA; and Houston, TX. These closings are expected to occur in the second half of 2002 as production is gradually transferred to the upgraded locations.

Zachary Turke

Copyright ©2001 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Power Supply Enables Multiple X-Ray Tubes to Be Tested Simultaneously

Originally Published MPMN October 2001

Power Supply Enables Multiple X-Ray Tubes to Be Tested Simultaneously

Del High Voltage, a member company of the Del Power Conversion Group (Valhalla, NY; www.delhv.com) has custom designed a high-frequency power supply that enables an x-ray tube manufacturer to test multiple tubes simultaneously, on an independent basis.

"We needed a processing power supply that could handle different products simultaneously, so that we could include some of our smaller- quantity products in the regular test cycle without having to hold up a whole piece of equipment," says James Funk, a principal engineer at Dunlee (Aurora, IL; www. dunlee.com). "Del created a power supply for us that successfully simulates field conditions but is durable enough to withstand the production environment."

The 80-kW system provides a continuous power source, is water cooled, and enables independent high-voltage selection and control over as many as four individual tubes and filaments with individual tube current and filament monitoring. The unit is one-fifth the size of linear power supplies, yet produces 60% more power. It is self-protected against voltage reversal, overvoltage, overcurrent, and power-line interruptions.

Two units have already been delivered and a third is currently in production.

Susan Wallace

Copyright ©2001 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Paper-Thin Flexible Batteries Create New Design Options

Originally Published MPMN October 2001

Paper-Thin Flexible Batteries Create New Design Options

Possible medical applications of the flexible batteries include diagnostic sensors.

Flexible batteries that are safe enough to eat may soon increase design freedom for a host of disposable products including medical sensors that require thin and environmentally friendly power sources. Eliminating the bulky metal casing that often prohibits miniaturization, these new batteries from Power Paper (New York City; www.powerpaper.com) consist of a biologically safe manganese dioxide core encased within a flexible polyester housing. This construction is not possible with conventional power sources, which contain hazardous chemicals that must be contained. "Traditionally, it has been the metal case of a battery that has limited design freedom," says CEO Baruch Levanon. "But since our batteries don't pose a threat to either humans or the environment, we can use a plastic housing that lets us make smaller products in almost any shape."

Power Paper products work like standard batteries and have a range of features. With a 1.5-V core chemistry and a capacity of 2.5 mA/cm2, units can be constructed in most shapes and sizes to a maximum power output of 12 V. The flexible components are 0.5 mm thick and can bend up to 90° without affecting functionality. Acceptable operating temperatures span –20° to 60°C. Other features include a shelf life of 2.5 years, compatibility with radiation and EtO sterilization processes, and a flat discharge curve.

The batteries are produced using a modified screen printing method that combines several wafer-thin layers into a single flexible package. This package is then pasted or laminated directly onto the substrate of the finished product. With dimensions ranging from 1 sq in. to the size of a sheet of A4 paper, there is a battery available for most applications. While the process currently requires special equipment, company officials say it will soon be possible to produce these products using standard printing presses.

Medical and diagnostic sensors are among the many products that stand to benefit from this novel technology. Levanon says Power Paper batteries are ideal for these products because the power sources "provide optimal performance at the body's temperature and humidity conditions." Possible sensor applications include continuously reading thermometer patches; wireless electrodes; and glucose, pH, bilirubin, and coagulation monitors. Drug-delivery systems that use iontophoresis to accurately supply medication are another potential application.

Devices that incorporate Power Paper batteries are currently in production and are expected to reach store shelves by the end of the year. Manufacturers have the option of licensing the technology to produce the batteries at their own facilities, or purchasing finished units from Power Paper's subsidiary Thinergy Ltd. (Hong Kong).

Zachary Turke

Copyright ©2001 Medical Product Manufacturing News