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EV3 Loses CEO, 13% of Stock Price

James Corbett has been replaced by Robert Palmisano as CEO and president and by Dan Levangie as chairman. EV3 shares have dropped 40% over the past year, mostly because of problems with integrating FoxHollow Technologies Inc., which it bought in October. The combined firm has seen declining U.S. sales of products that remove plaque from arteries. But Palmisano, who previously helmed IntraLase Corp. and Summit Autonomous and engineered successful sales of those firms, sees EV3's prospects as bright. He said that he thinks the firm's product offerings and strategies are sound, but that execution needs to improve. Piper Jaffray analyst Tom Gunderson, a longtime champion of EV3 and FoxHollow, agrees. FoxHollow was named one of MD&DI's Medical Manufacturers of the Year in 2005.

LED Multiplexer Brightens Up Medical Device Market

BREAKTHROUGHS

LED Multiplexer Brightens Up Medical Device Market
Stephanie Steward
ZoroLight combines red, green, and blue LEDs to produce white light, providing more lumens than white LEDs do.

The lights of bulky, heat-generating, bulb-based illumination sources are dimming compared with compact light-emitting diode (LED) systems that can last 10 to 20 times longer. Recognizing that few LED multiplexing modules were available to OEMs, Bookham Inc. saw the light at the end of the optical filter tunnel. Rather than using lenses to capture light in free space, it has designed its LED module to trap light in a tunnel of highly reflective dielectric-coated surfaces that are geometrically optimized for efficient light collection and filter performance.

The ZoroLight LED multiplexer uses proprietary Advanced Energetic Deposition dielectric thin-film optical coating pro­cesses and Z-filter combina­tion optics. “We believe we are the only company to offer a com­pact device that combines a filter and LED light source solu­tion bright enough for OEM ana­lytical applications,” says Ben Standish, product line manager, thin films division. Requiring less space than traditional free-space LEDs and xenon bulbs, the multiplexer is also less prone to accumulating dust and other contaminants that can compromise product performance, Standish adds.

Combining red, green, and blue (RGB) LEDs to make white light, ZoroLight multiplexing optics allow for color balancing and produce more lumens than white LEDs alone, Standish says. The pro­duct can be used instead of free-space lenses and dichroic color-combining filters used to generate RGB white light.

Using Luminus PhlatLight LEDs to output thousands of lumens at as many angles, the RoHS-compliant multiplexer can be used in medical products to provide visual illumination via fiber bundles and liquid light guides. Another potential application is as an LED light source for diagnostic analysis equipment.

“ZoroLight optics were designed to facilitate the use of LEDs in pocket-sized video projectors,” Standish says. “We have high-brightness designs optimized for use with [digital light processing] chips in video projection, heads-up displays, and other industrial applications. Many of these designs work equally well for medical applications.”

Ranging in length from 80 to 200 mm, the multiplexer is able to accommodate up to six LEDs and typically achieves a collection efficiency rate of 65 to 85%. Standish stresses that the company spent a considerable amount of time developing the technology’s core enabling optical filters—which are critical for attaining high efficiency rates. To meet the diverse needs of OEMs, the intensity and size of the multiplexer’s wavelengths are customizable. “Designs can be customized to include [ultraviolet]- and [near infrared]-wavelength LEDs in addition to visual wavelengths,” Standish adds.

Bookham Inc., Santa Rosa, CA
www.bookham.com

Copyright ©2008 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Novartis Buys 25% Stake in Alcon, with Option for More

KCI Pays $1.7 Billion for Biosurgery Company

Balloons Feature Latex Properties without the Risk

BREAKTHROUGHS

Balloons Feature Latex Properties without the Risk
Shana Leonard
Medical balloons made from latex extracted from a desert plant are safe for people with Type I latex allergy.

Conventional latex is used for a plethora of medical products ranging from disposable gloves to catheters. But, with latex allergy statistics continuing to rise, a host of hospitals are initiating a push to purge conventional latex from the healthcare setting. Tailoring its offerings to meet this emerging demand, TechDevice Corp. has introduced minimally invasive medical balloons that boast the desirable characteristics of latex without the health risk.

The balloon material comes courtesy of Yulex Corp., which stakes its claim as the first company to commercially extract latex from the desert plant guayule. The natural rubber latex extracted from guayule does not contain the proteins found in Hevea (traditional) latex, which are believed to be the allergen trigger. As a result, the firm has found that the material is safe for people suffering from a Type I latex allergy. Following a four-year collaboration focused on developing balloons from the material, TechDevice signed an agreement for the exclusive manufacture of Yulex latex–based medical balloons for catheter-related products.

Common balloon materials include polyurethane, polyethylene, silicone, and nylon. But, health risks aside, latex is a favorable material for use in these devices because of its distinct properties, according to Michael Brown, TechDevice director of operations. “Latex just happens to have certain properties that are hard to duplicate,” he says. “It is very elastic and [when used for balloons] you can get very thin wall thicknesses as well as a low profile at the end of a catheter.”

The guayule latex balloons feature these characteristics and also have tensile strength and durability that is better than those made from high-end synthetic products, according to the company. “The guayule latex formulation used for medical applications has been carefully engineered to replicate the properties of Hevea latex,” says Leigh Hayward, TechDevice director of technical operations.

As the only company offering Yulex balloons, TechDevice is now setting its sights on spreading the word about its balloons, highlighting the benefits they provide to both patients and OEMs. “There are all of the existing latex balloons that have the Hevea latex, and obviously the allergy associated with it. There is an opportunity to replace everything on the market with Yulex balloons,” speculates Brown. “There’s also a market for new devices that probably are using different materials, such as a silicone, because Yulex latex wasn’t previously available.”

TechDevice Corp., Watertown, MA
www.techdevice.com

Copyright ©2008 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Injecting New Ideas into Drug-Delivery Systems

SPECIAL FEATURE: DRUG DELIVERY

Injecting New Ideas into Drug-Delivery Systems
Advancements in active drug-delivery technologies hold promise for precisely controlled, targeted treatments
By marrying MEMS with pharmaceuticals, MicroChips has produced an intelligent reservoir-based delivery system.

To get effectively from point A to point B, you need a safe and reliable mode of transportation. If your brakes are shot or your radiator is on the fritz, a faulty vehicle can break down and leave you stranded on the side of the road. Likewise, drug-delivery devices are the vehicles ensuring that critical treatments safely reach their destinations and their reliability is equally—if not more—important. Because if these delivery systems fail, you may find yourself in a dire situation where even AAA can’t help.

Luckily, drug-delivery technology appears to be advancing at a rapid clip. Baby boomers with longer life spans are placing a demand on the drug-delivery market for products that are convenient, safe, targeted, and user-friendly. Furthermore, a distinct trend toward home care and self-administration, as well as a more vocal and involved patient base, are requiring that drug-delivery OEMs step out of their comfort zones. Heeding these demands, researchers are delving into new territories as they strive for targeted and controlled-release drug delivery through innovative active systems.

At the Microscale

Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology has influenced seemingly every aspect of the medical product realm, and active drug-delivery systems are no exception. MEMS enable low power consumption, reproducibility, cost-effectiveness, precise control, and, of course, miniaturization.

Pioneering MEMS work in drug-delivery applications is MicroChips (Bedford, MA; www.mchips.com), an MIT spin-off that has blazed a path in intelligent drug-delivery systems. The company demonstrated that it is possible to actively control the release of drugs in the body over a prolonged period using an implanted microchip and wireless technology.

Striving for the creation of a device that could both protect a therapy and keep it stable for long periods of time, the company engineered a microchip featuring an array of drug-containing silicon reservoirs. Depending on the prescribed dosage, an external control can trigger active release of the drug at desired intervals using MEMS electronics, according to Maggie Pax, vice president of business development. She stresses that the ability to change the dosage and the timing from the chip is the core technology on which the company thrives.

“You can take all the benefits of microarrays, MEMS, electronics, and small-scale manufacturing and you can combine that with the pharmaceutical world,” Pax says. “These things never come together; they’re really different worlds. To take the drug formulation from what we could do in the pharmaceutical area and marry that with MEMS, and do an in vivo study that actually worked was very much a breakthrough.”

The company’s initial system is designed to deliver a parathyroid hormone to treat osteoporosis. In order to be effective and build new bone, the drug must be delivered daily in a precisely controlled pulse, Pax says. But, if the drug trickles out of the system instead, bone can be resorbed—a dangerous consequence. Through its controlled delivery capabilities, the MicroChips systems can help build bone in people who may otherwise have to undergo daily injections.

In addition to developing its own drug-delivery systems, MicroChips can apply some of its packaging, hermetic sealing, and control mechanisms to existing OEM products. “For most people, there’s not an ability to think about working with highly concentrated doses of drugs in very tiny reservoirs and being able to fabricate those in a way that is repeatable and reliable,” Pax says. She points out that orthopedic devices could benefit from therapeutic capabilities made possible by the company’s technology. Controlled drug delivery in these instances can aid in healing, reducing local pain, or minimizing infection potential. The reservoir system also allows for controlled release of multiple therapies.

On the Surface

Using the pigment Prussian blue, MIT?researchers created an active thin film that enables controlled drug delivery.

Researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT; Cambridge, MA; www.mit.edu) have redefined the use of thin films in drug delivery by turning a traditionally passive approach into an active one. Using layer-by-layer deposition techniques, the team engineered degradable thin films that enable controlled drug delivery.

“You build up a film literally one molecular layer at a time,” explains Kris Wood, a postdoc at the Whitehead Institute (Cambridge, MA; www.wi.mit.edu) who began this project as an MIT graduate student. “As a consequence, you can very precisely control the properties of the films that result, such as thickness, surface properties, porosity, and chemical groups present.”

Working along with Paula Hammond, a professor of chemical engineering at MIT, Wood sought to apply this established technique to drug-delivery applications. To do so, the team incorporated the pigment Prussian blue as a component in the film, alternating layers of a drug and the compound. In the presence of an applied voltage, the pigment undergoes a redox state change and, as a result, the film destabilizes. “The film’s integrity is based on the charge interaction,” Wood says. “And, if you suddenly take that away, the film has no reason to stick together anymore and bursts apart.”

The researchers envision coating these films onto an implantable material and attaching it to a radio-frequency (RF) detection device and battery. A physician or remote operator could trigger controlled release of the drug embedded in the film by simply pressing a button that would start a chain reaction. Activating this remote control would theoretically send a signal to the RF detector, which would then prompt the battery to turn on, resulting in the application of the voltage and, consequently, the release of a layer of the drug, according to Wood.

Electrochemically activating a drug-delivery system coated onto a device could be beneficial for a number of applications, including stents, knee implants, sutures, and a range of controlled-release therapeutic devices. Wood cites the treatment of diseases that require irregular dosing—such as Parkinson’s disease—as potential areas in which this type of system could enhance treatment.

But this is not the first time that drug-delivery systems have been able to release drugs in response to a remote signal. During the past seven or eight years, researchers have developed microchip-based systems, using lithographic processes to create gold-coated silicon reservoirs whose coating dissolves when exposed to a voltage, Wood notes. Furthermore, companies such as MicroChips are making progress in remote activation of reservoirs as well. Despite the potential for these systems, Wood points out that it is difficult to machine nonplanar surfaces—which is the case for most implants. The MIT team’s film, however, can be coated onto any surface, as well as any size, shape, or chemical composition.

Through the Skin

Microneedles enable painless active delivery of large-molecule drugs through the skin.

Skin, the largest organ in the human body, acts as a protective barrier, shielding our bodies from harm. Yet it also serves as an obstacle that must be overcome in order to effectively treat patients.

The term transdermal drug delivery encompasses a range of drug-infused patches, perhaps most notably represented by the nicotine patch that helps wean smokers off of their addiction. Transdermal products serve as effective means of passively introducing many small-molecule treatments into the body without the physical or emotional discomfort associated with squirm-inducing injections. Painless delivery methods can increase patient compliance—an important attribute as self-administration and home care slowly become more widespread. However, this drug-delivery method faces distinct limitations because large-molecule drugs cannot permeate the skin and must usually be injected instead.

Recent university research may influence the future of drug delivery, however. A great deal of research has centered on overcoming the limitations of transdermal drug delivery through the use of microneedles. Microneedle arrays assembled on patch technology allow active delivery of many large-molecule drugs by creating micropores in the skin through which the drugs can pass into the body.

Hypodermic needles, for example, inject large-molecule drugs into the body by penetrating beyond the 10- to 20-µm-thick outer layer of the skin called the stratum corneum. However, hypodermic needles can cause pain because they cross beyond the outer layer of the skin and hit nerves located in the inner layers of the skin and in deeper tissue. Microneedles, on the other hand, are so small that they are virtually painless. Typically measuring several hundred microns at the base and tapering to a tip with a radius of curvature of 10 µm, microneedles are just large enough to pass through the stratum corneum, but not long enough to disturb nerves, according to Mark Prausnitz, a professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering (Atlanta; www.gatech.edu).

“Once you get most drugs across that layer and into the next layer, the viable epidermis, the drugs can then diffuse their way into the bloodstream and you’ve achieved systemic delivery of the drug,” Prausnitz explains. Prausnitz and his team at Georgia Tech, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Kentucky (Lexington, KY; www.uky.edu), demonstrated that microscopic needle-based patches can facilitate transdermal delivery of drugs that cannot pass through the skin in what is believed to be the first peer-reviewed study of its kind.

In this study, the researchers pressed a small patch containing 50 stainless-steel microneedles into the skin of human test subjects to create micropores. Then, they applied a gel containing naltrexone, a drug that is too large to be absorbed through the skin, to the micropore site and covered it with a protective dressing. Monitoring the drug in patients’ bloodstreams for 72 hours, the team found that the microneedles were successful; levels of the drug reached pharmacologically active concentrations.

Feeding off of the advancements made in MEMS technology, early research used silicon-based microneedles. But silicon proved to be fragile and the needles were prone to breakage. Further deterrents were the cost and lack of established safety in medical products. Other material options were explored because the semiconductor properties of silicon were not necessary for microneedles. Prausnitz’s team settled on stainless steel owing to its reputation for being biocompatible, inexpensive, and strong.

With both universities and companies exploring the possibilities of microneedles, Prausnitz predicts that the first microneedle-based drug-delivery systems could hit the market within the next few years, and, within 5 to 10 years, companies could be offering multiple microneedle products. He notes that although there are no approved microneedle drug-delivery systems on the market yet, Becton Dickinson, in collaboration with Sanofi Pasteur, is making strides with millimeter-scale needles, which are in Phase III clinical trials for an influenza vaccine and have been submitted to European regulatory authorities.

“The reason why microneedles have come of age now, I think, has to do with a number of factors, one of which is that the technology has been advanced in large part by the microelectronics industry, spinning off from the Intels and Motorolas of the world and adapting that technology to enable the fabrication of microstructures,” Prausnitz posits. “And, the increasing recognition that the intersection of engineering and medicine is a valuable one is a nice example of how engineering tools can be brought to a medical problem and offer a solution.”

Copyright ©2008 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Packaging

SPOTLIGHT

Packaging

Transparent applicator packaging

Thermoformed transparent packaging is designed to make selection of the correct applicator easier. Clear film on one side and durable paper labeling on the other ensures that contents are protected from contaminants. Applicators can be wrapped individually or in various amounts to enhance user-friendliness, to maintain sterility, and to reduce waste. Different types of applicators can be packaged together, and packages can be bar coded for inventory control.
Puritan Medical Products Company, LLC, Guilford, ME
www.puritanmedproducts.com


Rigid barrier films

Optimized for medical device packaging applications, rigid barrier films typically supplied to the pharmaceutical industry offer high moisture-barrier properties and thermoforming characteristics. The Pentamed film product line--including Pentamed Aclar PA 300/12, PA 200/12, and PA 190/12--combines rigid PETG with high-barrier Aclar laminate specifically for packaging medical device components that are combined with moisture-sensitive pharmaceuticals, such as prefilled syringes. Sealable to most standard lid stocks, the films are sterilizable. Transparent, colored, and high-gloss clear versions of the films are offered.
Klöckner Pentaplast of America Inc., Gordonsville, VA
www.kpfilms.com


Braille application system

An electronic Braille code pattern controller and an adhesive melter provide precise, high-speed dot placement for the application of Braille coding to packaging. The proprietary e.dot electric guns and ProBlue adhesive melter, in conjunction with the pattern controller, can interpret multiple languages and convert them into Braille code. In accordance with European directives requiring that pharmaceutical packaging be imprinted with Braille for the visually impaired, the system produces dots at the regulated height of 0.5 mm. Using a clear adhesive that does not interfere with packaging graphics, the system's dot guns provide consistent and repeatable imprinting at up to 98 ft/min.
Nordson Corp., Duluth, GA
www.nordson.com


Vacuum-chamber sealer

To provide precise validation, a vacuum-chamber machine has a temperature-regulated seal bar, which enables control over all parameters of the sealing process. Chamber machines typically use an impulse sealer; however, a higher degree of control and validation is required for medical device packaging. The C400 TC single-chamber machine reaches a maximum vacuum of 1 mbar for a low residual oxygen level. Trays and packages suitable for medical products can then be filled with nitrogen.
Multivac Inc., Kansas City, MO
www.multivac.com


Open-fill-seal poucher

Designed to open, fill, and seal large premade bags and pouches, a packaging machine can be manually or automatically loaded. Featuring a single automatic bar seal system, the Maverick poucher can handle Tyvek, strip header bags, and foil and barrier pouches for packaging bulky medical devices and trays. Products are loaded at a 30º incline for gentle handling. A second bar seal system can be added to achieve higher production rates. Self-diagnostics and calibration firmware are incorporated into the machine's programmable logic controller, which also features closed-loop alarm limit checks to ensure reliable sealing. Optional features include modified- and controlled-atmosphere packaging performed via a diving snorkel system and an embossing coding system. Bar code readers and label applicators can also be integrated.
About Packaging Robotics Inc., Thornton, CO
www.aboutpackagingrobotics.com


Desiccants

Desiccant products can absorb up to three times their weight in moisture. Available in rigid canisters and Tyvek packets, desiccants protect contents of medical test kits and other products from moisture damage during assembly, shipping, and storage. Packets, offered on rolls or in continuous strip form, range in capacity from ¼ g to 5 lb and can be custom printed. Rigid canisters are compatible with high-speed insertion equipment.
Sphinx Adsorbents Inc., Springfield, MA
www.sphinxadsorbents.com


Ultrasonic welding press

Combining digital amplitude control, ultrasonic horn and stack frequency display, and multiple process timers, a welder is suited for tamperproof packaging applications such as clamshell sealing. The X-Press 20-kHz welder features timers for weld, hold, delay, and afterburst. With a built-in ultrasonic generator and microprocessor, the welding press is housed in a single rigid cast aluminum base and column hub. Pneumatic controls and the microprocessor keypad are easily accessible from the front panel. Available in two models--1200 and 2200 W--the machine can weld in digital time or constant energy mode.
Sonics & Materials Inc., Newtown, CT
www.sonics.com

Copyright ©2008 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Cables and Connectors

SPOTLIGHT

Cables and Connectors

Medical cable

Offering whip-free characteristics, cabling for medical wire features an open-center working channel with an inside diameter ranging from 0.007 to 0.045 in. and an outside diameter from 0.011 to 0.085 in. The Helical Hollow Strand cable can also be supplied in smaller-diameter versions with continuously extruded coatings. Employing wire drawn by the supplier, the product is manufactured according to customer specifications for tension, compression, and torque and pitch direction. The cabling is offered in single- or dual-layer versions and can be used for its electrical and mechanical properties. Applications include endovascular devices, bioconductors, and urological tools.
Fort Wayne Metals, Fort Wayne, IN
www.fwmetals.com


Push-pull connectors

Engineered for quick mating and unmating, a series of push-pull aluminum-shell connectors is designed in compliance with IEC 61984. The nonsealed version of the connector is offered in a 12- or 16-mm housing with 2 to 12 contacts ranging from 1.0 to 2.5 mm in diameter. Sealed connectors feature a 10-, 12-, 16-, or 18-mm housing and have 2 to 14 contacts ranging from 0.8 to 2.5 mm in diameter. Both types of connector are available in box-mount receptacle, jam-nut receptacle, and straight plug styles, and with a nonreflective nickel finish. They have an operating temperature range of –40° to 100°C and provide signal and power interconnects in medical electromechanical instrumentation and process control applications.
Amphenol Industrial Operations, Sidney, NY
www.amphenol-industrial.com


Mezzanine connectors

Designed for applications with high-pin-count devices on mezzanine cards or module printed circuit boards (PCBs), a company’s board-to-board connectors eliminate the need for large multilayer boards in systems, thus conserving PCB real estate. The connectors offer signal clarity with ample bandwidth for high-speed designs, simplify PCB routing, and, by employing the company’s solder-charge technology for surface-mount attachment, enable better process yields and lower applied costs compared with comparable ball-grid-array products, according to the manufacturer. Allowing for stack heights ranging from 16 to 38 mm, the HD Mezz connector features data rates as high as 12.5 Gb/sec, guide elements for gatherability in blind mating, a high contact density, and a mating interface with 2-mm wipe and two points of contact for clean signal transmission and durability. The Searay connector accommodates stack heights ranging from 7 to 15 mm, achieves speeds up to 10 Gb/sec, and has a contact designed to prevent damage in mating interfaces.
Molex Inc., Lisle, IL
www.molex.com


Miniature connectors

A line of microminiature circular connectors features electrical contact terminations with insulated wires, which provide secure connections even in severe shock and vibration environments. Employing twist-pin microminiature contact technology, the connectors feature a 0.635-mm contact pitch, which enables them to be lighter and consume less space than conventional microminiature connectors, according to the manufacturer. The connectors are supplied with up to 266 contacts and are available in a variety of layout configurations and terminations. In addition, the connectors have a contact rating of 1 A and a life span of 500 mating cycles. A version of the connector is available with an NDM metal shell, 3.81-mm seated height, and 9–37 contacts in a single-row layout for applications in which EMC is a factor.
ITT Interconnect Solutions, Watertown, CT
www.ittcannon.com


Connectors for electrosurgical applications

Building on its established Redel brand of connectors for minimally invasive electrosurgical applications, a company has introduced the R series. Features of the product include an ergonomic push-pull latching technology, a dense field in a semirectangular format, and the same keying offered in the company’s existing connectors. The series has a set of interchangeable mixed-signal contacts. Signal contacts have four-point-indent crimp technology with a typical wire gauge of 22 to 26 AWG for the 0.7-mm crimp contact; optional reduced crimp-barrel contact is available for wires down to 32 AWG. Fitting into the same positions as signal crimp contacts, chromel and alumel Type-K thermocouple crimp contacts are offered as well.
Lemo USA Inc., Rohnert Park, CA
www.lemo.com


Microminiature cable

Enhanced microminiature round cable is available for medical device applications in which size and electrical integrity are critical, such as electrophysiology probes and small-diameter flexible endoscopes. Made from high-strength toughened fluoropolymer (HSTF) and low-dielectric-constant expanded-PTFE materials, the cable maintains the desired level of performance through device flexure, abrasion occurring during routing, and tracking and sterilization. HSTF is an advanced biocompatible dielectric material that offers good electrical properties and such mechanical advantages as strong resistance to scrape abrasion and cut-through and enhanced pinhole-free performance in ultrathin profiles.
Gore, Elkton, MD
www.gore.com

Copyright ©2008 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Device Industry Has Stable Outlook

Currency fluctuations have hurt revenues for some firms, pricing pressure from group purchasing organizations continues, and regulatory issues and recalls have hurt certain companies.

Assembly

FOCUS ON EQUIPMENT

Assembly

Welding Machinery Is Suitable for Disposable Products

Fully automatic in-line thermocontact welding machinery is designed for high-volume medical disposable applications. Products suitable for the machinery include tubes, valves, filters, and multichamber solution bags. In the latter case, individual chambers can be filled with solutions of various compositions after assembly. Combining the machinery with the company's radio-frequency and thermocontact welding equipment increases the number of materials that can be handled. A variety of PVC and PVC-free films are among the types that can be processed. If the manufacturing scale does not necessitate fully automatic machinery, rotary turntable and shuttle machines are available and can be operated manually or with various levels of automation.
Geaf, Brighton, MI
www.geaf.it


Dual-Servo Spin Welder Joins Circular Parts

A dual-servo spin welder is designed for welding circular parts that require tight tolerances for both the orientation between parts and the final welded assembly. The design builds on the company's existing single-servo spin welder, replacing the z-axis drive with a second servomotor. Orientation tolerances of ±0.1 degree of rotation and z-axis tolerances of 10 µm are provided by the unit's control system. The control system also coordinates the performance of both servomotors, thereby enabling a constant-torque welding mode that allows the user to specify a torque value that most closely matches the melt-flow rate of a given material. Z-axis velocity and rpm are coordinated to provide this torque value throughout the weld cycle. Programmable preweld parameters include part pickup and trigger by position, and programmable welding methods include weld by time, number of turns, collapse distance with orientation, absolute distance with orientation, and energy. Postweld control features include hold by time, hold by collapse distance, hold to a fixed position, and hold to constant thrust.
Dukane Corp., St. Charles, IL
www.dukcorp.com


SCARA Robots Facilitate Vertical-Motion Mechanical Assembly

A family of robots is suitable for vertical-motion mechanical assembly of medical devices and components. YS-series four-axis SCARA robots share the same programming language and controller as other robots with six or more axes offered by the company. Providing t-axis repeatability of ±0.015 or ±0.025 mm, depending on the model, the robots are available with a range of payloads, reaches, and z-axis strokes, as well as with a variety of hardware and software options, external axis capabilities, and vision system integration.
Motoman Inc., West Carrollton, OH
www.motoman.com


Indexing System Adopts Modular Design for High-Volume Production

Featuring standardized modules and offering fully automatic or hand-loading assembly, a linear indexing system is suitable for high-volume assembly of multiple-part products. The QuickLink system is designed for use with a variety of medical products and is suited for the assembly of parts up to 7 in. long combined. Up to 26 stations can be integrated into the system, performing operations such as small-part feeding and ultrasonic welding.
Quickpouch, Ronkonkoma, NY
www.quickpouch.com

Copyright ©2008 Medical Product Manufacturing News