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Articles from 2004 In May


MDEA: Excellent Partnerships Yield Excellent Products

Originally Published MPMN May 2004

SPECIAL SECTION

MDEA: Excellent Partnerships Yield Excellent Products

Each year, the Medical Design Excellence Awards (MDEA) recognize outstanding achievements in healthcare product and packaging design. The program, organized by MPMN's publisher Canon Communications, is now in its seventh year. It brings together a panel of judges from across the medical spectrum to evaluate the innovation, design, engineering, user benefit, cost-effectiveness, and other features of each submission. The best are honored with gold and silver awards. 

To create these superior products, many of the winning OEMs sought out superior partners. Ranging from small boutique companies to large outsourcing firms with a global reach, these allies offered the supply and design support that led to success. Several also offered their thoughts on conditions that lead to fruitful collaborations, challenges the industry is facing, and trends that will shape its future. --Christina Elston


'Us' and 'them'

The Syndeo PCA syringe pump from Baxter Healthcare Corp.

"Working with partners may have its ups and downs, but that's not necessarily a bad thing," says Tom Black, vice president of OEM sales and marketing at B. Braun Medical Inc. (Plymouth, MN). B. Braun was involved with the System 100 fluid-removal system for complete heart-failure patients from CHF Solutions Inc. (Brooklyn Park, MN). "A successful relationship between a manufacturer and a supplier requires shared experiences, both good and bad," Black says. "I don't think either side gets a trusting feel for the other until they work through a project."

The Paradigm Link untethered wireless glucose meter.

Trust between OEMs and design partners can even affect a product's success. "Involvement of the manufacturer's internal staff in all phases of the development process, from conceptualization through prototyping, is essential to ensure acceptance of the resulting product," insists Charles Keene, senior vice president of design, Herbst LaZar Bell Inc. (HLB; Chicago). "It is amazing how devastating the 'not invented here' syndrome can be to the successful launch of a new product."

HLB helped design two of this year's award winners. The Syndeo PCA syringe pump, from Baxter Healthcare Corp. (Round Lake, IL), allows patients to control automated delivery of analgesic, sedative, and anesthetic solutions. The Paradigm Link blood glucose meter, developed by BD Medical, Diabetes Care (Franklin Lakes, NJ), Medtronic MiniMed (Northridge, CA), and Nova Biomedical (Waltham, MA), and manufactured for BD Medical, Diabetes Care and Medtronic MiniMed by Nova Biomedical, is an untethered wireless glucose meter that provides bidirectional communication between a glucose meter and insulin pump.

In working with Swiss Medical Care (Lausanne, Switzerland) on the CT Exprés advanced contrast-media-delivery system, Willem van den Bruinhorst, managing director of Medisize Development & Manufacturing (Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, Ireland), says his company's goal was to be viewed as a partner rather than a supplier. "There must be evidence of a partnership culture. The contract manufacturer should be viewed nearly as another department within the OEM. This can be achieved primarily through a teamwork ethos and optimum communication avenues," he says.


Can you hear me now?

The Cardiac CryoAblation catheter and CryoConsole from CryoCath Technologies Inc.

Sometimes this communication has to be maintained despite long distances. During development of the System 100, there were technical contributors in three or more distant cities, as well as the CHF home base, according to circuit designer Ed Merrick of Indulgent Technologies (Stow, MA). He credits the coordination efforts of John O'Mahony of CHF, and O'Mahony's exceptional understanding of the design process, with keeping communication flowing. "He was able to keep each of us well informed about the progress of the project while not bothering us with diversions," says Merrick. "This was a model as to how future designs will be accomplished."

TriVirix International Inc. (Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK), which contract manufactures the System 100 at its facility in Northern Ireland, made sure information about the product's usefulness reached the manufacturing floor. Joshua Rose, director of marketing, says TriVirix routinely requests information from customers on how their products will be used. "We provide that to the people on the floor who are building the product. They understand that they are making a unit that is going to potentially save, and definitely improve, the lives of patients," says Rose.

Both Morelli Designers and CryoCath Technologies Inc. are based in Montreal, but communication was still essential. When Morelli Designers president Michel Morelli and his team were repackaging the design of the CryoCath Cardiac CryoAblation catheter and CryoConsole, CryoCath took an uncommon amount of care in describing its objectives at the outset. "We had a good comprehension of the work we had to do," says Morelli. "We understood the target, and CryoCath understood our design process as well. When there was a question, we had a very clear answer quite fast."


The little things

The Avalon CTS cordless fetal transducer system from Philips Medical Systems.

Understanding that even a product's less-technical features are important, and finding a partner that specializes in those features, can mean a product that better serves customers. "Even the things you don't think of are important in a healthcare-delivery system," says Gary LaTorraca, vice president of MJL Engineering and Manufacturing Inc. (Escondido, CA). Even as CHF Solutions was developing the System 100, MJL was developing a cart to go with it.

LaTorraca credits CHF for recognizing that it wasn't enough for the technical aspects of its instrument to function correctly. "CHF put a lot of effort into making sure that the customer experience is complete," says LaTorraca. "The simple things, like the cart, have to be perfect on Day One. A panicky nurse has to be able to sprint down the hall with it." 

A move from corded to cordless technology may also seem like a simple thing. In the case of the Avalon CTS cordless fetal transducer system, however, it has a big impact. With help from W. L. Gore & Associates (Putzbrunn/Munchen, Germany), Philips Medical Systems (Boeblingen, Germany) was able to give women in labor new freedom to move about, while maintaining doctors' ability to continuously monitor their babies.


Squeezing in technology

The Indigo Optima laser system from Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc.

In many cases, both high- and low-tech features have to fit into smaller and smaller spaces. "Technology is growing, but the operating room is still the same size," says Morelli. His team achieved a 35% reduction in the footprint of the Cardiac CryoAblation catheter and CryoConsole, which is used by electrophysiologists to treat cardiac arrhythmias. The unit now integrates seamlessly into the cardiac cath lab, causing less interference with staff movement.

The endoscopic full-thickness Plicator from NDO Surgical (Mansfield, MA) also squeezes more technology into less space, consolidating the five separate tools needed for laparoscopic surgery into one instrument. It turns treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease from a surgery requiring a two-day hospital stay into a 20-minute procedure requiring no incisions.

"Two key trends in the medical world are presenting incredible opportunities for advanced medical technology: ever-mounting pressure to hold medical costs in check and the need to reduce the possibility of medical errors," says David Robson of Item New Product Development (Providence, RI), which helped design the device. "Devices that enable noninvasive surgery and shorter hospital stays tap this trend."

The Indigo Optima laser system from Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc. (Cincinnati) uses a fiber to allow minimally invasive treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia. Because the device also shortens treatment time, local anesthesia is an option. Designers also made the device multifunctional--allowing treatment of bladder neck contractures, urethral strictures, and other conditions--to make it a flexible addition to doctors' offices.

While it doesn't compress technology, the CT Exprés does shrink both time and cost in computed tomography procedures that make use of contrast media. The unit's disposable elements and intuitive, modular design save clinicians time in training, instrument cleaning, and patient prep.


A different end-user

When the customer is not a clinician but a patient, OEMs face a new set of challenges that design partners can help them overcome. Guidant Corp. (Indianapolis) was in such a situation with its Partner Rhythm Assistant, and turned to Worrell Inc. (Eden Prairie, MN) for design assistance. 

Richard Stein, principal system design engineer for product development at Guidant, says that the team from Worrell helped Guidant engineers spend time with patients, potential patients, and clinicians, allowing them to identify key needs for the Partner to fill. The handheld wireless device communicates with an implanted defibrillator and allows patients to check their own cardiac rhythm, and self-administer an atrial shock if needed. 

The bion microstimulator from Advanced Bionics Corp.

"The patients wanted the device to tell them what to do, and in their own language," says Stein, adding that Worrell helped the Guidant design team overcome their initial resistance to including voice technology in the product. The feature became what Worrell president and founder Bob Worrell calls a "patient delight."

Products designed for patient use also face new financial challenges. In the case of the Partner, costs had to be kept low because patients and their insurance companies were footing the bill. On the plus side, Worrell believes concerns about the cost of healthcare are leading OEMs to create more self-diagnostic tools like the Partner. 

In some cases, however, financial pressures could squeeze truly innovative treatments out of the picture. Gerald E. Loeb, MD, director of the medical device and development facility at the University of Southern California's A.E. Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering (Los Angeles), developed the bion microstimulator for Advanced Bionics Corp. (Valencia, CA). Reducing the size of the implantable neurostimulator potentially opens this treatment option to a wider patient population. "Pressures on healthcare costs will lead inexorably to an even more conservative environment for reimbursement of new treatments," says Loeb. "On the positive side, that could lead to more-objective, outcome-based decisions. On the negative, it could discourage many truly innovative treatments just because they don't already have a billing code."


The buck stops here

No matter what a product's purpose or prospective end-user, quality supply and design partners always keep cost in mind. "The design and development process associated with the creation of innovative new products must never lose sight of the manufacturer's primary goal--profit," says Herbst LaZar Bell's Keane. Even so, HLB is not generally a low bidder. "The differentiating factor in HLB's favor is an innovation process that generates intellectual property protection for many of the products developed for our clients," Keane says.

Item's Robson says he generally warns clients to beware of the lowest-cost bids. "These inevitably underestimate the complexity of a project. We try to identify and address all financial issues up front, so money issues don't derail the project before completion," he explains. "When money is taken out of the equation by establishing a realistic budget at the outset, it's much easier to tear down the traditional client/consultant barrier and take a fruitful team-based approach." 

Robson sees new manufacturing technologies as a cost-cutting aid. "Technology innovation is enabling seamless communication between a manufacturer and supplier with truly collaborative software, Web-based phone conferencing, and Web-based PDM and PLM systems," Robson says. "Rapid prototyping methods have also changed a lot in the past five to six years, and will continue to become more accessible and cost-effective."


Looking offshore


With financial pressures, supply and design firms are also feeling pressure from competition. Halkey-Roberts (St. Petersburg, FL), supplier of the check valve for the System 100, stays in the game by developing new products with strong patents. "We continue to harvest our niche to stay on top of the market," says sales manager Steve Bello. A research and development partnership with a local university, as well as current projects, bring inspiration. "We're constantly looking to develop new valves," Bello says. "A lot of the ideas we get come from our customers. They have the experience with the end-user."

In the optical manufacturing sector, Elcan Optical Technologies (Midland, ON, Canada), supplier for the Indigo Optima laser system, has countered low-cost competition from Asian firms with new automated manufacturing and test equipment. "We have also invested in novel manufacturing techniques to investigate new technical capabilities, such as the production of nonspherical lens surfaces and the development of demanding thin-film coatings for optical beam splitters and filters," says program management director Evan Cameron.

Electronic manufacturing service providers also face a balancing act. "Firms are continuing to reconfigure their footprints to provide high-quality domestic services while offering low-cost offshore solutions," says engineering manager Corey J. Gannon of Smtek (Marlborough, MA), which worked on the System 100.

LRE Technology Partner (Nordlingen, Germany), a collaborator on the CT Exprés, stays on top of the market with investment and its excellent record. "We are in a good financial situation and can afford investments in new technologies and/or equipment to be competitive," says Ulrich Shroeder, CEO. "Another important point is our excellent quality management system and our quality record over the last 35 years in this specific business segment. We know what we are talking about, and this gives us a natural advantage compared to other companies in the EMS business."

B. Braun's Black says only companies developing new products that save time and provide what the end-user is looking for will be able to take advantage of the opportunities that the market brings. "As for the existing 'commodity' products, manufacturers are going to have to find ways to keep their costs low without compromising quality."

Consolidation will likely become an upcoming trend in the contract manufacturing industry, predicts Rose, with fewer but more-substantial companies offering more full-service options. Preferring to concentrate resources on their core competencies, OEMs will turn to full-service outsourcing specialists to handle the rest.

No matter how medical products and the companies that create them may change, however, certain factors will still be essential to the type of successful partnership that creates award winners. Cecilia Björkman of W. L. Gore & Associates sums it up: "Constant and proactive collaboration between manufacturer and supplier. Open communication and committed associates. Mutual confidence in the individual capabilities. The pursuit of a common vision/goal." 


The MDEA competition is the premier awards program for the medical technology community, recognizing the many people behind the scenes--the engineers, scientists, and designers--who are responsible for the ground-breaking innovations that are changing the face of healthcare.

The program is open worldwide to companies and individuals involved in the design, engineering, manufacturing, or distribution of finished medical devices or medical packaging. 

The MDEA program is presented by Canon Communications, the publisher of MPMN and also MD&DI, the program's sponsoring publication. Corporate sponsors of the 2004 competition include Avail Medical Products, DuPont Medical Packaging, the Medtech Group, Putnam Plastics Corp., and Nusil.

A complete list of this year's winners, as well as more information about the MDEA program, is available on the Internet at www.devicelink.com/expo/awards02/index.html

Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Keeping Track of Medical Devices

Originally Published MPMN May 2004

PRODUCT UPDATE

Keeping Track of Medical Devices

Many marking technologies are available

Susan Wallace
Topflight's RFID technology offers an alternative to traditional bar coding in medical applications.

Printing, labeling, and marking are all ways of keeping track of and identifying medical devices. Sometimes they need to be tracked for inventory purposes. Other times they must be traceable in order to fulfill FDA regulations. 

Depending on the finished product, there are many options for manufacturers. This article discusses some of the latest in marking technologies. 

Transfer-Pad Printer Enhances Catheter-Imprinting Technology

CI Inc.
(Norton, MA) offers a customized version of its MicroPrint MS 500 pad printing equipment. The unit was designed to address common transfer-pad imprinting challenges, while increasing production efficiency and speed.

The MS 500 has a 100 ¥ 700-mm printable area, making it suitable for imprinting catheters. It also features automatic pad cleaning between cycles, sealed-ink-cup technology, and viscosity control. The benefits for catheter OEMs are a high degree of precision and crispness in the imprinted image, guaranteed consistency between job lots, quick turnaround times, and 
high yields.

The company operates in a 20,000-sq-ft clean, environmentally controlled production facility with computerized pad imprinting equipment. Specialties include fine-detail printing in 360 degrees, complex multicolor imprints, unusual product sizes or shapes, "unprintable" substrates or irregular surfaces, specialty inks and custom applications, and quick turnaround 
on prototypes. 

Glyph Technology--An Alternative to RFID or Bar Codes

Polyolefin material can be laser marked with Avicenna's laser marking process.

Niceware International (Milwaukee) has recently formed an alliance with InfoGlyph USA (Scottsdale, AZ), a software provider for the development and licensing of glyph technology. Niceware is developing software incorporating InfoGlyph's glyphing technology for Niceware's NiceLabel suite of label-printing software. Through NiceLabel, it will be possible for automatic identification solutions requiring security marking or lot traceability to use the emerging glyph technology in applications where traditional bar code and RFID technologies are not suitable.

InfoGlyph's patented glyph technology, together with various marking systems, allows for marking of all types of surfaces or materials such as glass, curved, or nonreflective, that in the past could not be addressed with conventional bar code marking. The NiceLabel suite enables easy implementation for customers requiring the benefits of glyph technology for lifetime tracking of products.

InfoGlyph technology enables the placing of the InfoGlyph patented 2D image within corporate trademarks or logos on a wide variety of glass, metal, plastic, and ceramic surfaces, with up to 90% error correction.

RFID Systems for Medical Devices Offer Easy Identification

Radio-frequency identification offers advantages over traditional bar coding, according to Topflight Corp. (Glen Rock, PA). It can relay more information with greater accuracy, durability, ease of use, design options, and security. The company's custom-designed equipment allows unlimited converting of tags and labels, along with ESD protection, short web paths, and setups. Interchangeable stations can handle intricate constructions. The company can work with a variety of chips, including rewritable and read-only.
 
Laser Marking on the Go

The Rofin EasyMark 
desktop diode-pumped laser marker can be used to replace inking or chemical etching.

Citing the need by its customers for a small, desktop, or on-site transportable unit, Rofin-Baasel Inc. (Boxborough, MA) created a fully self-contained diode-pumped laser marker. The EasyMark is designed for metal or polymer marking applications with small dimensions and low to moderate volume. It can be used to replace marking technologies such as inking or chemical etching.
The system incorporates the company's LaserCAD.net technology that allows marking-program files and laser control files to be downloaded directly from the user's computer. In its standard form, the Easy Mark is a Class I fully laser safe product, packaged for benchtop use. It can also be adapted to rolling-cart workstations.

Polyolefin Tubing Can Be Legibly Laser Marked

A company can laser mark medical-grade heat-shrink polyolefin tubing. Avicenna Technology Inc. (Montevideo, MN) has developed a process that produces dark, legible marks that meet the viewing criteria of implantable device makers. Vivid marks can be achieved without compromising the tube wall, which ensures that the expanded polyolefin material will not fail during heat-shrink recovery.

The company can mark tubing with alphanumerical text of any height, width, and thickness, and can serialize this text. When processing expands heat-shrink material, marks must be formatted to be visually correct upon recovery of the tube. Text, symbols, and logos can be stretched to match the recovery factor of any heat-shrink polyolefin material. 

In conjunction with the expansion to polyolefin material, the company can also laser mark bar codes on the full circumference of a tube.

Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News

CAD Software Speeds Up Process of Designing Custom Parts

Originally Published MPMN May 2004

E-News

CAD Software Speeds Up Process of Designing Custom Parts

Melody Lee

www.emachineshop.com

Using CAD software helps engineers, product developers, and designers to produce custom mechanical parts. Users of eMachineShop's free software get expert analysis, pricing, feedback, and ordering information.

During the design process, a machining expert inspects the product's shape, material, and finish. This inspection keeps the user informed of any machining setbacks. A 3-D preview provides a visual of the final parts before an order is placed. Users can also get instant design feedback and price quotes for design scenarios to optimize cost. 

"Whether you are prototyping a new design or replacing an existing part, making custom-machined parts is normally time-consuming and costly," says eMachineShop president James Lewis. "[This] is a novel solution that offers the easiest, most cost-effective way to turn ideas into real 3-D parts." 

Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Interactive Web Site Offers On-Line Course and Revamped Menus

Originally Published MPMN May 2004

E-News

Interactive Web Site Offers On-Line Course and Revamped Menus

Melody Lee

www.bostongear.com

Boston Gear (Quincy, MA) added menus and interactive tools for design engineers and industrial designers during the revamping and relaunching of its Web site. The site offers tools and data for its line of industrial power transmission units. Technical data, CAD drawings, and product information on speed reducers, gears, motors, and controls are also on-line.

Part of the revamping included adding drop-down menus and interactive training tools. The site now offers the Gearology on-line course on power transmission basics and the BostSpec2 product configurator. Gearology includes a video session on 700-series worm gear speed reducer maintenance and repair. Quizzes can be downloaded at the end of each chapter, and users can receive a diploma at the end of the course. 

BostSpec2 features 2-D and 3-D CAD drawings enabling design engineers to access the exact product part number needed based on technical specifications. After the number is chosen, a drawing or PDF file can be downloaded. An on-line request for quote can also be submitted to the engineer's preferred industrial 
distributor.

"More people want our literature as a PDF nowadays instead of mailed catalogs," says Cheryl Alley, manager of on-line communications. "Many design engineers and manufacturers don't have regular business hours, and we're trying to cater to them. People who need help outside the '8 to 5' hours could still get assistance."

Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News

My Favorite Bookmarks

Originally Published MPMN May 2004

E-News

My Favorite Bookmarks

Steve Brunell, Engineering Project Manager
Estech Least Invasive Cardiac Surgery

Steve Brunell

One Look Dictionary Search (www.onelook.com) is an on-line dictionary that I find useful, particularly for medical terms. You just type in the word that you need a definition for, and a list of links to various on-line general and medical dictionaries comes up.

The McMaster-Carr Web site (www.mcmaster.com) is an on-line catalog for hardware and tools that can be used in the R&D lab for prototypes, or on the manufacturing floor. For example, if I need something quick, I can count on having items delivered the next day without having to make a trip to a store during the business day. 

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI; www.aami.org) is a good resource for finding out what a particular regulatory standard is, but they do make you buy a full copy of the standard. Nevertheless, you can also read draft documents and get an overview of what a specific standard pertains to.

The Web site for the Cardiothoracic Surgery Network (www.ctsnet.org) is a valuable resource for those working on new technologies in that particular area of the medical device industry. This on-line network caters to surgeons, but members of the professional community can get a membership I.D. to access the Web site.

Orbitz (www.orbitz.com) is one of the many on-line travel sites available. I have found it to be pretty easy to use, particularly for airfare. If you want, you can find an airline's best deal on a particular flight combination, then go directly to that airline's Web site with those flight numbers to get the extra frequent flier miles. 

Estech Least Invasive Cardiac Surgery (Danville, CA; www. estechlics.com) develops technologies that enable less-invasive surgical treatments for cardiac disease. Estech's patented products are routinely used for less-invasive surgical approaches for treatment of coronary artery disease, valvular disease, and congenital heart defects. 

Melody Lee

Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News

IN BRIEF

Originally Published MPMN May 2004

INDUSTRY NEWS

IN BRIEF

Rockwell Scientific Company, LLC (Thousand Oaks, CA; www.rockwellscientific.com) has announced the formation of a new commercial enterprise in collaboration with ITX International Holdings Inc. (Mountain View, CA; www.itx-corp.jp). The new company called Altasens Inc., is a direct spinoff of Rockwell's CMOS Image Sensors Business Group. . . OEM Worldwide LLC (Watertown, SD; www.oemworldwide.com) has acquired medical-grade power supply manufacturer Resonant Power Technology Inc. (RPT; Milpitas, CA; www.respwrtech.com). . . Steris Corp. (Mentor, OH; www.isomedix.com) has announced the expansion of its current Steris Isomedix Services operations in the Midwest. . . Panel Components Corp. (Oskaloosa, IA; www.interpower.com) has changed its name to Interpower Corp. There has been no change in management or ownership. . . The design, production, and distribution operations at Liquid Control Corp. (North Canton, OH; www.liquidcontrol.com) have been certified to the ISO 9001:2000 standard. . . Manan Medical Products (Wheeling, IL; www.interv.net) and American Medical Instruments (Dartmouth, MA; www.interv.net) now offer combined OEM services under the name InterV OEM . . . Micropure Medical LLC (St. Paul; www.enovamedical.com) is now Enova Medical Technologies . . . Boothroyd Dewhurst Inc. (Wakefield, RI; www.dfma.com) will host the 19th annual International Forum on Design for Manufacture and Assembly June 22-23, 2004 in Providence Warwick, RI.

Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Machine Uses Electric Current and Abrasives to Grind Materials

Originally Published MPMN May 2004

INDUSTRY NEWS

Machine Uses Electric Current and Abrasives to Grind Materials

Melody Lee

A grinding machine that is based on molecular-decomposition process technology can benefit the machining of thin cannulae and other precision instruments.

It's not the same old grind at Chevalier Machinery Inc. (Santa Fe Springs, CA; www.chevalierusa.com).  In partnership with another firm, Chevalier has developed a grinding machine that processes all types of conductive metals. Based on molecular-decomposition process (MDP) technology, the machine uses electric current and abrasives to grind away material. The process is said to be cost-effective, 
energy efficient, and fully controllable. It is also pollution free.

MDP involves passing a current through the electrolyte between the positively charged workpiece and 
negatively charged abrasive wheel. This causes the metal to soften. The wheel then removes the soft surface of the alloy.

Process monitoring is performed by a controller that uses fuzzy logic and neural network technology. It enables the automation of process optimization, setup presets, electrolyte conductivity, and other tasks that often require user intervention. The closed-loop monitoring system also allows the machine to react to any changes in the preset parameters on the fly. Consequently, heat, stress, and distortion are minimized, even when very thin pieces are being processed.

The controller helps to speed setup by automatically detecting the makeup of the workpiece. The MDP grinder recognizes not only the material but its size, shape, and location. Real-time data on an alloy's decomposition rate is also provided.

The company also notes that modulating the power output based on machining needs has led to dramatic reductions in energy use. Power consumption has been cut by at least 60% compared with other machines, according to the firm.

The grinding wheels are formulated with a copper catalyst. This improves conductivity control and enables tight-tolerance grinding. The resin-bonded wheels can be as thin as 0.020 in. and 0.0005 in. flat. This is advantageous when machining thin cannulae and other precision instruments that require burr-free cutting and slotting.

Environmental concerns have also been addressed. The MDP grinder comes with a treatment system that constantly filters and cleans dirty electrolytes. Suspended solids, metal chips, swarfs, oxides, and residue from the grinding wheel are filtered and deposited in a tank. The materials are then mixed with an electrolyte that converts the liquid waste into small, nontoxic "patties."

Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Applications Group Formed to Assist Customers with Molding Machinery

Originally Published MPMN May 2004

INDUSTRY NEWS

Applications Group Formed to Assist Customers with Molding Machinery

Melody Lee

A manufacturer of injection molding machinery formed an Applications Group to help customers understand its process and technology. Formed last October by Demag Plastics Group (Strongsville, OH; www.dpg.com), the team holds open houses and seminars for customers. A variety of services are also offered to provide design assistance and support specific to the needs of customers. 

The group studies and provides cycle time guarantees and offers technical sales support. The design of turnkey solutions include auxiliaries, robotics, automation, and project management. Mold and 
machine trials are performed at the company's three technical centers in California, Texas, 
and Massachusetts. 

"Molders are making more and more sophisticated products," says Bob Lewis, head of the Applications Group. "Because more is expected of them, they are looking for suppliers who offer value-added services. Rather than tie up their own resources to design, coordinate, and manage projects, molders are now partnering with suppliers to handle those services."
 
The group's first open house featured a demonstration of high-speed packaging on its EL EXIS machine. The company cohosted a separate event and focused on in-mold textile lamination. 

Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Manufacturers Unite to Develop Ultrasmall Wire Components

Originally Published MPMN May 2004

INDUSTRY NEWS

Manufacturers Unite to Develop Ultrasmall Wire Components

Melody Lee

Point Technologies and Deringer-Ney partner up to produce precision wire components 
and assemblies.

A joint venture combines the technologies and product expertise of two manufacturers. 
Point Technologies Inc. (Boulder, CO; www.pointtech.com) and Deringer-Ney Inc. (Bloomfield, CT; www.deringerney.com) have united forces to develop and produce ultrasmall precision wire components and assemblies. Using Deringer-Ney's fine wire, Point Technologies will electrochemically etch the components.

The companies are focusing on ultrasmall wires with measurements ranging from 2000th to 6000th of an inch. According to John O'Brien, vice president of Point Technologies, human hair is about 4000th of an inch. 

One main purpose of the treated wire is for application on the tips of guidewires, says O'Brien. "More specifically, it can be used where there are more contraptions on the guidewires, especially steerable wires. [Our product] will fit right into that and make a match for that need." 

The first project will be to produce sharpened coil wires. The coils can be put on the ends of monitoring devices that are screwed into the scalps of fetuses. Another application is in devices that manage cardiac rhythm, which use monitor leads usually made of noble metals, according to O'Brien. 

"[Deringer-Ney] will bring expertise that we don't have and vice versa," says O'Brien. "They are very large in the semiconductor and automotive industries and have the necessary capabilities to be a big player in the medical device industry." 

The partners are currently working on applications within the semiconductor industry. Developments for the medical industry are slated for the middle of this year.

Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Mold Builder Pavilion Showcases Manufacturers at MD&M East

Originally Published MPMN May 2004

INDUSTRY NEWS

Mold Builder Pavilion Showcases Manufacturers at D&M East

Melody Lee

Trade show organizer and MPMN publisher Canon Communications LLC (Los Angeles; www.canontradeshows.com) and the American Mold Builders Association (AMBA; Roselle, IL; www.amba.org) will highlight mold builders at the MD&M East trade show in New York this June 15-17. A pavilion will feature U.S. mold builders and tool manufacturers. Nearly 50 suppliers of precision tooling are expected to be on-site.
 
The feature focuses on the use of mold building in making medical devices and packaging. According to the company, both are large markets for plastics processing. The plastics segments of these industries are expected to annually produce a combined $70 billion.
 
"We are excited about partnering with AMBA on this pavilion," said Diane O'Connor, Canon's trade show director. "New York is strategically located in a premier plastics processing region that is home to more than 125,000 professionals."
Among the mold builders and tool manufacturers exhibiting at PLASTEC East are D-M-E Co. (Madison Heights, MI; www.dme.net), Extreme Tool and Engineering (Wakefield, MI; www.extremetool.com), Neu Dynamics (Ivyland, PA; www.neudynamics.com); Husky Injection Molding Systems (Bolton, ON, Canada; www.husky.ca), and PM Mold Co. (Schaumburg, IL; www.pmmold.com). 

The trade show combines PLASTEC East, Medical Design & Manufacturing East, EastPack, Ingredients Expo, and Atlantic Design & Manufacturing all in one location at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.

Copyright ©2004 Medical Product Manufacturing News