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Articles from 2002 In June


Laser Equipment Makes Its Mark

Originally Published MPMN June 2002

EQUIPMENT NEWS: Laser Processing and Marking

Laser Equipment Makes Its Mark

Systems gain in efficiency and precision

Katherine Sweeny

Once a staple of science fiction, lasers are now a well-established part of medical device manufacturing. Laser marking of plastics and metals is essential for identifying, labeling, and bar coding parts. In addition, laser systems can also precisely cut and shape thin materials such as wire and stencils. Below are descriptions of several laser systems including diode-pumped laser markers, linear stages for laser positioning, and polymer stencil manufacturing systems.

Diode-pumped laser markers use less power than lamp-pumped systems

The LM50 from Unitek Miyachi Corp. has a small footprint and can mark alloys, metals, plastics, and rubber.

A pulsed-laser marker measures 6 x 6 x 21 in., making it one of the smallest 50-W marking lasers available. Using cost-effective Nd:YAG diode-pumped technology, the LM50 from Unitek Miyachi Corp. consumes 1.32 kW of power as compared with typical lamp-pumped systems that require 6.63 kW. Its laser diode array typically lasts more than 10,000 hours under normal operation, greatly reducing the maintenance costs and system downtime required for replacing flash lamps in lamp-pumped systems. In addition, it has a built-in chiller, eliminating the need for an external chilled water source to cool the laser.

A swiveling head design enables the laser to be rotated 180° in either direction, allowing great flexibility in system integration. The LM50 can be used to mark a variety of materials including superalloys; all metals, including whether ferrous or nonferrous; plastic; and rubber. It is also suitable for removing paint, ink, anodized coatings, and titanium nitrate. Applications include marking on implantable devices such as pacemakers, insulin pumps, catheters, cauterizing tools, and hearing-aid components. The laser can also be used for fine-wire cutting.

"The laser marker was developed to provide a solution to the ever-growing need for permanent part identification," says laser marker product development manager Gary Sheriff. "A medical company can efficiently identify and trace parts, as well as protect itself, by creating a proprietary mark."

Laservall North America LLC's Violino laser system operates without external chillers.

Laservall North America LLC offers fiber-coupled diode-pumped solid-state laser sources and OEM marking systems in compact 5-, 10-, and 20-W models at 1064 nm. An 8-W model at 532 nm is also available. The Violino laser system is suitable for marking and other high-precision applications. Its high output efficiency and beam quality enable high-speed precision marking, engraving, and machining on virtually any material. The beam quality results in a small spot size and high power density in the spot, enhancing processing capability. The Violino is air cooled up to 20 W, requiring no water or external chiller. Diode pump life averages 10,000–15,000 working hours. It is available as an OEM laser source or as an OEM marker package complete with scanning head, DSP controller, and Windows 9X-, 2000-, ME-, and NT-compatible laser marking software.

UV lasers are suitable for high-volume marking

Coherent Laser Division Inc. offers the AVIA-355 series lasers, which use UV photochemical technology to mark plastic parts.

A series of UV lasers can mark white plastic medical components with designations such as part numbers, bar codes, and brand names. Offered by Coherent Laser Division Inc., the UV light output of the AVIA 355 lasers reacts with the titanium dioxide in a photochemical process within the plastic itself to mark parts without causing any surface composition change.

"In the medical industry where plastics marking has traditionally been done with ink-jet equipment, AVIA lasers offer an environmentally friendly marking method that doesn't rely on potentially toxic dyes," says business development manager Sri Venkat. "They are also easy to automate, even in high-volume manufacturing situations."

The AVIA 355 series systems are solid-state 355–nm laser sources ranging in average output power levels from 250 mW to 7 W. In most models, the pulse repetition rate can be adjusted on the fly from single shot to 100 kHz, and performance and beam quality can be optimized at each rate. Two field-replaceable, aluminum-free active-area diode modules pump the lasers. The diodes have demonstrated long lifetimes under extreme conditions, and contribute to the lasers' total life expectancy of more than 15,000 hours. The AVIA 355 lasers are manufactured in a cleanroom using the Permalign manufacturing technique, which involves aligning every component within the laser head with precision external tooling and then soldering them into place. The process ensures the permanent alignment of the laser head, improving laser efficiency and increasing its lifetime.

Laser system marks flat, rigid materials

A laser marker enables the transport and marking of flat workpieces with heights of up to 3 mm and type-plate sizes up to 100 x 50 mm. Supplied by Cab Technology Inc., the PI-5523500 Laser Typeplate marker is suitable for marking materials such as aluminum, steel, copper, glass, and plastic. The workpiece is automatically conveyed from an input magazine. After being marked, it is moved to a separate output device that can handle magazine speeds up to 100 mm/sec. The handling system is controlled by an integrated Siemens S7 PLC. Functions may be controlled by a digital operation panel and are shown on an LCD. The system requires a compressed-air supply with an air pressure of 5 bar. A fume extractor is recommended if materials cause an elevated emission of particles and contaminants.

Direct-drive linear stage has an ironless design

The ALS25000 stage from Aerotech Inc. acts as a laser positioning system without the use of an iron-core motor or cogs.

A direct-drive linear stage offers a low height profile, cable management, velocity control, low vibration, and accuracy, making it a suitable positioning system for laser processing and marking equipment used by medical device manufacturers. The ALS25000 stage from Aerotech Inc. has linear bearings that are supported by the maximum possible cross section while maintaining an overall low profile. Unlike other linear motor stages that use an iron-core flat motor design, the ALS25000 is driven by a high-power ironless forcer and U-channel magnet track to provide high throughput. Since the forcer does not contain iron parts, it is cog-free, which enables tight velocity control and contour motion profiles without sacrificing speed or acceleration. The magnetic field of the linear motor is self-contained within the U-channel design.

The U-channel track is made of opposing rows of high-power magnets that help to generate high output forces. An optimized cable management system attains millions of cycles of maintenance-free operation. Designed as a turnkey unit for both single- and multiaxis laser systems, the ALS25000 incorporates upper-axis cabling. Custom configurations are also available.

"The ALS25000 provides a small–cross section, medium payload capacity, environmentally protected, cost-effective alternative to the larger traditional linear motor stages," says applications engineer Steve Mallone. "Its smaller size and high-power linear motor make it suitable for high-performance x-y configurations."

Laser creates efficient polymer stencils

A laser system enables the production of stencils in polymer foil. This eliminates the need for chemical electroforming of metal-sheet stencils with a large amount of apertures.

The beam characteristics of the polymer laser from LPKF Laser & Electronics USA, in combination with the polymer material used for the stencils, results in good sidewall quality. Using these stencils reduces printing defects because they provide good paste release. The printing speed can also be three times faster than with regular metal stencils, and the average life span of a polymer stencil is much longer.

Printer setup with transparent polymer stencils is easier and about 50% quicker, according to the company. The stencils are mounted to the printing frame before cutting. This avoids any displacement errors caused by stretching, particularly on very thin stencils. Since no mesh is necessary to glue the stencil into the printing frame, the usable area is significantly larger with the same frame size than it would be using alternative methods.

The company's TurboCut II technology enables fast cuts of round apertures from 3 to 31 mm with a performance of up to 30,000 holes per hour and with a shape accuracy of 96%. The high performance makes the polymer laser suitable for stencils with more than 120,000 apertures.

Copyright ©2002 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Software Gives Manufacturers Greater Process Control

Originally Published MPMN June 2002

PRODUCT UPDATE

Software Gives Manufacturers Greater Process Control

Programs facilitate information sharing and operations management

Zachary Turke

To bring a device from the drawing board to the user, manufacturers must successfully accomplish a great number of individual processes, each with its own set of unique challenges. And each step in this development and production chain can lead to an increase in time to market and unit cost. Luckily for OEMs, a new generation of software is helping to greatly simplify many of these processes.

This article discusses recent software advances related to product design, weld control, and optical character recognition that help companies meet design and production challenges.

CAD programs allow collaborative design review over the Internet

A CAD program from Oracle Corp. allows anyone with a Web browser to participate in collaborative design reviews over the Internet. Compatible with limited-bandwidth connections, the Oracle CADView-3D program uses streaming technology to enable remote teams to view and mark up 3-D models without allowing unauthorized distribution of proprietary information. "Every engineer knows the benefits of collaborative design review," says vice president of applications development Kurt Robson. "But to collaborate, you need to show your designs to other people, something that can put your intellectual property at risk. Our program addresses these security concerns using a streaming technology that operates across firewalls and prevents other users from getting a full copy of your design," he says.

Using Oracle CADView-3D, the collaborative design review process begins when a host calls a Web meeting with one or more employees, supply chain members, or customers. During this meeting, the program allows each user to manipulate the model and annotate changes on-screen. These annotations are displayed to all participants in a user-specific color that helps keep track of their author. But Robson stresses that the program is more than just a simple Web meeting tool. "Other Web meeting tools on the market use a projection-type display, where 2-D images are sent out from the host computer, but this kind of program isn't compatible with 3-D CAD models," he says. "With our program, you're not sending pictures, but computer commands that actually tell the other users' computers what programs to run to allow the design to be seen from every angle."

According to company sources, the program reduces product development costs by decreasing the need for travel and face-to-face meetings. "By avoiding physical meetings, the program also allows companies to do a lot more design review, which helps to eliminate costly design changes late in the cycle," says Robson. He estimates that the program cuts the product development cycle time by 20%, design change processing time by 30%, and travel and communication expenses by 50%. Improved component reuse through the visualization and advanced parametric search of product information is also cited as a benefit.

Operating over a central company server, OneSpace Select software from CoCreate Software Inc. allows collaborative design review with minimum setup time and technical expertise.

A different manner of collaborative design review is offered by the OneSpace Select program from CoCreate Software Inc. Instead of enabling individual computers to talk to each other directly, this program is run from a central CoCreate platform that serves as an information router between parties. "Collaborative design review is something that everybody wants, but the cost and technical expertise required to install an appropriate system and get it to function properly are often prohibitive," says vice president George Schildge. "As our program is run directly from our server, these concerns are eliminated and companies can start collaborating much sooner. We've had companies up and running in as little as 90 minutes," he adds.

Available over the company's secure network for a monthly fee, the program allows firms to view and mark up 3-D models regardless of differences in operating systems. Additionally, this system allows users to free themselves from the hassles associated with patches and upgrades. "We handle all program changes at the central server, so every time users click and join, they're provided with the most up-to-date version of the program," says Schildge. The program is compatible with limited-bandwidth connections since only model changes and annotations are transmitted by the server.

Job management software automatically generates component orders

Designed by KSI Technologies, a job management program features a component job-generation function that simplifies the production of devices that consist of multiple components. Instantly creating all the job orders required to construct a final product, Shop Mate 4.0 software allows OEMs to control up to 99 manufacturing parameters for as many as 999 components. "With our program, you just enter the part you need, and it creates a list of all the component jobs that will be needed," says national sales and marketing director Scott Jacobson. "Then all you have to do is choose which ones to create and in what quantity, and it takes care of the rest."

Controlling scheduling, inventory, and labor and job costs, Shop Mate software is suited for managing all the day-to-day tasks of small- to medium-sized operations. In addition to the component job-generation feature, the program also includes functions that help streamline price quoting, sales and purchase ordering, bar coding, shop floor control, scheduling, shipping, data collection, accounting, and system administration. E-mail capabilities make possible the expedient delivery of price quotes, purchase orders, and commission reports.

Custom software provides graphical user interface for ultrasonic welders

Dukane Corp.'s iPC software for ultrasonic welders makes it possible to monitor and change all weld parameters from a single location.

A computer program from Dukane Corp. uses the Microsoft Internet Explorer environment as a familiar frame of reference for controlling the company's Level 4 ultrasonic welders. Requiring no special hardware, iPC software uses drop-down menus, click-and-drag controls, and other graphical tools to adjust operating parameters and evaluate part data. "The main benefit of this program is how easy it makes weld control," says general manager Mike Johnston. "From the full-screen display, you can monitor weld parameters as they occur and make all changes from a single location." Parameters that can be manipulated using the program include weld pressure, amplitude, energy, time, distance, collapse distance, and peak power.

An on-screen help function increases the program's ease of use. "Just right-click on any control that you don't understand, and a context-sensitive help menu comes up to tell you what it does," says Johnston. When using the help menu, the control in question remains visible to allow a user to read the manual and adjust operating parameters simultaneously. Other product benefits include the ability to save weld data and setup parameters to file for transfer or later review, and built-in networking capabilities that make it possible to control multiple welders from a single location.

Optical-character-recognition software is compatible with fuzzy symbols

Optical-character-recognition software performs identification, matching, sorting, tracking, and verification of products as they move through laboratory, manufacturing, or material-handling processes. Designed by Concepts In Computing Inc., the EconoCR program features advanced recognition features that improve accuracy with fuzzy or out-of-focus characters that sometimes occur in assembly line conditions. On-site training capabilities also allow a new font to become recognizable to the program within minutes. Compatible reading materials include PCBs, wafers, glass lenses, electronic components, LCDs, and computer monitors.

Previously available only in the C++ language, EconoCR software is now offered at the library level in the LabView environment from National Instruments Inc. The software is also available for implementation in products offered by Analog Devices Inc., Texas Instruments Inc., Motorola Inc., and Hitachi Ltd.

Copyright ©2002 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Web Site Gives Manufacturers Access to Electronics Analysis Data

Originally Published MPMN June 2002

E-NEWS

Web Site Gives Manufacturers Access to Electronics Analysis Data

Zachary Turke

www.reliabilityanalysislab.com

A Web site hosted by Raytheon Systems Co. (Lexington, MA) allows OEMs to access the results of electronic component analyses at any time. Located at www.reliabilityanalysislab.com, the ReAct Online page uses secure extranet connections to integrate a public customer-friendly site with the company's internal laboratory information management system. "The challenge for our customers is the speed of problem resolution," says laboratory manager Nicki Girouard. "After a defect arises, manufacturers don't want to wait a long time for the information that will allow them to get production started again. With our site, the results of all tests are posted as soon they become available so OEMs can make changes to the production environment earlier," she says.

Tests results are accessed using a secure user name and password that are provided upon part submission. Once logged in, a user can view and download evaluation data, interim and final analysis reports, and project status and funding levels. When applicable, images captured by electron microscopes, chemical analysis systems, and other equipment are also provided. "The site gives our customers a direct hookup with our engineers so that they can collaborate on detailed interpretations, cause-and-effect analyses, and design and manufacturing brainstorming sessions," says Girouard.

According to Girouard, the ReAct Online site is suited for "any manufacturer dealing with component chip technology." Medical devices that Raytheon has previously evaluated include pacemakers, defibrillators, infusion pumps, and dosage alarms. The company's testing capabilities span failure analysis, surface evaluation, electron microscopy testing, chip slicing, and process improvement and design consultation.

Copyright ©2002 Medical Product Manufacturing News

On-Line Community Answers Automation Questions

Originally Published MPMN June 2002

E-NEWS

On-Line Community Answers Automation Questions

Zachary Turke

www.modicon.com

The automation division of Schneider Electric (North Andover, MA) has launched a new Web community where engineers can interact with other colleagues interested in automation. Hosted at www.modicon.com, the site allows users to participate in technical discussions on a diverse range of subjects, including remote input/output devices, SCADA software, networking protocols, and servo controllers. "Our goal with this Web page was to give engineers a place where they could share their concerns and opinions of the various kinds of automation technology on the market," says senior marketing communications manager Jane Braun. "The result is a free dynamic community where everyone benefits from quick reactions to market inputs."

The information on the Schneider Web site includes data provided through a partnership with Control.com Inc. (Westborough, MA), one of the Web's largest peer-to-peer communities of control engineering professionals. Under the terms of this partnership, Control.com has agreed to display the subset of its content that pertains to automation on the Schneider site. By clicking on a link on the Schneider page, however, visitors can access the entire Control.com information database.

Copyright ©2002 Medical Product Manufacturing News

My Favorite Bookmarks

Originally Published MPMN June 2002

E-NEWS

My Favorite Bookmarks

Joe Hammer
Staff Engineer
Johnson and Johnson Center for Biomaterials & Advanced Technologies

Zachary Turke

NASA Hot Technology (www.nasatechnology.com) isn't just about space shuttles and satellites. There's a lot of medical, biological, and materials work being performed at NASA, and this site serves as a portal for disseminating the organization's most commercially viable technology to the business sector. Maintained through a partnership with the National Technology Transfer Center, the page provides technical overviews of current projects and serves as the springboard for companies looking to codevelop new products with the space agency.

Small Parts (www.smallparts.com) is where I go when I'm building a model or prototype and can't find the parts I need at the local hardware store. The site is great because it doesn't have a minimum order size; if all I need is a single bolt, that's all I have to buy. You can browse through the firm's entire catalog of specialized parts on-line, and purchase what you want over the Web or by phone. If you provide drawings or specifications, the company will even machine the parts to meet your needs.

The Tissue Engineering Pages (www.tissue-engineering.net) is a site where the thought leaders in this emerging technology gather to share their insights. Featuring a range of up-to-date articles, the page contains a news archive with a helpful search function that makes it easy to find the information I'm looking for. The site also has a useful bookmark section that contains hyperlinks to other relevant companies, conferences, literature, and databases.

Medscape (www.medscape.com) is a comprehensive Internet clearinghouse of medical information. The site contains daily news updates, conference coverage, and discussion groups organized by clinical specialty. The page is easy to navigate, and after a simple one-time registration, it automatically loads the information that most suits your needs. Personally, I use the orthopedics subsite and find it a handy resource for information on the biology and biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system.

The Johnson & Johnson Center for Biomaterials & Advanced Technologies (Somerville, NJ) works collaboratively within the Johnson & Johnson family of companies to develop new medical products in the areas of implantable devices, drug delivery, and tissue engineering.

Copyright ©2002 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Device Outsourcing Firms Avail and Horizon Merge

Originally Published MPMN June 2002

INDUSTRY NEWS

Device Outsourcing Firms Avail and Horizon Merge

Norbert Sparrow

Two companies that offer outsourcing services to medical device OEMs, Avail (Dallas, TX; www.availmed.com) and Horizon Medical Outsourcing (Santa Ana, CA; www.horizonmed.com), have merged. The announcement was issued on May 6.

Avail CEO and president J. Randall Keene first broached the idea of a merger in 1994 with William A. Goolsbee, president and cofounder of Horizon. Since then, "we've been trying to find the right time to partner together," says Keene. "We even made a couple of attempts several years ago. Finally, toward the fall of last year, the time was just right," he says. Keene cites the two firms' complementary strengths and the device industry's embrace of outsourcing as primary reasons for proceeding with the merger.

"Horizon is deeper into design and process development than Avail has been," says Keene. Horizon's focus on mechanical assemblies—medical disposables with mechanical parts—complements Avail's core competency, which could be characterized as being geared to static parts, he explains. "Avail has been [dedicated] to high-volume manufacturing and providing OEMs with a one-stop manufacturing solution," says Keene. By combining process and design engineering expertise with a rigorous approach to design for manufacturability, Keene's objective is to set a new standard for the design, manufacture, and assembly of medical disposables.

Keene sees a glowing future, not only for Avail and Horizon, but for device outsourcing in general. "We spent our first 6½ years explaining this concept to OEMs," says Keene. "They've seen what has happened in the electronics, automotive, and other industries, so that part of it is behind us. The question OEMs ask us now is, 'can you really do what you say you can do?'" says Keene. More than ever, the answer is a resounding yes.

Copyright ©2002 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Cavro Becomes Tecan Systems

Originally Published MPMN June 2002

INDUSTRY NEWS

Cavro Becomes Tecan Systems

Susan Wallace

Cavro Scientific Instruments Inc., a supplier of OEM liquid-handling modules and laboratory automation systems, has changed its name to Tecan Systems (San Jose; www.tecansystems.com). According to the company, the Tecan Systems name reflects the expansion of the laboratory automation systems product line to include more turnkey engineering and manufacturing services. Tecan Systems will offer OEM and end-user customers the ability to design and manufacture specialized laboratory robotic systems.

"Our new name, Tecan Systems, reflects 15 years of synergy between Cavro and Tecan, and enables us to combine the liquid handling, robotic and detection expertise developed by both organizations over 30 years," says Stephen Levers, president of Tecan Systems.

Emile Sutcliffe, CEO of the Tecan Group says, 'The new Tecan Systems reflects our goal to provide customers with complete solutions that fulfil their needs for laboratory automation in the life sciences."

Copyright ©2002 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Coreco Announces 'Intelligent' Imaging Makeover

Originally Published MPMN June 2002

INDUSTRY NEWS

Coreco Announces 'Intelligent' Imaging Makeover

Norbert Sparrow

The new Intelligent Products Div. of Coreco Imaging will focus on the development of easy-to-use machine vision systems for manufacturing environments.

In an effort to develop affordable easy-to-use machine vision products for use in manufacturing environments, Coreco Imaging has announced the formation of Intelligent Products Div. (IDP; Billerica, MA; www.corecoimaging.com). A wholly owned subsidiary of Coreco Imaging, which designs, develops, and manufactures hardware and software for use in medical imaging and other applications, IDP's mission is to expand the company's product line beyond its traditional OEM market.

"End-users have traditionally shunned machine vision because of its complexity and lackluster performance," says Steve Geraghty, vice president of Coreco Imaging and director of IDP. Although advances have been made in recent years to engineer simpler and more affordable products, there is considerable room for improvement, according to Geraghty. IDP, he adds, will provide robust and cost-effective machine vision solutions that combine intelligence and ease of use.

Drawing on Coreco Imaging's core competencies, IDP is developing application-specific products for use on the factory floor. The products are designed to be deployed in minutes by users with no expert knowledge of the underlying technology. The application logic and intelligence are preinstalled, allowing the devices to be configured by means of a standard Web browser interface.

Copyright ©2002 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Software Solution Slashes Service Costs for Equipment Manufacturer

Originally Published MPMN June 2002

INDUSTRY NEWS

Software Solution Slashes Service Costs for Equipment Manufacturer

Susan Wallace

Software for the healthcare industry integrates customer and business management capabilities with portable biomedical equipment testers and safety analyzers. The idea for the AllianceEnterprise MedService solution was developed by the CEO of MultiMedical Systems (Fresno, CA; www.multimedicalsystems.com), Jeffrey C. Lagrutta, and Jacques Cormier, vice president of software solutions at Astea International Inc. (Horsham, PA; www.astea.com).

"Other software products for checklist PM procedures are designed for end-users of biomedical equipment, not service organizations like MultiMedical Systems," says Lagrutta. "The Alliance Enterprise MedService solution manages entire business processes. Paperless equipment management and testing is integrated and expanded within the scope of other enterprise needs to manage workforces, other assets, cash flows, and customer relationships."

The system's mobile capabilities equip technicians at healthcare facilities to independently handle periodic corrective maintenance actions and document work electronically. The technicians can use any of the company's portable biomedical safety analyzers and testers, and enter results on an Alliance Laptop for Service or Alliance Pocket PC for Service application, which are part of the overall product. These components were already include a substantial set of other electronic tools that eliminate manual tasks and paper reporting for the service technicians.

Data integrity was also a concern during the software design process since during the software design process MultiMedical Systems' existing management software was susceptible to overwriting entire files when data were uploaded from field technicians, which risked inadvertently erasing valuable service records. The AllianceEnterprise MedService solution employs a "changes-only" synchronization technique to exchange data between mobile clients and the enterprise database. Thus, existing data archives are protected.

A configuration of the software can also include integrated sales force automation, marketing, a customer contact center, customer and partner portals, and other untethered and real-time wireless mobile options for sales, service, and managerial employees.

"The concept is to 'connect the enterprise'" explains James W. Kirby, Astea's vice president of sales and marketing. "Any data entered into AllianceEnterprise from a salesperson, a contact center representative, a field technician, or a dealer or customer through a self-service portal has a place in a consolidated enterprise database."

Copyright ©2002 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Embedded System Increases Accuracy of Drug Administration

Originally Published MPMN June 2002

INDUSTRY NEWS

Embedded System Increases Accuracy of Drug Administration

Kelly Donoghue

An infusion pump manufacturer and an embedded systems supplier recently cooperated in the development of an innovative, automated infusion pump. At the heart of the pump is an embedded system created by Paragon Innovations (Plano, TX; www.paragoninnovations.com) that gives the device bar code–scanning capabilities. B. Braun Medical Inc. (Bethlehem, PA; www.bbraunusa.com) manufactured the advanced infusion pump to reduce IV medication errors and provide increased safety for patients.

The Horizon Outlook with DoseScan uses a bar code scanner to ensure that the proper drug is delivered to the right patient in the correct dose.

The Horizon Outlook with DoseScan is an infusion pump that uses a bar code scanner to ensure that the proper drug is delivered to the right patient at the proper dose. Once a prescription is filled, a bar code is placed on the IV bag, which is delivered to the patient's room. The nurse scans an ID badge across the Horizon Outlook scanner to verify authorization. The nurse then scans the patient's ID to identify the correct patient. The bar code on the IV bag is also scanned to confirm the match and to program the infusion device. Having confirmed that the displayed information is correct, the nurse initiates infusion by pressing the "run" button.

Paragon Innovations specializes in the design and development of embedded systems, including electronics hardware design, software design, systems design, technical documentation, prototype boards, mechanical design, and electronics manufacturing. The company also offers packaged Internet devices and Ethernet gateways. "We can make a Web server fit into a cigarette box," says Mike Wilkinson, the company's CEO. The Texas-based embedded systems supplier collaborates with customers to create Internet systems that ensure universal connectivity and access.

The company has completed three projects for the medical sector, including a cardiac output monitor, an insulin pump, and a pulse oximeter. "We would like to work on more medical projects because the companies are so focused on the quality of the product," says Wilkinson. As part of its project regimen, Paragon completes full documentation for clients' projects, and implements action-tracking systems throughout the entire product development cycle.

Mike Zakrewski, product director of infusion systems at B. Braun, explains why the company partnered with Paragon to create the Horizon Outlook. "We found Paragon to be the right choice because of its track record of success, as well as its software and hardware knowledge," he says.

Zakrewski explains that his firm interviewed several companies for the project, and that ultimately, Paragon proved to be the best fit. "Paragon has a lot of expertise in the area of embedded systems," says Zakrewski. "They have the ability to think outside of the box, which really helped us in developing the Horizon Outlook system."

Copyright ©2002 Medical Product Manufacturing News