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Articles from 2003 In June


CAM System Slashes CNC Programming Time

Originally Published MPMN June 2003

PROFILE

CAM System Slashes CNC Programming Time

A fabricator of implant components reports 80% productivity gain

Kelly Donoghue

Esprit's hybrid solid-modeling program enables users to import models directly from a customer's CAD software.
(click to enlarge)

Conventional CNC programming methods can delay production and increase a product's time to market. In a competitive market, that was not acceptable to U. Klein GmbH (St. Ingbert, Germany), a contract manufacturer that specializes in producing components for medical OEMs. The firm recently switched to a CAM system, which has enabled it to slash programming time for complex parts by as much as 80%. "The time savings have been fantastic," says CNC programmer Ralf Merz. "We reduced the programming time for a medical knee implant from one week to five hours." Not only has the switch proved to be less time consuming, but the new system has increased accuracy and control over the machining process, thereby improving the quality of the finished product.

"In the past, we programmed our CNC machining centers by developing macros that performed common machining functions," says Merz. "Then we built our programs using these macros. This worked well with basic components, but was very time-consuming with the complicated contours that the medical device industry has begun to use in recent years," he adds. On several occasions, Merz notes, the company had to refrain from giving customers a price quote because engineers were unable to write a G code, or CNC program, for the job within a reasonable time frame. U. Klein had little choice but to upgrade its programming capabilities.

Using DP Technology's Esprit CAM system, U. Klein GmbH was able to reduce CNC programming time for the machining of a complex implantable part such as this from one week to five hours.

In its search for the appropriate CAM system provider, U. Klein turned to DP Technology (Camarillo, CA; www.dptechnology.com). "We selected the Esprit CAM system from DP Technology because it provides a solid-modeling environment that is capable of defining the most complex geometry and an open architecture that offers enormous flexibility," Merz explains.

"The Esprit advanced hybrid solid-modeling kernel enables U. Klein to import intact files directly from a customer's CAD software, while the program's universal postprocessor automatically produces flawless G code for the CNC machines," says DP Technology vice president Chuck Matthews. U. Klein had been designing parts in Solid Edge based on sketches or blueprints provided by the customer. Now the company is able to import the Solid Edge files directly into Esprit, with all of the solid faces trimmed and in the proper orientation.

Merz explains that there are no limits to the shapes that can be designed using the system. The CAD software automatically detects and corrects gaps and duplicates in the geometry during the import. An automatic editing process reduces programming time by eliminating the need to manually define the geometry of a certain part. The operator can print out a simulated image for customer approval and then specify the tools to be used and the cutting speeds and feeds. Because most of the parts are machined from solid blocks of metal, Merz often uses Esprit's automatic roughing capabilities to produce tool paths that quickly remove the bulk of the material from the workpiece. He then defines the finishing cuts and simulates the machining operations on-screen to ensure that the machined part matches the design. Within a few hours, the G code can be created to produce the part.

"This new CAM system has helped our company to compete in a challenging market by allowing us to program any part, in considerably less time than our competitors require," Merz concludes. "Esprit enables U. Klein to accomplish its primary goal as a contract shop that helps customers bring new ideas to market faster than the competition."

Copyright ©2003 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Bar Code Scanners Designed for Integration with Clinical Instruments

Originally Published MPMN June 2003

HOTLINE

Bar Code Scanners Designed for Integration with Clinical Instruments

Throughput attains 1000 readings per second

The MS-3 laser scanners can read bar codes on test tubes, reagent packs, and microplates within a distance of 1.5 in.
(click to enlarge)

Specifically designed for integration into clinical analyzers and related instruments, a line of bar code scanners meets demanding space and budgetary requirements without compromising performance.

The MS-3-series readers developed by Microscan (Renton, WA) are available in laser scanner, CCD scanner, and stand-alone CCD scan-engine versions in a 1.75 x 0.85-in. package. A large scan width and >70º scan angle enable the MS-3 laser scanners to read bar codes on test tubes, reagent packs, and microtitre plates within a distance of 1.5 in. Throughput attains 1000 operations per second.

Weighing a scant 2.5 oz, the MS-3 laser and CCD readers can be easily mounted onto robotic equipment. The scanners can also be embedded into instruments, machinery, or other applications that require a small, fast, and reliable bar code reader.

The company also recently introduced its Quadrus EZ smart camera. Reading standard linear bar codes as well as RSS and composite symbology and data matrix codes, the product can help manufacturers comply with regulatory requirements related to product labeling. Quadrus EZ has the capability to read multiple code types on a variety of products on the same production line with the same bar code reader, according to the firm.

Norbert Sparrow

Microscan Systems Inc., 1201 SW 7th St., Renton, WA 98055; phone: 800/762-1149; fax: 425/226-8250; info@microscan.com; www.microscan.com

Copyright ©2003 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Custom Implant Packaging Combines Thermoplastic and Foam Materials

Originally Published MPMN June 2003

HOTLINE

Custom Implant Packaging Combines Thermoplastic and Foam Materials

Products are cushioned from shock and vibration

Foam retainers transform a standard tray into a custom package.

Custom packaging manufactured in a Class 10,000 cleanroom provides particulate-free protection for hip and knee joint replacements, spinal disk spacers, bone fixators, and related implants. Supplied by UFP Technologies (Georgetown, MA), the custom-engineered packaging can also be designed to safely hold multiple products.

By combining thermoformed sheet plastic with foam, the company can transform a simple thermoformed tray into a protective cushioned package. The compression-molded foam inserts also allow the supplier to adapt its standard base tray to meet various OEM requirements. For example, the foam can be used to convert a standard tray into a package that can accommodate several products. This enables a reduction in tooling costs and may allow OEMs to trim their inventory of differently sized containers. The foam retainers are available in a range of colors to support product branding.

The overall package design provides shock and vibration protection throughout the distribution chain. The materials withstand sterilization, and the use of clear thermoformed plastics to create the plastic shell facilitates item identification and retrieval.

Founded in 1963, UFP operates 10 plants and three satellite facilities in North America. Its engineered packaging division designs and manufactures interior protective packaging using molded fiber, vacuum-formed plastics, and molded and fabricated foam plastic products. The component products division applies laminating, molding, and fabrication expertise to the design and manufacture of engineered components.

Norbert Sparrow

UFP Technologies Inc., 1235 National Ave., Addison, IL 60101-3179; phone: 630/543-2855; fax: 630/543-9820; jbushnell@sprynet.com; www.ufpt.com

Copyright ©2003 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Laser Supplier Introduces Twin-Rod Technology for Welding Units

Originally Published MPMN June 2003

HOTLINE

Laser Supplier Introduces Twin-Rod Technology for Welding Units

Upgrade can increase power in existing equipment by 20%

Twin-rod technology enables smaller focus spot sizes and greater working distances.
(click to enlarge)

Successfully introduced with a line of drilling lasers, twin-rod (TR) technology is now available to upgrade a company's entire JK-series welding lasers. Developed by GSI Lumonics (Billerica, MA), the twin-rod oscillator design combines high beam quality with a compact laser head. Benefits include a smaller focal spot size, greater working distances, and enhanced processing capabilities, according to Andrew Dodd from the company's Northville, MI, office. "This is truly a new development for welding applications," says Dodd.

"It was driven by customer requests for welding solutions in ever-smaller components. The upgrade enables users to increase power in their existing units by about 20%," he says. The retrofitting process is extremely easy, he adds.

The TR upgrade includes a replacement laser head, power supply adapter heads, a single-fibre input module, a focus head with 160- or 200-mm recollimation, a focus lens, and a 15-m Luminator fibre-optic cable. The small-diameter cable does not require alignment following changeovers, and a proprietary coupling technology provides back-reflection protection during the welding of highly reflective materials.

Norbert Sparrow

GSI Lumonics, 105 Schneider Rd., Kanata, ON Canada K2K 1Y3; ph: 613/592-1460; fax: 613/592-7549; info@gsilumonics.com; www.gsilumonics.com

Copyright ©2003 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Laser Processing Services and Equipment

Originally Published MPMN June 2003

SPOTLIGHT

Laser Processing Services and Equipment

Polymer-tube processing

A laser machining services provider has added two capabilities to its range of services involving the application of laser energy to polymer-based materials and coatings. In addition to fine-wire stripping, parylene ablation, Teflon marking, and polyimide skiving, the company can perform laser machining of polyether urethane tubing and laser marking of pigmented silicone tubing. In the former process, precise features are machined with virtually no residual discoloration; in the latter, dark, legible text that meets implantable-device standards is produced without compromising the tube wall. Avicenna Technology Inc., 1602 Benson Rd., Montevideo, MN 56265.


UV micromachining

Excimer, frequency-tripled, and frequency-quadrupled lasers are used by a job shop to perform UV laser micromachining services from R&D to high-volume production. Ultraviolet photons process components via cold ablation, achieving very small feature sizes and extremely clean edge quality with precisely controlled material removal. No postlaser cleaning is necessary in certain applications. The service provider also offers custom UV workstations. PhotoMachining Inc., 4 Industrial Dr., Pelham, NH 03076.


Laser welding and ablation

Laser welding of miniature coils is performed by a company specializing in the manufacture of implantable cardiac and neurostimulation leads. Dissimilar metals are commonly welded. Also available is laser ablation of medical-grade plastics, including hole drilling, stripping of coatings, cutting of woven materials, and ablation to depth. All services are carried out in an FDA-registered, ISO 9001–certified facility. Biomec Inc., 7452 W. 78th St., Minneapolis, MN 55439.


Six-axis micromachining

Advanced six-axis micromachining technology enables three-dimensional minimally invasive medical devices to be laser machined quickly and economically. Stage travel in the machine's x- and y-axes is 12 in., z-axis travel is 4 in., yaw is ±160°, pitch is 45°–90°, and roll is 360°. Resolution is 0.5 µm in x-y-z and 6 arc seconds for yaw, pitch, and roll. Accuracy is ±6 µm in the three coordinate axes and 3 arc minutes for yaw, pitch, and roll. Rotary repeatability is 12 arc seconds, while repeatability in x, y, and z is ±1 µm. Resonetics, 4 Bud Way, #21, Nashua, NH 03063.


Laser welding

A full-service laser applications company that offers contract manufacturing and R&D has added laser welding to its previously existing laser marking and micromachining capabilities. Its medical device microfabrication facility is now equipped with a 220-W Lasag pulsed Nd:YAG laser with 200- and 600-µm-fiber delivery. The welding system is fully integrated with a four-axis workstation for maximum device processing flexibility. Mound Laser & Photonics Center Inc., P.O. Box 223, Miamisburg, OH 45343.


Laser processing services

The laser-based advanced materials-processing capabilities of a company dedicated to serving medical device manufacturers have been extended by the addition of wire-cut electrical-discharge machining capacity. The firm's service potential is expanded now that the new EDM capability and conventional machining expertise can be combined with its core laser processes for cutting, welding, drilling, and engraving. Secondary finishing services also are provided. Its ISO 9002 certification means that the company can meet quality requirements from raw material supply to provision of complete assemblies. Accu-Met Laser Inc., 65 Western Industrial Dr., Cranston, RI 02921.


Metal component marking

A single-source supplier of metal device fabrication services can mark and engrave medical and surgical components and provide in-house laser welding, electropolishing, and passivation. A proprietary process has been developed for corrosion-resistant marking of 300-series and Type 17-4 and 17-7 stainless steels. The company also uses its own CNC linear and rotational motion systems to perform calibration banding and laser welding of cylindrical components. Northeast Laser & Electropolish, 246-C Main St., Monroe, CT 06468.


Turnkey workstation

A modular laser workstation can be used to mark, engrave, and cut a wide variety of materials used in medical device manufacturing. The turnkey Laser Mate II operates as a stand-alone system but can also be mounted over an existing cleanroom conveyor line. Additional system inputs and outputs accommodate the attachment of such peripheral devices as dials, conveyors, and indexing apparatus for high-volume production. The manufacturer has several hundred proven standard system configurations in its library. Windows-based software controls the consistent marking of more than 150 characters per second in text heights that can be smaller than 0.015 in. Online Inc., 3980 Albany St., McHenry, IL 60050.


Plastics-welding systems

Turnkey and production-line laser systems for plastics assembly operations provide high flexibility and precise, repeatable hermetic welding of thermoplastics and thermoelastomers, including dissimilar materials. Novolas systems employ the transmission welding process, in which laser light passes through a transparent top layer and is absorbed by a bottom layer, melting both components to create a weld. Weld widths as narrow as 0.004 in. are achievable. Contour, simultaneous, and mask systems offer a selection of weld patterns. Leister Technologies llc, 1253 Hamilton Pky., Itasca, IL 60143.

Copyright ©2003 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Counting the Cost of New Technologies

Originally Published MPMN June 2003

EDITOR'S PAGE

Counting the Cost of New Technologies

In April of this year, FDA approved Cypher, the first drug-eluting stent for commercial use in the United States. While this is newsworthy in and of itself, something else notable happened along the way to market.

Long before the ink dried on the approval paperwork, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) already had in place reimbursement guidelines for drug-eluting stents. Two new diagnosis-related groups (DRGs) for inpatients and one ambulatory payment classification for outpatients had already been drafted. The agency will now pay 17% more for drug-eluting stents than their bare counterparts.

This efficiency is noteworthy. Previously, CMS has simply assigned new products to the DRGs of predecessor technologies. Often they are given lower reimbursement rates. It can take up to four years before the agency adjusts claims data to reflect the higher costs of a new technology.

However, "In order to ensure access to [drug-eluting stent] technology for patients as rapidly as possible, the Department of Health and Human Services has taken the unprecedented step of assigning it to new DRGs prior to FDA approval," said Cordis Corp., a Johnson & Johnson Co. and the maker of Cypher.

Unprecedented, perhaps, but this case shows that it can be done. This example should set the standard for other new technologies. Having reimbursement guidelines in place as soon as the product is available will certainly speed up the adoption of new devices by hospitals and doctors. This can only improve patient care.

To make sure this happens, manufacturers can and should play an active role in helping CMS make reimbursement decisions. The decision in the case of drug-eluting stents didn't come about by accident. Cordis "worked closely with CMS for nearly two years, sharing clinical and health economic data for drug-eluting stents," according to the company.

Congress is also helping to bring about changes in the way CMS reimburses new technologies. In April, U.S. Senators Rick Santorum (R–PA) and Blanche Lincoln (D–AR) unveiled the bipartisan Medicare Innovation Responsiveness Act of 2003. Representatives Jim Ramstad (R–MN), Anna Eshoo (D–CA), and Joseph Pitts (R–PA) introduced similar legislation into the House in February.

Among other things, the new regulations will establish a Council for Technology and Innovation to improve the timeliness and coordination of coverage, coding, and payment decisions. It will also reduce the amount of time it takes Medicare to set adequate payment levels for new medical technologies.

The Cypher stent promises great benefits in the care of cardiac patients. The devices are said to reduce the rate of restenosis (reclogging of the artery) by about two-thirds when compared with a bare stent. As a result, a patient may have to endure fewer angioplasty procedures. Doctors may also be able to use the products in certain patients instead of performing much more invasive coronary artery bypass graft surgeries.

All predictions for Cypher's success are rosy. According to Johnson & Johnson's sales projections, up to 75% of U.S. cardiologists will be using Cypher within a year. There is already a waiting list of 40,000 patients.

And a recent Dow Jones report said that drug-eluting stents "could quadruple the size of the $1.5 billion U.S. stent market by 2005 . . . and add nearly $2 billion to Johnson & Johnson's sales this year alone." Other companies will soon join the market. Boston Scientific anticipates receiving FDA approval in the fourth quarter of 2003 for its Taxus stent. Analysts forecast sales in excess of $1 billion during 2004. Guidant is also expected to launch its Achieve stent sometime in 2005.

Drug-eluting stents will help untold numbers of patients. Fortunately, the devices will be available to them because of the prompt actions of CMS in ensuring proper reimbursement. The agency should strive to make this case the new standard.

Susan Wallace, Managing Editor

Copyright ©2003 Medical Product Manufacturing News

My Favorite Bookmarks

Originally Published MPMN June 2003

E-NEWS

My Favorite Bookmarks

Martin O'Malley,
Vice President of Engineering
IPD Industries Inc.

CommLinx Solutions Proprietary Ltd. (www.commlinx.com.au) is a good cookbook resource for schematics on electronics subsystem circuitry. The company's main business is in communications and GPS devices, but its site contains detailed diagrams for well over 1000 different circuit building blocks ranging from alarms, power amplifiers and supplies, preamp circuits, data-acquisition devices, filters, microcontrollers, and much more.

Engineering Central (www.engcen.com) is primarily an employment resource for engineers, but what I come here for is software information. Click on the software tab, and you will find brief descriptions and company links for engineering software from every discipline. The page may not necessarily be the definitive source on these types of programs, but it serves as a good overview of what's out there.

National Semiconductor Corp. (www.national.com) contains user-friendly simulation programs on power, wireless, and microcontroller functionality that can come in handy when designing a new device. Just input the information on the components you want to use in the Webench section, and it will tell you how the device will function. You can even run the simulations backwards by entering the desired performance and allowing the program to determine the required component characteristics.

Arrow Electronics Inc. (www.arrow.com) is one of the largest distributors of electronic components in the world. The firm's Web page looks simple at first, but its supplier list is extremely detailed and well organized. This company supplies most of our electronics, and its site allows us to seamlessly integrate the product information into our development cycle.

IPD Industries Inc. (Pittsburgh) performs contract engineering and manufacturing of proprietary electronics for emerging medical fields. The company's product line includes sleep-apnea monitors, electrocardiograph devices, and electronic stethoscopes.

Copyright ©2003 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Site Highlights Innovative Medical Connector Technology

Originally Published MPMN June 2003

E-NEWS

Site Highlights Innovative Medical Connector Technology
www.medconx.com
(click to enlarge)

A company that developed a novel connector interface used in minimally invasive surgical and diagnostic instruments has introduced a Web site to showcase the technology. A versatile wire termination platform, Smart Block connectors are built into the hand pieces of medical devices. By eliminating manual termination and component assembly, the technology is said to reduce assembly times, improve yield, and decrease field failures. An eight-minute video on the "21st century technology" developed by Medconx (Mountain View, CA) can be accessed at www.medconx.com. (Formerly known as EMC Component Group, the company changed its name to Medconx in January.)

Other features on the Web site include an interactive request for quotes page that allows image or CAD files to be uploaded, and an expanded product catalog showing various Smart Block configurations as well as use-limiting devices and a new family of universal disposable connector cables. Manufacturers are invited to enter into an on-line dialogue with Medconx design engineers in the product development and prototyping section.

The Smart Block connector interface was developed in 2000, when an oscillator customer asked the company to solve wire termination issues that were affecting its assembly costs and production yields. "We believe users will find the site to be informative and constructive for understanding how our technology can reduce current assembly costs and facilitate new product development," says Medconx president and CEO Michael Viguerie.

Copyright ©2003 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Process Optimizer Targets Molders and Extruders

Originally Published MPMN June 2003

E-NEWS

Process Optimizer Targets Molders and Extruders
www.spirex.com
(click to enlarge)

By accessing an on-line optimizer feature, extruders and molders can determine ways to reduce scrap and per-part costs in the plastication process. Designed by Spirex Corp. (Youngstown, OH), the Process Optimizer located at www.spirex.com invites users to enter their machine specifications, existing screw data, and processing conditions on a form. Based on this information, Spirex engineers will provide comprehensive recommendations for improving the plastication.

The form also includes a cost justification analysis. Users can input their part quantities, cycle time, resin costs, and other relevant data to rapidly determine the profitability level and competitive advantage that can be achieved.

"Molders may be able to save thousands of dollars per month in production costs by optimizing the performance of the machine's plasticating unit," says Spirex president Paul T. Colby. "This may require a change in thought on the part of some molders," he adds. "They may have to stop thinking of screws, barrels, valves, and other components in the plasticating unit merely as replacement parts, [but see them as] part of a system designed to increase profitability."

To develop process efficiency in plastication, manufacturers should focus on reducing scrap, cycle time, and component wear, according to the firm. Spirex also recommends analyzing material delivery components and clamp, tooling, cooling, and take-off equipment as part of a comprehensive process optimization program.

Copyright ©2003 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Full-Function Vision Sensor Provides Inspection Alternative

Originally Published MPMN June 2003

EQUIPMENT NEWS: Testing and Inspection

Full-Function Vision Sensor Provides Inspection Alternative
The PresencePlus Pro from Banner Engineering Corp. captures images and analyzes them for conformity to tolerance limits.
(click to enlarge)

A camera-based visual inspection sensor is offered by Banner Engineering Corp. as an economical alternative to complex machine vision systems for production-line part inspection. The PresencePlus Pro is a simple, easy-to-use sensor that, like the more complex full-size systems, captures images and analyzes them for conformity to tolerance limits.

Someone with minimal knowledge of vision systems can quickly set up an inspection to test parts in-line and reject bad ones. The PresencePlus Pro offers the option of point-and-click automatic teach or custom setup.

Using a remote PC, the operator illuminates the target, focuses the camera, and selects the appropriate analytical tools. Inspection tolerances can be set automatically or manually. After setup, inspection results are stored without need of the PC.

The sensors perform multiple inspections simultaneously, checking for both translational and rotational variations. Parts moving along the production line or web are accurately inspected even if not oriented uniformly in the camera's field of view.

Banner Engineering Corp., 9714 Tenth Ave. N., Minneapolis, MN 55441.


All-Electric Systems Perform Testing of Devices, Materials

The 900L system from TestResources Inc. features an all-electric drive to perform various tests on medical devices.

An all-electric drive distinguishes the latest generation of universal dynamic test systems developed by TestResources Inc. The 900L system performs fatigue, fracture, tensile, compression, high-speed impact, and shear tests on devices, materials, and components, providing precision control of load, strain, position, and test speed.

The 900L includes test analysis software, compression platens, specimen grips, and biomedical baths. It controls tests with load levels of milligrams up to 800 lb and speeds to 10 in./sec. An advanced servocontroller features adjustable tuning, ultrahigh resolution, and user-programmable firmware. The tester operates to 15 Hz, with voice-coil actuators supplied for higher speeds.

Electromechanical test systems from the manufacturer are used in medical R&D and quality control applications. Also available are upgrade controllers for servohydraulic systems.

TestResources Inc., 680 Industrial Cir. S., Shakopee, MN 55379.


Precision Syringe Tester Maintains Accuracy with Changing Loads

The Lab Master from Testing Machines Inc. can be used to determine the penetration resistance of a syringe tip.

A hypodermic syringe tester from Testing Machines Inc. provides precise measurement of the force required to move the plunger in either direction. The Lab Master can also be used to determine the penetration resistance of a syringe tip, performing with 0.01-lbf resolution.

The instrument is suited for the laboratory and the manufacturing floor; R&D users can evaluate the properties of a variety of tips, while QC personnel can conduct production testing. The patent-pending design of the syringe tester enables it to hold the desired level of accuracy through a course of changing loads and despite frequent use.

Testing Machines Inc., 2 Fleetwood Ct., Ronkonkoma, NY 11779.


Rheometer Measures Dynamic Change in High-Viscosity Materials

Changes in the dynamic properties of high-viscosity and viscoelastic fluid materials such as suspensions, emulsions, and gels can be measured with a versatile rheometer offered by Fluid Dynamics Inc. The T2SR time- and temperature-scanning rheometer is a robust, portable mechanical instrument designed to simplify dynamic measurements of materials in the viscosity range of 10–1000 Pa/sec.

Using time and temperature sweeps, the instrument measures rheological changes in reactive polymer systems, such as thermoset plastics during cure; thermoplastics, including polymer melts; and various pastes, creams, lotions, and gels. The easy-to-use device is suitable for R&D applications in product development and for quality control in the manufacturing environment. It requires only small sample volumes and has a fast thermal response time.

The T2SR rheometer employs disposable probes and containers. It is available with numerous accessories and with the thermal option of a stainless-steel tempering vessel or a high-temperature cell that offers multiple-segment ramp and soak capability. Its small-footprint software application allows users to select data-sampling rates and test duration, manipulate graphics, and export data to a spreadsheet program or other destination.

Fluid Dynamics Inc., 45 River Rd., Flemington, NJ 08822.


EMC Test Systems Allow Precompliance Testing In-House

The speed and convenience of in-house precompliance testing using product test equipment from Amplifier Research makes it easy for manufacturers of electronic products to prepare for certification to electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) standards and the requirements of the European Medical Devices Directive (MDD). The AR Cell, a complete test system consisting of amplifiers, field monitors, and directional couplers, allows engineers to test products as they are designed. It contains everything necessary to produce, measure, level, and run a 10-V/m field from 80 to 1000 MHz, a 50-V/m field from 80 to 1000 MHz, or a 100-V/m field from 1 to 1000 MHz.

Also available are S-series amplifiers with a frequency range of 0.8–10.6 GHz and power range of 1–240 W and W-series amplifiers offering frequencies from dc to 1000 MHz and power of 1–4000 W. These provide the power needed to meet the radio-frequency radiated immunity of the current MDD specification and of the proposed second edition. EM Test transient generators for the conducted immunity requirements are offered as well.

Amplifier Research, 160 Schoolhouse Rd., Souderton, PA 18964.


In-Line pH Analyzers Use Silicon-Chip Probes

A series of pH analyzers from IQ Scientific Instruments Inc. accept rugged nonglass, silicon-chip-based sensor probes as well as conventional glass probes.

A series of pH analyzers designed for in-line continuous process monitoring by IQ Scientific Instruments Inc. accept rugged nonglass, silicon-chip-based sensor probes as well as conventional glass probes. The waterproof IQ500 processLab analyzers feature easily configurable relay and analog outputs. Four relays can be set for on-off, pulse-length, pulse-frequency, or alarm mode. Four 4–20-mV analog outputs are optically isolated and can be driven by pH, millivolts, or by temperature.

Plain-language menus facilitate setup and operation of the processLab. An easy-to-read 5½-in. backlighted liquid-crystal display indicates pH, temperature, date and time, and the status of all relays and outputs.

IQ Scientific Instruments Inc., 11021 Via Frontera, Ste. 200, San Diego, CA 92127.


Mass Flowmeters Measure Gases in Medical Applications

Flowmeters from TSI measure gases in critical medical applications.

Laboratory and OEM thermal mass flowmeters from TSI are useful in measuring gases in critical medical applications. The units feature high accuracy, fast response, high turndown ratios, and low pressure drop. The Series 4000 measures air, oxygen, and nitrogen for flow rates up to 300 L/min. The Series 4100 measures air, oxygen, nitrogen, and nitrous oxide for flow rates up to 20 L/min.

TSI, 500 Cardigan Rd., Shoreview, MN 55126.


Machine Vision System Specialized to Check Package Labels

Part of a line of task-specific industrial machine vision appliances available from the ipd division of Coreco Imaging Inc., a label inspection system is designed particularly for the determination of label placement and quality on packages of manufactured goods. The iLabel vision system comes prepackaged in a rugged, compact enclosure and with an intuitive user interface. It can be set up in minutes with user-established parameters to check labels on bottles, boxes, cans, and other packaging.

The appliance first verifies label presence and proper placement; then it detects tears, loose corners, or damage, inspecting each label for such significant defects as smears and contamination.

Measurements of label quality and placement location and angle are reported, and a general grade of pass, fail, or recycle is issued for each label. The iLabel can inspect labels with dimensions of 1 to 10 in. at speeds to 300 labels per minute. Inspection statistics are maintained for later reporting via Ethernet or RS-232.

Users can configure inputs to trigger inspection events and outputs to control such external equipment as programmable logic controllers and rejection devices. Direct control of rejected products without a PLC is possible in simple applications. Programs of label and inspection parameters for one manufacturing line can be saved for reuse on others.

ipd, Div. of Coreco Imaging Inc., 900 Middlesex Tpke., Billerica, MA 01821.


Expandable Torque Analyzer Uploads Data

A portable torque analyzer from Mountz Inc. meets demands for testing multiple torque ranges for various tools used in production.

Mountz Inc., a specialist in the design and manufacture of torque control products, offers a portable torque analyzer that meets demands for testing multiple torque ranges for various tools used in production. The Torque Lab has a built-in transducer and also a port that supports most external transducers. In addition to portability and expandability, the analyzer features the capability of uploading accumulated torque readings to a computer through a built-in RS-232 interface. Storage of measurement data facilitates ISO documentation and tracking for statistical process control.

Suitable for use on the assembly line or in the laboratory, the Torque Lab was designed in response to customer requests. Among other special design features, the transducer can rotate to the right or left to make readings easy to acquire. The external transducer plug enables users to take a virtually unlimited range of torque measurements without having to purchase entire new analyzers.

Mountz Inc., 1080 N. 11th St., San Jose, CA 95112.


Machine Inspects Device Inserts Semiautomatically

A machine vision system from Invotec Engineering was designed to inspect a series of inserts for a surgical device.

A semiautomatic machine vision system has been designed and built by Invotec Engineering for the express purpose of inspecting a series of inserts for a surgical device. The system uses two high-resolution cameras and a Cognex Checkpoint vision platform to perform the inspection. It is an example of the range of custom test/measurement and assembly systems the manufacturer provides to the medical device industry.

The custom-built insert inspection system features dual nests that are capable of accommodating a variety of parts and into which the operator places inserts to be inspected. Opto-touch buttons are pushed to activate the inspection. A servomotor shuttles the parts under the inspection cameras, and Scott-Fostec lights provide illumination. The machine is controlled by an Allen-Bradley programmable logic controller with a Panelview touch screen operator interface.

Failed parts are categorized into two types and rejected into corresponding bins. The operator can view the in-process inspection via a monitor.

Invotec Engineering, 10909 Industry Ln., Miamisburg, OH 45342.

Copyright ©2003 Medical Product Manufacturing News