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Supplier Stories for the Week of May 10

Here’s what was new in the world of medical device suppliers during the week of May 10.

  • Tekscan

    Tekscan has released a line of OEM development products to help engineers with sensor integration during the design process of force-sensitive devices.  The FlexiForce Sensor Characterization Kit and the FlexiForce Prototyping Kit are intended to help engineers efficiently characterize, validate, prototype, and embed thin, flexible FlexiForce sensors into OEM devices and applications. The user can easily quantify sensor performance in a controlled loading environment, test with consistent electronics throughout the design process, and view/modify design elements in the open source platform. The company has also prepared an eBook to illustrate a scenario in which a medical device manufacturer was able to leverage these tools.

    “To come forward with a viable prototype, design engineers need proof that the sensor will work as intended in the final design, and they need it quickly; they simply can’t waste time and money on costly redesigns” explained Tekscan Applications Engineer and FlexiForce Product Manager Ed Haidar in a news release. “These tools were developed based on our years of experience working directly with OEMs through the sensor integration process; we saw opportunities to help streamline the process for our customers.”

    Tekscan reports that as demand for smart, connected, portable, low-power products continues to grow, so does the need for smaller, thinner components, like FlexiForce sensors, which introduce force feedback into OEM products without adding bulk or complex electronics. These sensors can be used in tight spaces and geometries.

    The FlexiForce Sensor Characterization Kit enables engineers to test with different circuits and materials, and it contains a desktop load fixture that allows users to apply controlled loading profiles to the sensor to characterize performance. It also includes various interchangeable analog circuit modules for testing and characterizing sensor functionality. The open-source software interface allows users to control loading, record sensor data, adjust sensitivity, and calibrate the sensor.

    Once the engineer/designer has characterized their sensor for circuit type, interface materials, and other early-stage design aspects, the FlexiForce Prototyping Kit (consisting of an Arduino nano chip USB interface Prototyping board, three analog circuit modules, data collection software, and FlexiForce sensors) allows the engineer/designer to test these established variables in their prototype, make sensitivity adjustments, collect data, and calibrate the sensor with one simple tool, Tekscan reported.

    [Image courtesy of TEKSCAN]

    Tekscan
  • Bunting Magnetics

    Despite the economic interruptions caused by COVID-19, Bunting-Elk Grove Village’s online retail website, BuyMagnets.com, has been able to keep numerous varieties of magnets and magnetic equipment in stock, the company reports in a news release. The magnets are used in medical devices, food, and pharmaceutical processing plants and other crucial industries.

    BuyMagnets.com maintains a diverse supply chain and works with a wide variety of suppliers to keep magnets in stock, allowing the company to avoid disruptions to the supply chain. Calling that supply chain "stable," the company says it is able to offer its complete range of powerful magnets and magnetic equipment.

    The online storefront allows users to shop from home, and the BuyMagnets.com team is available to answer any questions.

    [Image courtesy of BUNTING MAGNETICS]

    Bunting Magnetics
  • Minco

    Minco has developed a flex circuit for a medical device company developing a device capable of cauterizing exit wounds in femoral arteries. According to a Minco spokesperson, wounds caused by the removal of catheters during heart procedures were taking hours to heal with existing technology, presenting risks for patients and liability for both surgeons and hospitals. The manufacturer's engineers believed they could close the cauterizing gap to six minutes, instead of hours, but they needed a compact and reliable integration of a flex circuit, heater, and sensor.

    Minco was asked to integrate a flex circuit with a heater and sensor to create a device that was able to reach a target temperature of 100°C in less than six minutes—then hold that precise temperature while the wound cauterized, the spokesperson explained. In addition, the finished component could be only slightly larger than a catheter—a donut shape with a 4mm (0.16 in.) outer diameter and 1.5mm (0.06 in.) inner diameter.

    Minco’s engineers designed a flex circuit consisting of an all-polyimide heater, using a special adhesive-free process that accommodated higher temperatures than that used for conventional polyimide heaters. Given the limited real estate, the circuit elements had to be stacked on top of each other. The design incorporated 22 0.08-mm micro blind vias for power as well as two 0.15-mm blind vias to carry the signal of the surface-mount NTC thermistor that sensed the temperature of the heat sink.

    Engineers from Minco and the manufacturer were able to achieve the cauterizing goal by integrating flex circuits, heaters, and sensors into a single device. This new configuration achieved the challenging temperature goals, saved space, and improved reliability in the field by reducing the number of failure points, Minco reported.

    [Image courtesy of MINCO]

    Minco
  • Phillips-Medisize, a Molex company

    Phillips-Medisize, a Molex company, has hired Paul Chaffin to serve as senior vice president and president of the medical and pharmaceutical solutions division of Molex. In this role, Chaffin will provide global vision, leadership, and strategic direction for the portfolio, which includes Phillips-Medisize, an end-to-end provider of innovation, development, and manufacturing solutions to the pharmaceutical, diagnostics, and medical device market segments.

    Chaffin will report to Joe Nelligan, Chief Executive Officer of Molex, and he will be a member of the company’s Global Leadership Team. Said Nelligan of Chaffin's appointment in a statement: “Paul’s depth of healthcare, commercial, and international experience combined with his strong leadership skills will be a big asset to not only our medical business but to the Molex leadership team.  We’re confident that Paul will help fulfill our vision of expanding our global footprint with innovative and digitally connected medical solutions at a time when delivering top-quality care to patients around the world is so critical.”

    Added Chaffin: “The combined capabilities of Phillips-Medisize, Molex, and Koch to drive the innovation necessary to transform the diagnosis and delivery of healthcare is an unparalleled opportunity to help improve the lives of people around the world. I’m looking forward to working with a global team of passionate people who are driven to solve complex problems that help patients lead longer, more productive lives.”

    Chaffin joins Molex from a Minnesota-based Fortune 500 company, where he was most recently senior vice president of strategic Initiatives. Prior to this role, he spent 11 years building and leading the company’s global healthcare and life science business.

    [Image courtesy of PHILLIPS-MEDISIZE LLC, A MOLEX COMPANY]

    Phillips-Medisize, a Molex company
  • Covestro and Teknor Apex

    Materials manufacturer Covestro and global plastics compounder Teknor Apex have agreed to cooperate on compounding thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). Covestro has produced TPU in pure form for many years for use in various markets. Compounding mixes TPU with other materials in order to achieve certain properties.

    “We are happy to team-up with such a competent and complementary partner for processing TPU on a global scale,” said Dr. Thorsten Dreier, the new global head of the TPU business at Covestro, in a statement. “Together with Teknor Apex, we want to develop customized products to grow together with our existing and new customers.” Covestro supports the marketing of the jointly developed products by Teknor Apex with its Desmoflex brand.

    Added Sachin Sakhalkar, Vice President, TPE Division, at Teknor Apex: “We are excited to become Covestro’s preferred global compounding partner. The combination of Covestro’s expertise in TPU resin with Teknor Apex’s custom formulation and compounding capabilities provide a compelling value driver for our combined customers worldwide. This new cooperation strengthens our promise to our customers and partners who depend on us to bring tailored solutions for their application needs."

    [Logos courtesy of COVESTRO and TEKNOR APEX]

    Covestro and Teknor Apex
  • Qosina

    Qosina offers a broad line of components that can be used in a wide variety of devices, including fluid delivery, ICU equipment, and enteral feeding. "Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, Qosina has been committed to being a one-stop source for critical medical components," the company said in a statement.

    Qosina points out that FDA recently issued a series of guidance documents to address the COVID-19 public health emergency that allow more flexibility for manufacturers to make device modifications that cover manufacturing limitations or supply shortages related to COVID-19 without prior approval.

    "Qosina is happy to be a second source for components and will help customers find alternative products for those that are already approved," the company shared. Qosina's Web site provides material and technical documentation as well as 3D CAD models for quick product qualification.

    Qosina is ISO 13485, ISO 9001, ISO 22301 and ISO 14001 certified, and operates in a 95,000 square-foot facility with an ISO Class 8 cleanroom.

    [Image courtesy of QOSINA]

    Qosina
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