Equipment accurately tests miniature devices
The miniaturisation of mechanical, electromechanical and electronic components has led to rising demand for testing equipment that achieves appropriate levels of mechanical accuracy. Zwick GmbH & Co. KG strives to answer that challenge with its new PrecisionLine testing system.
The system minimises load frame compliance effects and Abbe displacement measurement errors by aligning the load application axis and travel measurement reference with the test axis. A proprietary displacement feature compensates for error caused by a deformation of the load cell.
The PrecisionLine trio of products includes a manually operated instrument for testing engineered components, a motorised version that achieves high accuracy and reproducibility, and the PrecisionLine Vario. The latter is suited for med-tech use, according to Zwick, because of its open design and the ease with which microcomponents and small implants can be inserted and securely gripped.
Zwick GmbH & Co. KG
Ulm, Germany +49 7305 104 65 www.zwick.com
Gas flow meter features wide dynamic measuring range
Engineered to precisely and reliably measure small gas streams, the SFM4100 digital flow meter from Sensirion is designed to integrate seamlessly with anaesthesia equipment. Boasting a dynamic measuring range up to 20 standard litres per minute, the drift-free device has an I2C interface, provides a calibrated and temperature-compensated output signal, and operates reliably at pressures up to 7 bar.
Calibration for various gases is integrated into the sensor. A self-test function enables testing of the signal chain while the sensor is in use.
Staefa, Switzerland +41 44 306 4000 www.sensirion.com
Arburg brings speed, precision to LSR moulding
By combining an electric Allrounder 470 A with a clamping force of 1000 kN and a size 170 injection unit with a servo-electric demoulding device, Arburg has been able to achieve a cycle time of 10.6 seconds for the production of 128 O-rings. Moulded from liquid silicone rubber (LSR), the O-rings weigh 0.12 g, have an internal diameter of 8.5 mm and are 2 mm thick.
The servo-electric clamping unit of the Allrounder A enables fast, dynamic and precise mould positioning. The emission-free drive system limits air turbulence, making the demoulder suitable for cleanroom use.
Arburg GmbH + Co KG
Lossburg, Germany +49 7446 330 www.arburg.com
Surface treatment process is medically and environmentally sound
PEEK and thermoset polyimide extrusions with pad-printed graphics are now available from Putnam Plastics for high-performance catheter applications. The company typically uses internally developed pretreatment technologies, including plasma-based techniques, to prepare the surfaces.
Graphics on the surfaces of minimally invasive devices serve critical functions including product identification, location and orientation during surgical procedures. “Strong adhesion of the ink to the device component is critical,” explains Byron Flagg, Product Manager, Extrusion and Component Finishing. “Noninvasive vascular devices require integrity of the pad printed graphics for the proper identification and use of the device by clinicians. Invasive devices require that particles of ink not be released from the device into the bloodstream. That can lead to serious side effects or even death,” adds Flagg.
PEEK and thermoset polyimide are increasingly used for minimally invasive applications because of their inherent strength and chemical resistance. These same properties create greater challenges for pad printing, however.
“Putnam Plastics’ plasma pretreatment makes the outer surface temporarily receptive to chemical adhesion of the pad printing ink,” says Flagg. While plasma pretreatment increases ink adhesion on all plastics, it is of greatest value when used on polymers such as PEEK and thermoset polyimide that are inherently resistant to thermal and chemical degradation, according to Flagg.
Compared with other methods to improve bonding, Putnam’s plasma pretreatment produces little to no heat transfer to the polymer component, preserving its mechanical dimensions and properties. The process involves no toxic chemicals and generates no toxic by-products, making it medically and environmentally friendly.
Dayville, CT, USA +1 860 774 1559 www.putnamplastics.com
Digital position sensors combine size and cost reductions
Two new Hall-effect digital position sensors introduced by Honeywell Sensing and Control are designed for high-volume, cost-sensitive position and motion sensing applications. Medical uses for the SS345PT and SS445P devices include displacement sensing in hospital beds and medical equipment, and in medication bin monitors on portable drug carts.
The unipolar sensors can reduce total system costs because they have built-in pull-up resistors, thus eliminating the need to purchase external units. The unipolar sensors respond to either a north or south pole: the SS345PT responds to a single north pole whereas the SS445P responds to a single south pole. The open collector output interfaces with common electronic circuits.
Honeywell has also downsized the sensor’s integrated circuit, saving on manufacturing costs while still meeting customer requirements. The 2.7- to 7-V-dc supply voltage range allows for use in a variety of applications.
The SS345PT’s subminiature SOT-23 surface mount package uses less space on the printed circuit board than standard Hall-effect sensor packages. Additionally, it is supplied in tape and reel packaging, allowing for automated pick-and-place assembly.
Honeywell Sensing and Control
Bracknell, UK +44 1698 481 481 sensing.honeywell.com
Micromechanical parts specialist develops surgical instruments
Switzerland-based Hader SA has announced the introduction of a surgical torque wrench that supports a range of torque values along with a surgical handle designed for use by right- and left-handed physicians.
The hader smooth surgical torque wrench, which accommodates torque values from 1 to 20 Nm, can be used for screwing and unscrewing as well as ratcheting. During surgery, the required torque value is indicated visually and by an audible click. The wrench does not use any grease, and its design eases cleaning and sterilisation operations.
The hader ergo surgical handle allows prescrewing, screwing and precision tightening when combined with a hader click or a hader smooth torque limiter. The tool’s new shape allows the surgeon to apply higher torque values without exerting additional effort. Its ergonomic design makes the handle equally comfortable for left- and right-handed users.
Located in Switzerland’s so-called Precision Valley, Hader is active in the orthopaedic, auditory and dental markets. Practicing lean manufacturing and engineering, the company’s capabilities include R&D, prototyping, Swiss turning, milling, plastic injection moulding and laser marking and welding. Packaging is performed in an ISO Class 7 cleanroom. The company produces high-accuracy micromechanical components and can machine bars in diameters ranging from 0.5 to 51 mm.
La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland +41 32 925 90 50 www.hader-swiss.com
Laser diode modules produce 200-MHz digital modulation
New laser diode modules that deliver digital modulation at 200 MHz are available in popular wavelengths used for biomedical, R&D and laboratory applications. The Stradus laser diode modules developed by Vortran Laser Technology are available in the following specifications: 660 nm at 100 mW, 642 nm at 110 mW, the newly introduced 488 nm at 50mW, 445 nm at 40 mW, 405 nm at 100 mW and 375 nm at 16 mW.
Key features include an M² factor of 1.25 (typical) and greater than 90% circularity, low RMS noise, 1.22-mm-diam beam dimensions, and pointing stability less than 5 µrad/ºC.
All Stradus laser diode modules are compatible with USB and RS-232 interfaces and offer sufficient alignment and pointing stability to accommodate demanding tasks in medical diagnostics, flow cytometry, defect analysis and other laboratory applications.
Vortran Laser Technology Inc.
Sacramento, CA, USA +1 916 283 8208 www.vortranlaser.com
Sandvik extends range of medical-grade titanium
Sandvik now offers titanium wire and round bar measuring between 6 and 70 mm diam as well as flat forms in a range of dimensions. The expanded selection offers medical device OEMs access to a complete portfolio of medical-grade stainless steel, titanium and cobalt chrome from a single source.
The materials are melted in Europe, and product quality is ensured by Sandvik’s rigorous testing procedures and managed via its quality control and distribution system. Products are fully traceable throughout the supply chain.
In addition to maintaining a consistently high level of quality, Sandvik can provide materials in dimensions that are optimised in relation to the finished product. This minimises waste and improves cost effectiveness and productivity for the customer, according to the company.
“By continually extending our range of titanium products, we are able to provide a comprehensive supply chain solution to our customers,” says Stephen Cowen, General Manager at Sandvik Bioline. “Whether they purchase stock annually or adopt a just-in-time approach and spot buy, we have the fully integrated quality-assured solution they require.”
Sheffield, UK +44 1215 045 166 www.sandvik.com/medical
Ultrasonic technology offers improved coating functionality
Sono-Tek Corp. has expanded its ultrasonic technology to include systems for the application of ultra-thin film functional coatings onto various medical devices such as catheters, balloons, orthopaedic implants, endoscopic instruments, pacemakers, heart valves and related products. As functional coating formulations improve and devices get smaller, demand has surged for equipment that effectively produces coatings with good surface coverage, material homogeneity, uniform adhesion and wear resistance. Compared with pressure nozzle systems and other traditional coating methods, ultrasonic nozzle systems provide superior coating homogeneity and adherence, according to Sono-Tek.
Used to coat drug-eluting stents, the ultrasonic nozzles from Sono-Tek are also now being used to coat solutions or suspensions of THF, toluene, PTFE, chloroform, carbon nanotubes, thrombin, heparin, silver nitrate, IPD, silicone, parylene, enzymes and EDTA, among other materials, for targeted permanent or slow-release applications.
Ultrasonic nozzles combine high-frequency sound vibrations with precision air-shaping technology to create a soft, focused spray of micron-sized droplets. They range in size from 18 to 49 µm, depending on nozzle frequency.
Some benefits of ultrasonic coating systems cited by the company include considerable savings in coating materials, precise control of spray shape and flow rate, minimal overspray, non-clogging repeatable performance, tight drop distribution, and penetration and adherence of the material to complex geometries without webbing.
Milton, NY, USA +1 845 795 2020 www.sono-tek.com
Digital flow transmitters get makeover
The technical features and appearance of a line of digital flow transmitters have been enhanced, reports Bürkert Fluid Control Systems. Models 8026, 8036 and 8076 now feature a stainless-steel design reminiscent of the company’s Element series as well as a number of technical improvements.
The stainless-steel housing and removable backlit displays are the most visible changes, but the flow meters have also undergone considerable engineering revisions. Technical improvements include a future-proof architecture with a new processor and software to optimise sensor performance. To ensure reliability and quality, the circuits used for conductivity and pH/ORP measurement are the same as those that are used in the Element transmitter models 8222 and 8202.
The flow transmitters with 4–20 mA output are available in two versions: basic (one NPN transistor output) and advanced (two NPN/PNP transistor outputs). They comply with UL safety standards and are rated IP 65/67.
Bürkert Fluid Control Systems
Ingelfingen, Germany +49 7940 100 www.burkert.com
Antenna technology supports reliable wireless transmission of patient data
A flexible-circuit loop antenna achieves greater than 40% efficiency in healthcare monitoring devices. The FLA.01 antenna developed by Taoglas, an M2M antenna provider with facilities in Ireland, the United States, South Africa and Taiwan, is a penta-band cellular antenna that can be embedded inside medical devices. The technology can be applied to any frequency including licence-free bands. The FLA antenna allows medical device designers to ensure their products can wirelessly transmit patient data in a consistent and reliable manner in conformance with healthcare industry requirements, according to the manufacturer.
The FLA flexible circuit antenna is particularly suitable for the healthcare market because it can adapt to products of any shape or size, explains the manufacturer. Moreover, the material used in flexible-circuit antennas performs well on the body. By contrast, traditional antenna materials such as FR4 glass epoxy or metal
may be subject to shifting frequencies and detuning when they
come in body contact.
Enniscorthy, Ireland +353 5 3916 9500 www.taoglas.com
Long-wavelength green laser diode may have a biomedical future
A company that specialises in the commercialisation of green and blue laser diodes based on indium gallium nitride has announced the development of green laser diodes emitting at 523 nm. That is reportedly the longest wavelength ever achieved by a laser diode operating in continuous-wave (cw) mode. Direct-diode green semiconductor lasers are said to offer dramatic improvements in size, weight and cost compared with conventional gas or solid-state lasers. They may enable new applications in biomedical instrumentation and therapeutic products, according to Kaai Inc.
Lasers with a wavelength beyond 523 nm have been developed—notably by Japan’s Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd (SEI)—but they only operate in pulsed mode. With its new diode, Kaai broke the wavelength record for a cw laser, which was previously held by SEI’s 520-nm laser.
Goleta, CA, USA www.kaai.com
Flip-top pump for surgical applications debuts
Peristaltic pump manufacturer Watson-Marlow’s new 114 Flip-Top pump reportedly offers the functionality demanded by surgical device manufacturers in a small package. It is suited for irrigation, washing and waste removal applications.
The 114 features an automatic tube-stretch mechanism to minimise loading errors and to ensure consistent fluid flow. The robust design provides reliable performance without the need for operator adjustments, according to the company. Fully enclosed spring-loaded operation enables long tube life and steady pressure, and the four rollers reduce pulsation while delivering up to 300 ml/min of continuous flow. The 114 also features a universal drive connection for drive shafts measuring 6 to 10 mm diam.
Watson-Marlow Pumps Group
Falmouth, UK +44 1326 370 370 www.watson-marlow.co.uk