Cost-effective pellet extrusion 3D printing for large fixtures and tooling - Today's Medical Developments

2022-10-27 21:26:28 By : Mr. Tony Xiong

Register to attend the Oct. 11, 2022 webinar taking place at 1PM ET.

Additive Manufacturing (AM) is changing global manufacturing, especially in the aerospace industry where large-format 3D printers are used to produce tooling, fixtures, patterns, and molds. Pellet extrusion and hybrid additive and subtractive systems offer a unique solution for these aerospace applications by leveraging the use of high-performance, low-cost pellet feedstocks and machining techniques to produce these large fixtures and tools at a fraction of the time and cost compared to filament extrusion or traditional manufacturing methods. CNC Turning Part

Cost-effective pellet extrusion 3D printing for large fixtures and tooling - Today's Medical Developments

Make sure to register for this free webinar, taking place Tuesday, October 11, 2022 at 1PM ET.

In this webinar, you'll learn:

Precision manufacturers can now monitor collaborative robots from Universal Robots in real-time to drive automation that improves performance and reliability.

MachineMetrics announces the availability of its Connector for Universal Robots (UR) to easily connect to and capture valuable data from any equipment from UR. This latest connector, now available through the UR+ program to all current UR cobot users, enables instant insights into the health and performance of their cobots. Now manufacturers can maximize the uptime of their cobots to increase productivity and drive additional throughput with no additional headcount.

“MachineMetrics, like Universal Robots, is at the forefront of delivering innovative solutions that lower the barrier to automation for manufacturers,” says Christopher Savoia, regional head UR+ Ecosystem. “Their unique ability to deliver real-time insights into the health and performance of UR collaborative robots means increased reliability, uptime, and productivity of automated work cells.”

“Connecting to – and capturing real-time data from – manufacturing equipment is what enables our customers to quickly and easily understand their production performance and the health of their machines,” says Bill Bither, CEO and co-founder of MachineMetrics, “By connecting UR cobots to MachineMetrics, users can now gain real-time insights into cobot productivity, alert teams when issues arise, and remotely troubleshoot and diagnose issues to get the cobot back up and running.”

The announcement of the Connector for Universal Robots follows MachineMetrics’ successful June 2021 series B funding round led by Teradyne, parent company of Universal Robots.

Manufacturing is undergoing a resurgence as business owners look to modernize their factories and speed up operations. According to Research Dive’s newly published report, the global collaborative robot (cobot) market is predicted to grow at a stunning CAGR of 41.2% by 2026. Cobots deliver a cutting-edge solution that makes it easier than ever before to automate manual tasks such as the loading and unloading of materials and parts, leading to major productivity gains and boosting throughput with no additional headcount. But, like all machines, ensuring these cobots run to their potential is paramount to their success.

MachineMetrics is a pioneer in making Industrial IoT (Internet of Things) technology easy for the shop floor. Its connectivity system is designed so that customers can capture data from any piece of factory floor equipment in minutes. Users can install it themselves without the need for expensive and time-consuming system integration work. Once installed, the data is instantly and securely streamed to the MachineMetrics Cloud Platform where users can visualize and analyze data from any asset.

“Extending the value of MachineMetrics to drive automation is the next generation of solution for manufacturers,” Bither says. “On its own, MachineMetrics can let the right person or system know at the right time what is happening to keep machines running. In an autonomous factory powered by MachineMetrics, machine data can trigger an action by a robot that feeds the bar into the machine without human intervention.”

Don't miss the Oct. 6, 2022 webinar at 12PM to hear from Dave Sheppard and Florence Joffroy-Black from MedWorld Advisors.

Join us on Oct. 6, 2022 at 12PM ET for our annual look into the medtech market with Dave Sheppard, managing director & co-founder at MedWorld Advisors, and Florence Joffroy-Black, CEO, president & founder at MedWorld Advisors. While 2020 and 2021 showed robust medtech merger and acquisition trends, Sheppard and Joffroy-Black discuss what’s going on in 2022 medtech, what consolidation means for medtech manufacturers, and what to expect as we enter 2023.

Walking without crutches – this is something that people with certain neuromuscular disorders dream of.

With the exoskeleton "Autonomyo”, this dream can now be made a reality. The active walking aid supports the weakened muscles and enables an intuitive sequence of movements that mimics the natural sequence. The additional power is supplied by six micromotors. To facilitate a harmonious interaction between the exoskeleton and its user, FAULHABER developed an innovative all-in-one component motor with a torque sensor.

Medical science distinguishes between more than 800 different neuromuscular disorders. As the name suggests, they affect both the nerves and the muscles. Some have an impact on the whole body, while others only affect it in certain areas. Fortunately, however, the majority of these disorders are relatively rare. Many of the affected patients suffer from severely restricted mobility. This is because, even though these disorders have many different causes and develop in many different ways, they all have one thing in common: muscle weakness (muscular dystrophy), which is progressive in many cases.

"If the muscle weakness occurs in the legs, walking becomes increasingly difficult, and eventually it becomes impossible without something to lean on," explains Mohamed Bouri, leader of the research group for Rehabilitation and Assistive Robotics (REHA Assist) at the Swiss technical university of Lausanne (EPFL). "The muscles are still functional but they cannot muster enough strength for the patients to stand stably or move their legs independently. As you would expect, this has an enormous impact on the patient's range of movement and quality of life. The effects are similar to those of hemiplegia after a stroke. Our aim was to overcome these limitations as much as possible using motorized support – therefore, still taking advantage of the patient’s contribution to his own movements.”

Lightweight partial assistance The group leader is referring to conventional exoskeletons already in use leaning on humanoid inspired technology. These devices enable paraplegic people to walk without a crutch, but they weigh more than 40kg. With only 25kg, “Autonomyo” developed by REHA Assist is much lighter, and it works with the patient's weakened but still partially functioning musculoskeletal system.

The device is fastened with a corset around the trunk and cuffs around the legs of the user. On each side, three motors enable movement by supplying the power that the muscles are lacking. In each case, one motor is responsible for the flexion and extension of the hip and another motor does the same for the knee. The third motor supports abduction and adduction of the leg at the hip joint – in other words, the lateral movement of the leg away from the midline of the body. All together, the motors help the patient to maintain their balance and to walk upright. In a recently conducted clinical study including persons with walking impairment, Autonomyo proved to be working as intended: The exoskeleton provided support while allowing freedom of movement, following the users’ intentions. The range of joint motion and gait cadence were not negatively affected.

Feedback from the magnetic measurement system It is absolutely crucial that the device assists gait according to the user’s intention. "The initial trigger to change position – that is, to start walking – is expressed as a small change in the lower limb position," Bouri explains. "We detect it by combining the information from an inertial measurement unit, eight load sensors at the soles and the encoders of the motors that act as joint position sensors. All these data contribute to the assistance of balance."

When walking, the interaction between the device and the user is crucial. A torque sensor developed by FAULHABER is responsible to sense this interaction and thus to precisely implement the assistance strategy.

"The project of integrating a precise torque sensor in a motor started a few years ago, aiming to promote applications such as Cobotics for safe human-robot interactions," explains Frank Schwenker, group leader for Advanced Engineering at FAULHABER. "With Autonomyo, we are able to implement the concept in a challenging assistive technology application for the first time."

The conventional technology for torque detection uses expansion strips on components; these strips are deformed by the force exerted. The weak point of their construction is the adhesive bond with which they are attached. The developers in the Advanced Engineering group have replaced these strips with a high-resolution measurement system.

"This enables us to achieve a deviation of less than 1.5% in the measurement range of ±30 newton meters," Schwenker says. "The sensor therefore supplies a highly precise value for the response torque in the walking movement."

This value plays a vital role in controlling the Autonomyo exoskeleton, which is of course also supplied with numerous other values.

"Adjusting the device to the individual patients requires very differentiated calibration of the entire system," Bouri explains. "Using the various parameters and the feedback from the movement, the software calculates the control signals for the drives. The type and level of assistance from the motors are then determined based on these informations."

Drive power and development potential The six drive units in each device are supplied by FAULHABER. Their core component is the 3274 BP4 brushless motor with a diameter of 32mm. It offers the most power of any motor in its size class available on the market. Its power is transmitted by a 42 GPT planetary gearhead with a shaft produced especially for this application. A magnetic IE3 encoder supplies the position data to the controller. The torque sensor is integrated in the gearheads of the four motors for the flexion/extension movements.

The requirements on the drive units are typical for top-of-the-range micromotors. High power with the smallest possible volume and weight, plus precision, reliability and a long service life are among the most important properties for this application.

"It wasn't particularly difficult to find the right supplier," Bouri recalls. "Having defined the specifications, the choice of possible motors was already reduced to just a small number of candidates. The astrophysics inter-faculty research group of our university already works with FAULHABER so they provided convincing recommendations, and a good relationship already existed. In addition, FAULHABER was already in a position to be able to develop the torque sensor within a short timeframe. That was very important for our project."

For the time being, the component is not a series product and has so far been produced only for the EPFL in small quantities.

However, development engineer Schwenker can imagine many other areas of application: "High-resolution torque measurement can add significant value in all haptic applications. For example, for all types of robotic assistance in operating theaters where the surgeon guides the instrument and the machine controls the power and precision. The sensor can also provide a protective function and be used to limit torque. What's more, it is ideally suited to documentation processes in quality assurance in all cases where evidence of extremely precise torque values needs to be provided."

Expansion includes purchase of new building, consolidation of metals manufacturing footprint, and expansion of cleanroom molding and assembly.

Tegra Medical, a leading contract manufacturer of medical devices and a member of SFS, which is headquartered in Heerbrugg Switzerland, announced it’s expanding its manufacturing operations in Costa Rica with the purchase of a new building.

Tegra Medical’s new building is located near its two current buildings in the CF Free Zone in La Aurora de Heredia, Costa Rica, an area where many of the country’s life sciences businesses are located.

The 85,000ft2 building will allow the company to consolidate its metals manufacturing footprint. This will enable it to expand clean room molding and assembly operations in its nearby locations.

“The new building and subsequent remodeling are part of a $13 million investment in our Costa Rica operations, qualifying it as a “mega-project” in the Costa Rican Free Zone system,” says Sean Mikus, general manager of Tegra Medical in Costa Rica. “The completion of this project will give us a total of 135,000ft2 of manufacturing space in this country.”

Environmental Inspection Gauges “Tegra Medical is committed to its operations in Costa Rica,” adds Walter Kobler, Tegra Medical CEO. “We appreciate the country’s great stability, highly educated workforce, proximity to U.S. markets, and efficient operations. It’s an attractive location to support the global requirements of major medical device manufacturers.”