When a medical instrument company approached David Funnell, president of Funnell Instruments, Ltd. (Uxbridge, MA), about designing a less expensive method for manufacturing biopsy-sampling jaws, he knew what he needed to do. "One of the major weaknesses of the typical bowel-biopsy forceps is the narrowness of the hinge portion of the jaw," Funnell says. So Funnell broadened the hinge base. In minimally invasive abdominal surgeries, it is often necessary to grasp tissue—to pinch, but not to pinch too hard. Long-jawed instruments typically develop crosswise looseness at the tips that can potentially create a perforation hazard. To eliminate this problem, Funnell designed the Haploid™ Jaw, his stamped biopsy-sampling instrument, with an alternate-overlapping cutting pattern. He made the device from stamped corrosion resistant 300-series stainless steel. "Other instruments use 400-series material that frequently develops porosities," says Funnell. He knew from the outset that he would use metal forming to help lower the costs. "I've been fascinated by the materials-savings by the automotive industry by moving from a combination of forging and metal-removal to that of metal forming," he says. "I believe the Haploid Jaw will outperform all other designs on a dollars-per-specimen comparison." For more information, contact Funnell at (800) 809-9833.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.