Expanding the use of 3D X-ray computed tomography (CT) to develop next-generation medical devices and building a deeper, more collaborative bench of support services were the primary talking points at the Nypro Healthcare (Clinton, MA) booth at last week's MD&M West show in Anaheim, CA. The global healthcare design and manufacturing services provider had a ready audience at the largest medical manufacturing event in North America.
|3D CT scanner.
Industrial 3D CT scanning is starting to take off in the United States, especially in the medical and packaging sectors, says Visent Avxhi, Business Development, 3D ProScan (Clinton, MA), a division of Nypro Mold and business unit of Nypro Healthcare. The reason it's catching on is simple, Avxhi told PlasticsToday. "First article inspections can take days using conventional techniques. It's a matter of a couple of hours using fixture-free, nondestructive 3D CT scanning," says Avxhi.
3D CT systems capture data accurate to 5 to 7 µm and scan products made of plastic or other low-density materials in about an hour. Most dimensional analyses can be completed in less than two hours. By seeing inside products, manufacturers are able to identify design issues and potential production problems, ensure lot-to-lot consistency, and precisely measure internal components. The technology also allows programming to begin before the physical part is in hand by leveraging the CAD model and 2D print.
Industrial 3D CT scanning has been around for a decade, says Avxhi, and has gained traction in Europe, where it was invented. U.S. manufacturers have been slower to adopt the technology. "One reason is the cost—it is a significant capital investment," says Avxhi. That's where Nypro and 3D ProScan can help.
"Nypro invested in the technology three years ago for internal use," says Avxhi. "Word got out among our customers, who kept asking to use it. The pace at which it can inspect high-precision, complex parts—faster than any other technology—is the big appeal," adds Avxhi.
Making 3D CT scanning available to customers is but one aspect of the ultimate goal at Nypro, says Brian Highley, Vice President and General Manager, Medical Device and Consumer Health, Nypro Healthcare. "We want to provide a full range of customer support services for medical device manufacturers that encompasses design and development, concept, and commercialization to accelerate time to market." Highley was at MD&M West to introduce the company's New Design and Product Introduction Center at its Texas facility near Dallas-Fort Worth.
The center includes in-house rapid prototyping, a full-service metrology department, test labs and 1500-sq-ft Class 10,000 cleanroom. More importantly, the center's core value resides in its wealth of human expertise in processing, tooling, packaging, quality engineering, procurement, and supply chain management, and the collaborative environment that prevails. The silos that used to exist have been broken down. "Everybody sits together and is focused on moving the process forward," says Highley. "In the end, it's all about reducing product development cycles and costs and gaining first-to-market advantage for our customers."