i-gel: Laryngeal Masks

'i-gel'  is a range of innovative medical devices that easily inserts and safely sits and seals above a patient's trachea to deliver anaesthesia and breathing gases without causing any trauma to the surrounding anatomical tissues. All aspects of materials R&D and product design and development were carried out from concept to manufacturing development to clinical validation & regulatory approval to product launch. A sophisticated 2 shot injection moulding, automated assembly and packaging production system was designed, developed and implemented to meet tight production cost constraints which were met. The product is highly successful global seller with many peer reviewed pauspers written on it giving it high endorsement.

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Humanoid Robot "Adam"

'Adam’ the Robot is an educational tool for introduction into robotics and programming classes. A proof of concept was presented by the start-up client firm to advance the design to make it suitable, nicer and friendlier for consumer use and at a low cost. Many electronic and software revisions were made to improve functionality and cost reductions. Industrial design got more of the product correctly configured and looking right for low cost and low batch manufacturing using sheet metal and plastic vacuum forming techniques. The brief was met, watch the video to see the results.

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Medical Device Design: R&D, Product Design and Development, Industrial Design for Manufacture, Cost Reduction.

Self-Sealing Water Trap Medical Device

 This device is used to collect condensate from cooled humidified gases within patient breathing tubes to avoid risk to patient breathing. The collected water is disposed by a clinician when the device’s water vessel gets full. A valve actuates to stop any gas and water leaks when the water vessel is attached and reattached without loss of patient ventilation. The brief was to redesign a Water Trap device to reduce the unit manufacturing cost from £0.40 to £0.10.

A pepper pot that has a cap that rotates to align holes to let pepper out and misaligned them to seal the pepper in when not in use became the inspiration for the design of a new valve mechanism for a new lower cost Water Trap medical device. The solution was developed which used the detachment and attachment of the water vessel component to drive the alignment and misalignment of holes that permit condensate to collect into the water vessel without any loss of gas pressure and loss of gases to the patient when the water vessel was removed. 

A micro 2-shot injection moulding part was created to make thermoplastic rubber O-ring seals to maintain a seal when the water vessel unit was detached from the upper section of the water trap device. The rubber seals and choice of low-cost materials also gave a very user-friendly feel to the attachment and detachment of the water vessel part in conjunction with a bayonet fitting. Every component underwent mould-flow injection moulding analysis to make sure for fast moulding cycle times and high-quality parts. The parts were all design to have high-volume automated assembly and testing. The tooling were also designed to have fast cycling made, which was made easier by the computer simulation work. prototypes were made to test the mechanism worked.

The final solution met the target manufacturing cost requirement to boost profit margins of every breathing system product that used water traps, it is the best water trap in the market for function and use, and the new valve mechanism was granted worldwide patent protection.

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Warehouse Robot: Engineering R&D, New Product Development, Industrial Design.

50kg Payload Warehouse Robot

A start-up firm’s proof of concept for a new warehouse robot was presented to us with a brief to refine the engineering design and carry out industrial design to make it suitable for low-volume production for pilot testing the product. Numerous kinematic simulations and prototypes were produced to optimise functionality and the industrial design team resolved the design for manufacture needs and optimised it for ease of use combined with a high aesthetic quality.

Throughout the project we worked as an integral client team member to help get many electrical and electronic features refined as well as in preparing the product for effective low cost and low volume manufacture.

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Eco-friendly Anaesthetic Facemasks

Anaesthetic face masks are commodity medical products delivering low margins and low differentiation but are essential to have in the product portfolio. The brief was to create value and boost profitability.  The solution created was to improve the face anatomical fit that resulted in reducing the sizes required to produce and stock from 7 to 4. Improved grip on patient feature was added and 2 shot moulding was used to gain better function and eliminate many assembly requirements. With the aid of moulding simulation software wall sections were dramatically reduced to have low material content and gain faster cycle times at low energy consumption. We also eliminated the need to use toxic PVC for more Eco-friendly plastics.  The brief was met in full and product, a patent was granted for a new seal, and it is now a global commercial success delivering greater profits and sales. 

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Smart Hot Water Monitoring System

This product monitors and regulates centralised hot water supply for large scale industrial and residential systems. R&D work was carried out to develop a more efficient hot water supply system that has low heat loss through pipes to reduce energy consumption and operational costs.

The hardware and software technology that was developed delivers a more precise metering and temperature measuring system to provide more efficient and accurate feedback loop information to the valve system that control water flow. 

The following outcomes were achieved: 

  • The ability to automatically adjust and balance the heat and flow of water to reduce energy consumption. 
  • A system to detect any inaccuracies in operational monitoring devices without shutting down the entire hot water supply system and dismantling such devices to find source of faults.
  • Reduced system maintenance costs.
  • A system that can integrate with other existing automated heating systems.
  • Approved product that delivers significant cost savings.

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R&D and Engineering Design.
R&D and Engineering Design.
Medical Device Design: R&D, Product Design and Development, Lean Manufacturing Design.

Bacterial & Viral Medical Filter

This product is used to prevent cross infection of bacteria and viruses to patients. A large amount of filter material is pleated and bonded to make a filter cartridge. The filter cartridge is glued and sealed into plastic filter housings designed to optimise even distribution of gases to maximise filtration capability and gain low breathing resistance. The housings are also designed to have to fit the device onto hospital equipment and patient breathing systems.

The brief was to design and develop a replacement filter that can hold a large body of water, which was a competitor comparative measure of product durability, and to reduce manufacturing scrap rates and costs. 

A new method to glue the filter cartridge to the filter housings that maximised the use of filtration and breathing surface area. The housings were redesigned for applying hot-melt glue on a ledge on the housing that contained the filter. When the top component was added, and pressure was applied the hot melt glue gets pushed onto the periphery and in between the pleats to make a string bond and seal. This one action bonded and sealed the top housing to the rest of the resulting in an overall reduction of assembly processes to reduce costs.

To reduce costs 2-shot injection moulding was used to make an in process monitoring port cap and label, polypropylene was used for the housings instead to further reduce costs and Mould-flow computer simulation and good tool design speeded cycle times and boosted production reliability. The glue to bond the filter cartridge was changed for a more sustainable formulation and also reduced costs.

A cost saving of 37% per product was achieve, all other design requirements were exceeded, and worldwide patent protection was granted.

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High Precision 3D Body Scanner for Retail

The scanner sits on a rotating platform and has numerous digital cameras that measures body parameters and then transfer that data via a Wi-Fi interface to produce a real time digital 3D model for creating, testing and trying out new fashion wear items. Working with the client a proof of concept solution was created that was then further developed by the software and hardware engineering and industrial design teams to create a low cost manufactured items that have been passed onto carry out extensive market testing.

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Retail Precision Body Scanner: Engineering Product Development and Industrial
Retail Precision Body Scanner: Engineering Product Development and Industrial

Heated Humification Medical Devices

Carried out full range of new product design and development work of the complete range of patient ventilation heated humidification devices and systems. Project included all R&D, product design and development, intellectual property protection and implementing all manufacturing tooling, assembly, and packaging equipment, validation and brand development.

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Guedel Airway Medical Devices

Guedel Airways are simple devices used to keep the airway open in an emergency patient situation. They are commodity items made by many manufacturers so price and margins are very tight. We designed and developed an Innovative one-piece Guedel airway. We reduced manufacturing costs by up to 70% and made the tip from a 2 shot moulded soft material to reduce trauma to a patient's airway tissues. We also reduced risks of dental damage in event of patient bites down hard through formulating a new material blend in R&D that offered flexibility and bite resistance to meet international quality standards. The product is patent protected and has distinctive look and feel to boost the client's brand value status.

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Drug Delivery Nebulisers

A Nebuliser is a medical device that converts liquid drugs under high pressure into micro particles to get a deep deposition of drug into a patient's airway and lungs. The better the average distributed particle size there is (MMD) the better the chance the drug will reach the anatomical areas for effective treatment. 

This project brief was to redesign an existing product to improve performance, reduce manufacturer costs and design for high volume automated assembly.  

We went back to basic in R&D to improve product particle size distribution, at design and development we eliminated complex features to reduce tooling CAPEX costs and speed up cycle times. Material sections were reduced using more Eco-friendly plastics and cycle times optimised using software simulation. Ergonomics, styling, shaping for large volume auto assembly were also all achieved. The final product has gained greater global competitive advantage and profitability from a cost reduction of >45%.

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Portable Drone Hanger: Product Design Engineering and Industrial Design.

Automated Drone Hangers for Arctic & Desert Environments

This portable hanger was created for the client from concept to manufacture. The hanger is fully equipped with an advance drone positioning system, custom drone chargers, and a smart HVAC system.

In an exponentially expanding global drone market there is a lack of hanger solutions in the market that can give high quality effective protection, recharging and safe transportation of drones. The brief was to meet this requirement and deliver an automated system that can work in extreme arctic and hot desert environmental conditions. We took a leading role in developing all fundamental aspects of the engineering and industrial design requirements this products resulting in developing several important subsystems namely:

  • battery  charging system,
  • commanding electronics with wireless interface
  • precision  mechanical system for automated hatch opening and closing
  • automated  landing ‘table’ with automated drone positioning for recharging
  • HVAC system suitable for working in a temperature range of  -50 deg. C to +60 deg. C

The pilot product was then passed on for extensive field testing and successfully passed all qualifying test requirements for the client to take it to batch manufacturing and marketing stages.

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Eco-friendly Oxygen & Drug Therapy Face Masks

The brief was to design a better mask and overcome the low margin problem by reducing manufacturing costs. 

We carried out similar R&D and product design and development work as per the Eco-friendly anaesthetic face masks to produce this product. Further R&D work was done to get the shape and positioning of the apertures on the shell of the mask correct to properly mix the inhaled air with the incoming 100% O2. Injection moulding simulation software was used to reduce material and maximise moulding cycle times for enhanced cost reduction. These patent granted masks are fully automated in manufacturing from injection moulding to assembling an elastic strap and packaging. They are more Eco-friendly and ergonomically perfect than prior design and competitor products resulting in creating a new product brand for the company. 

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Adjustable O2 Therapy Device

The Silente Adjustable Venturi medical device was created to replace an existing product because it was too noisy and expensive to manufacture resulting in low competitive strength. Our solution was to create the most  accurate and quietest adjustable venture device for patient oxygen. Production costs were slashed as well resulting in the company being able to be more competitive on both price and features.

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Tracheotomy Heat & Moisture Exchange Device

Tracheotomy heat and moisture exchange (HME) devices are used  to keep a patient's lungs humidified when breathing through the humidifying nose has to be by-passed for medical reasons. Oxygen therapy is sometimes needed with such devices. 

The brief was to develop a more efficient HME and more compact device for use with or without oxygen therapy and to make sure the delivery of oxygen was not traumatic to the tissues and obstructive to a patient. Intricate injection moulding details were created to make the product from low number of parts. Injection moulding simulation was used to make sure all parts of the body will fill with plastic quickly and without difficulty. Prototypes were created to optimise gas flow spread and check the foam did not dislodge into the airway or out of the device on a vigorous cough. We also did all of the medical device regulatory compliance and approval work. The brief was met in full and to budget.

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Anaesthesia CO2 Gas Absorbent Products

CO2 absorbents are used in anaesthesia to scrub out  a patient's expired CO2 and recycle unused gases to save money and stop environmental pollution.  The brief was to develop disposable canisters to fit various anaesthetic machines and to optimise gas flow through them to maximise the efficient use of the absorbent material and get the beneficial exothermic reactions to keep patient lungs warm and humidified.

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Non-Invasive Ventilation Face Masks

Some people need to be ventilated on a less invasive manner  when they are awake or when sleeping in cases of sleep apnea.  The brief was design and develop a better version of this product for inclusion in the product portfolio to increase sales and brand profile. The solution was a better design for patient fit and ease of use that was also made from Eco-friendly materials.  

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