Friday, July 7, 2017

Endolite’s Linx Prosthetic Limb Takes Home Best in Show Award

For those who are born without, or lose a natural limb understand the obstacles and challenges that are ahead in their daily lives. In the wise words of Charles Darwin, all living organisms, including humans face the scientific evolutionary fact of ‘survival of the fittest.’ That said, as humans are the most advanced life-forms on Earth, we have adapted not only through a biological evolution, but also through technological advancements. In other words, the ability to manufacture and continuously innovate high-end prosthetics is evidence that we are an adaptive race that combines technology with our biological needs.

On June 13, Endolite’s Linx system, a lower limb prosthetic technology, received the highest honors at the 2017 Medical Design Excellence Awards in New York. Not only did Endolite receive the Gold Medal Award in Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Products category, but they were also named out of forty-five finalists, the Best in Show Award. The medtech industry award show was based on  the following criteria: Design and Engineering Innovations, Functional (User-Related) Innovations, Benefits to Overall Healthcare, Benefits to Patients and Market Differentiation. By fulfilling each of the judged criteria, Endolite, a US branch of the Blatchford Group, shed light on their 125 year devotion to the designing and manufacturing of cutting edge prosthetics.  

In light of their most recent accomplishment, Linx is the first fully integrated, microprocessor-controlled lower limb system, helping above-knee amputees. According to Endolite, the Linx ankle talks to the knee at a rate of 400 messages per second, which gives lower limb amputees the ability to live a more active and independent lifestyle. This particular prosthetic limb functions by combining four microprocessors and seven situational awareness sensors, as a means of collecting data on the individual user’s day to day activity and their terrain. As a result, all of the data collected is used to help the prosthetic limb adapt in order to mimic a human limb tailored to that particular patient. This means that over the course of a day, the Linx system will adjust over 2000 times in order to adapt to both the anatomical body structure, as well as the surrounding environment.

Endolite’s success stems from the acknowledgement that quality prosthetics are vital for long term musculoskeletal health. Therefore, after being awarded with the highest honors as a top of the line medtech company, it is apparent that they value constant innovation through their engineering front. By developing high end devices that mimic the response time to a human limb, Endolite strives to give amputees the ability to walk or run, while also eliminating pain. Other prosthetic devices tend to create discomfort and pain to the patient, considering they do not easily adapt to the individual user or their surrounding environments. For example, sixty one percent of lower limb amputees often experience chronic back pain after 2 years of the amputation. As a result, this puts stress on the rest of the body as it can lead to both osteoarthritis in the knee and/or hip, as well as increased energy expenditure on the heart.

Overall Endolite, is revolutionizing the prosthetic industry one bionic step at a time.

Evan Slass is a Digital Marketing Communications Specialist for Rotor Clip Company.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Winning Engineering Students Look Forward to Careers in Manufacturing

Our 2nd annual Ring-A-Majig contest ended with a team of four engineering students from East Carolina University taking the top prize. Their winning entry, a model railroad hand cart, featured a design that incorporated several retaining rings as the fastening method, as well as a wave spring used to activate the braking system.

Members of the winning team included Erik Panarusky, Sam Poindexter, John Rayner and Zachery Rogers. Professor Ranjeet Agarawala served as the team’s advisor.

Winning Design: Model railroad cart is held together by retaining
rings and features a wave spring as part of the braking system.
In addition to a cash award, the students received an all-expense paid trip to Rotor Clip to tour our manufacturing facility and to attend the Atlantic Design and Manufacturing Show in New York, where they exhibited their winning design.

The pulse of manufacturing is quickening and our winning students are part of the excitement that has been building around manufacturing as a career. They look forward to working in companies that utilize the latest technology and practices to produce tomorrow’s breakthrough products.

“Manufacturing plays such a vital role in the world today, and having knowledge and training of up to date processes, automation, seems to be extremely important,” noted Eric Panarusky. John Rayner characterized manufacturing as a “viable career option for a young person.”

“With the advances in manufacturing technologies, 3D printing and robotics specifically,” he continued, “now is as good a time as any for a young person to be getting into manufacturing.”

The students also weighed in on their tour of Rotor Clip, which was for most the first time they had ever been in a manufacturing facility. Zachery Rogers was impressed with the smooth process flow of the factory “…from prepping raw materials to be stamped or coiled with machines, to the packaging of the clips using the plastic wraps (shrink wrap), or the wires (Rings On Wire).”

Eric Panarusky noted the advantage to actually seeing a factory in action versus learning about it in a classroom.

“It can be hard to grasp the scale and interactivity of design and manufacturing until you see it in person,” he said. “I felt the tour was most beneficial in the way of showing how each individual person and machine played a vital role in the entire operation.”

“Seeing this company producing as much product as they’re producing in house was awesome,” added Sam Poindexter. “Looking into the process of how everything is done at the company really gets me interested.”

The trade show was also a first for our students and they were happy to take part in it.

“The trade show was a fantastic opportunity to see current and future advances in manufacturing technologies,” said John Rayner. “Some of the things companies are working on are simply amazing and young people are at the forefront.”

Eric Panarusky was impressed by the diverse companies at the show and the range of products they exhibited.

“It made the workforce I'm hopefully about to enter seem less daunting,” he said, “especially because it made the job market and specific areas of work appear very, very, broad.”

The experience gave Zachery Rogers a basic understanding of what companies are looking for and how they showcase their services. “(It) has helped me understand how companies interact with one another,” he concluded.

We have been heartened and encouraged by the response to our contest, both by the quality of the work submitted and by the promise it holds for the future of manufacturing in our country. We wish our winners luck in their job endeavors and look forward to seeing what creative designs students submit for our 2018 contest.

Joe Cappello is Director of Global Marketing for Rotor Clip Company.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Spray On Memory-An Aerosol Can Filled With Ones & Zeros

Researchers at Duke University created a new “spray on” digital memory device. Although far from being used commercially, the proven concept shows the potential this amazing break through in technology may have on our future.

The “spray” is made of silica-coated copper nanowires encased in a polymer matrix, which can be dissolved in methanol, creating a liquid that can be sprayed through the nozzle of a printer onto a surface. Yes, there is a 3D printer that is used like an aerosol can.

Duke researchers 3D printed a series of gold electrodes onto a glass slide. Then printed, or “sprayed”, the copper-nanowire memory material over the gold electrodes, and lastly printed a second series of cooper electrodes.

To demonstrate, the researchers connected the 3D printed device to 4-programmed LEDs, which became illuminated in various combinations depending on the program.

Where would this spray on material be used? Researchers are looking at Radio-frequency identification tags (RFID), most notably used in tracking inventory. RFID tags electronically store information and when scanned provide limited information, i.e., the product was stored here, picked up at this time, and delivered at this time. With spray on memory, a consumer can see the inventory information, along with the temperature the product was stored in and for how long, or how the product was handled, which would be great for medications, or a perfectly preserved bottle of wine.

Or for golf enthusiasts, imagine having this printed onto your personal golf balls or clubs to track speed, elevation, distance, wind resistance, or to find your ball when you slice it into the woods.

What’s more, the spray-on memory can be re-written with no limits. While conventional memory devices might last only a few years, the spray-on memory has the ability to store data for a decade without degradation.

The current storage space of the spray-on memory is equal to a 4 bit flash drive. That is essentially the computer power of using your TV remote or programming a coffee maker. However, still in its infancy, the spray-on memory technology will only develop to become better and more efficient.

Vincent Rodgers is a Marketing Communications Specialist for Rotor Clip Company