Eliminate guesswork in your next design project with Rapid Prototyping

March 16th, 2010

If you’re a design engineer the last concern you want to have when your product is going into production is, “Will it work they way in which it was intended?” While oversights in design can be rectified post-production, it’s costly and timely – not to mention a lost opportunity for your company.

No company wants to lose market share due to a delayed product release, which could have been avoid had they chosen to elect rapid prototyping services to improve the design process.

The benefits of rapid prototyping services is quite simple: Design engineers can improve the accuracy of their products’ design by creating a 3D prototype model that will allow the various concepts to be tested before it’s manufactured and introduced to the marketplace.

But despite its growing popularity Rapid Prototyping technologies is underutilized by many industries that could otherwise benefit from its use. The biggest benefit of creating rapid prototype models is that it can produce a prototype model quickly, and at a low cost.

Wonder how quick the turn-around actually is for creating a rapid prototype?
More often times than not, manufacturers who offer rapid prototyping services can produce a model in hours, where it use to take days or weeks. Because of the expediency and efficiency of this service, it can decrease the typical time it takes to get a product to the marketplace up to 80%.

When you’re ready to minimize the risk and time delays in your next product design, consider contracting a rapid prototyping manufacturer—they are quickly becoming a valuable resource that design engineers can’t live without.


Nylon Tubing—the other tubing material choice

March 16th, 2010

It’s not only plastic that leads the way in custom manufacturing tubing—nylon is just as useful and resilient.

Recognized for its tensile strength, and selected for its stability, nylon tubing has maneuvered its way into applications ranging from uses to transport vapor or liquid, for air and brake lines, or any other situation that requires flexibility and the ability to withstand repeated stresses over a long duration without negative effects.

Phew! That’s a lot to ask from nylon tubes. But regardless, the fact remains that utilizing nylon tubes in situations that will put increasing amounts of abrasion and friction on it is critical to ensure it meets the requirements of the task.

For instance, ideal for use on cooling systems, pneumatic controls, hydraulic lines and grease lines—nylon tubes-12 is less expensive to manufacture than nylon tube-11and is perfectly suited for these numerous industrial applications.

Customers who need Nylon tube-12 specify its use when they need to prevent vapor permeation, whether the nylon tubing is delivering fuel, or any other chemical liquid. This ensures that the equipment on which it is being utilized doesn’t experience failure or compromise safety.

But customers also have the option of manufacturing nylon tube-11 which is better suited for use in the food industry as it is made from materials that comply with FDA regulations.

Although this type of nylon tube is suited for other industries, such as for chemical companies, making the choice to use nylon tube-11 in use with transferring fluids whether alimentary liquids such as milk, beer or biological such as serum or blood—nylon tubes are a prime alternative to plastic.


The Places You’ll Go With Flexible Plastic Tubing

March 16th, 2010

What is it about flexible plastic tubing exactly that makes it such a sought after tubing product?
Actually, the answer is rather simple as to why companies from automotive to medical or even home hobbyists for that matter, select flexible plastic tubing—it’s due to its availability in a wide range of sizes, shapes, and thermoplastics that provide for such diverse uses of flexible tubing.
Not only do these qualities make flexible plastic tubing an attractive choice, but also because flexible plastic tube is easily accessible to the marketplace that makes it a primary choice, particularly in a pinch. And it’s easy to install.

However, one is not only left to the stock availability of flexible plastic tubing at Home Depot or Lowe’s.

For industries requiring very specific design features of flexible plastic tubing for their equipment, they have access to custom plastic manufacturers who can readily assist them with their small diameter flexible plastic tubing needs. Now while the need could be as simple as installing a small diameter flexible plastic tube to finish off a connection in an airline; to those who require a more sophisticated flexible tubing solution such as that which may be replaced in a medical device used in the critical care of a patient during dialysis—the design of a small diameter flexible tubing requires a systematic approach in both design and manufacturing.

It should be reassuring for customers to know that flexible plastic tubing offers as much in terms of reliable performance for a water injection system as it does for a multi-fiber optical cable. But whatever the application, companies should consult with a custom plastic manufacturing company to have the added assurance that are using a highly quality flexible plastic tubing product.


The Trends in Medical Extrusion Tubing Keep Growing

March 16th, 2010

Despite the economy, and the recent surge of job layoffs, there is one fact that remains—people still need quality medical care, and as such there continues to be a growing demand for high-quality medical extrusion tubing amongst those in the medical profession.

As a matter of fact, the average annual growth rate of extrusion tubing worldwide is calculated at 8%, and this is for good cause.

First, rapid advancements in medical device technology necessitate that custom medical extrusion tubing be an essential component for use in both invasive surgical procedures and after-care treatment. The small diameter extruded medical tubes are used in applications from transferring fluids to a patient during a transfusion or intravenous, or the medical extrusion tubing is used for an intubation or during anesthesia, to name a few.

Second, because small diameter extruded medical tubes are manufactured following industry regulations, customers are provided with a pre-sterilized, disposable, medical extrusion tubing product; giving the added assurance that the medical extrusion tube will assist in minimizing the spread of infectious disease during surgery or any other application.

While the reasons for using medical extrusion tubing are vast, there is one driving factor that has affected growth. It’s due to the competency of custom tubing manufacturing companies to meet the demands of the medical industry to make improvements to the extruded medical tubes manufacturing process, such as tighter tolerances or co-extruded new thermoplastic combinations. Employing new precision manufacturing techniques ensures that the medical tubing products are designed and developed to meet the stringent demands of their customers. And due to the growth in demand of medical extrusion tubing, the incentive is built in to respond immediately.


Double Lumen Tubing: Customized to Fit All Patients

March 16th, 2010

The medical professions claims on the proper use of double lumen medical tubing, also referred to as DLT, during cardiothoracic or vascular thoracic surgery would involve a high degree of medical competency in order to reiterate their medical position on the critical use of double lumen tubing.
But one does not require a medical degree to explain or understand that double lumen tubing helps surgeons save lives in the operating room. It’s actually that simple—the reason, not the surgery, as to why double lumen tubing has enabled successful results for this application purposes.

To explain in it’s most basic terms: double lumen tubing consists of two lumens: one bronchial and one tracheal. The double lumen tube provides for ventilation of the lungs during an operation. The intubation process of the double lumen tubing occurs while the patient is anesthetized. The doctor first inserts the tracheal lumen tube into the patient’s trachea before the bronchial lumen tube is connected to allow for ventilation.
Now, here’s the important part.

Before starting the insertion process of the double lumen tubing, doctors need to first determine the diameter of a patient’s bronchus. This is done in order to select the appropriate size double lumen tubing that can easily be inserted and withdrawn into the bronchus without causing the patient harm.

But depending on the manufacturer, the availability of the appropriate size double lumen tube may not be available. However, there is a custom tubing manufacturer who can service the diverse needs of the medical industry. A.P. Extrusion can offer services in the design and manufacturing of small diameter medical lumen tubing to accommodate a wide range of bronchus’ diameters.


Taking a bite out of 3D Scanning

March 16th, 2010

Most people fear going to the dentist—well, fear the dentist no more, thanks to 3D Scanning.
At one time or another, the majority of people have had dental impressions made to replace a tooth. But before the introduction of 3D scanning, the process was invasive, time-consuming, and expensive for the patient—for sure; but it also put dentists in the precarious position of relying upon traditional methods used by dental technicians to make a bridge, crown or inlay that was precise, durable, and aesthetically accurate.

Thanks to innovations in 3D Scanning technology the dental industry can deliver better services to its customers (the dentists) and the end-user (the patients).

Due to the quality and precision of 3D scanning, the technicians no longer have to estimate calculations of a dental piece. A 3D scan provides the dental technicians with precise calculations which now guarantee that the patient will receive a perfect fit of their dental piece down to a millimeter. This in turn improves the productivity for the dentist, as they can be provided with a dental piece created by 3D model scanning that does not need to go through further adjustments to accurately fit the patient.

3D scanning technology also allows for highly advanced materials to be used which previously were limited by conventional methods which relied upon manual casting and finishing. Because of the speed and elimination of “human error” in the production, dental pieces, such as a titanium framework or glass ceramic full crown can now be made in less than half the time, at a lower cost; and because of its inherent properties of strength and durability, it provides for better long-term results for the patient.


Built Tough with ABS 3D Printing

March 16th, 2010

Few manufacturing techniques can offer companies with boundless opportunities to perfect a product or piece of equipment such that ABS 3D printing provides.

And while industries ranging from medical devices to consumer products have benefitted from advancements in ABS 3D Printing technology, its use in the automotive industry has enhanced innovations in design.

In one such instance, General Motors turned to AMP Research, a tier-one supplier to the automotive industry, to develop concepts for an alloy fuel door for its Hummer H2 sport utility vehicle.

According to a report, due to the design flexibility of ABS 3D Printing, AMP Research engineers could quickly provide GM with a variety of physical models of the fuel door that were easily produced with the aid of ABS 3D printing. Getting prototypes in front of GM faster for review and approval allowed AMP to move through the design process of the fuel door for testing and evaluation much faster.

Wonder how 3D ABS printing helped?

By creating an ABS prototype, engineers could refine designs and cut time from development schedule as it now how the time to test form, fit and functions, while also exploring as many design options as they needed to meet performance specifications. The benefit is that they could readily detect flaws and take corrective steps to deliver excellence to their customer before a costly error was made. So ABS 3D Printing helped to keep the project ahead of schedule and improved the overall product development process.


Tubing so cool it can take the heat

March 16th, 2010

The mechanical characteristics of thin wall tubing make it an ideal choice for various applications—from its ability to withstand extreme temperature conditions to it providing material strength, excellent insulation and protection from abrasion.

First off, one of the primary benefits of thin wall tubing being able to withstand extreme temperature conditions is in use in sensitive electronic devices where excessive exposure to heat could cause damage and equipment failure.

Why does this happen?

As technology advances, electronic devices, such as integrated circuit boards become more complex. In doing so, the circuit density causes an increase in thermal properties—in other words, it turns up the heat generated inside of equipment.

Thin wall tubing in this particular application helps to cool electronic devices by acting as a conduit to pass airflow to lower the temperature, and as a result keeps the device functioning properly.

Another benefit of thin wall tube concerns its tensile properties. Its relative strength provides necessary assurance to the end user of surgical equipment, for example. During medical procedures, thin wall tubing must deliver superior performance to ensure the safety of a patient. While heat may not be a contributing factor to thin wall tubes failure, it is critical that the tensile strength of the thin wall tube be able can withstand continuous friction and maintain enough gripping strength.

Another common use of thin wall tubing is in packaging protection. In this case, thin wall tubes cut to size may be used as a band around products to aid in tamper detection.
From these varied examples, it’s evident that thin wall tubing offers a wide breadth of performance characteristics to be selected for use in a number of applications.


Rapid prototype models can eliminate psychological stress

March 16th, 2010

From medical devices such as stints to custom-made human implants used in reconstructive surgery, the use of rapid prototype models is rapidly growing in popularity among designers and engineers, due to new and innovative technology—and the reasons are evident.

Looking at anatomical parts as one example:

Rapid prototype models allows for an accurate fabrication of a patient’s implant—whether it’s for bone replacement or prosthesis. Because it’s customized to fit the patient, the benefits of utilizing rapid prototype models allow for the surgeon to conduct preoperative planning and practice in advance of the actual surgery. The surgery thereby becomes less invasive for the patient, reduces reconstruction time, and provides better esthetic results.

Due to this proactive approach facilitated by rapid prototyping, it has also been found to alleviate a patient’s pre-surgery psychological stress, as they have more confidence that the surgical complications will be minimized if not eliminated.

But the benefits of rapid prototyping don’t end there, as it also aids in eliminating risk of product failure. And for engineers and designers who are working to improve product performance, rapid prototyping facilitates faster manufacturing and produces higher quality end products.

After a rapid prototype model is developed, it can be evaluated as to its shape, size and general feel. The level of quality control that rapid prototype models provide allows the design team to answer questions such as: Is this providing the feel we want? Will the prosthesis attach easily? Is there anything obstructive about its design? Will it deliver maximum performance?

Given the design flexibility of rapid prototype models, these questions can be quickly answered and products can be improved more cost-effectively and rapidly.


Got Air? Then you must have a custom medical tube.

March 16th, 2010

Custom Medical Tubing may not be the first thing people think about when it comes to the transfer of air, oxygen air and fluids—but if you work in the medical device industry, it’s likely on the top on your list.

And the reasons are clear—to help keep patients alive and well.
Manufacturing custom medical tubing must be executed following the strictest ISO compliant processes. Custom tubing manufacturers, who develop medical tubes which are generally used in diagnostic and interventional medical products, are required to perform its production in a Class 100,000 clean room. This ensures that the conditions under which the custom medical tube is made is adhering to those standards to result in a disposable end-product that is of the highest quality.

However, regardless of the material from which the custom medical tubing is made, these small diameter custom medical tubes can be extruded into a variety of shapes—circular, square, and oval. And while they can be more costly than other more conventional medical tubes, the expense is justifiable. After all, manufacturing custom medical tubing can be complex and need to be manufactured using the tightest tolerances specified to best suit the application.

In mission-critical procedures, the custom medical tube may be used as a nasal oxygen tube used on a post-operative patient. Medical tubes may also be involved in transferring fluids during transfusions or dialysis.

Research shows that PVC may be the leading polymer used for custom medical tubing, but most custom medical tubing manufacturing facilities can produce the custom medical tubes in a variety of thermoplastics.