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Interface Sensors Used for Development and Testing of Surgical Robotics

Electro-mechanical and software advancements in the medical device and healthcare industry have made all kinds of surgical robotics a reality. Manufacturers and design engineers of these robots come to Interface during the stages of research and development, product engineering and refinement, and testing to perfect surgical use cases. The sensor technologies we provide are preferred in these processes and in final integration due to the fact these devices are highly regulated and require the utmost in accuracy and reliability.

The types of surgeries currently being performed with robotics include what were once considered invasive and a higher risk of failure such as coronary bypass, removing cancer tissue, transplants, laser incisions, and more. With surgical robotics, the medical professionals rely on precision to perform these surgeries with as minimal invasion as possible.

The product development process for surgical robotics is extremely meticulous and requires a wide variety of tests to confirm the accuracy of the product. One of the key components to testing in this field is force measurement. As you can imagine, force plays a massive role in surgical robotics. Every action performed needs to be forced tested to ensure that whatever the surgical task, the robot is doing it with precision.

For surgical robotics, minute forces need to be measured because they are working with highly fragile subjects within a human body. To measure these tiny forces, Interface offers a variety of Interface Mini™ Solutions.  Interface Mini Load Cells are used for light touch, light weight, or for less space. Our miniature load cells provide exceedingly accurate measurements similar to our full-size load cells with proprietary alloy strain gages. They are used in R&D, test and for OEM use in robot components.

All our miniature beam load cells, load cell load buttons, load washer, miniature tension force load cells, S-type load cells, and sealed stainless steel load cells are commonly used based on their capacity and designs.  A variety of our load cells can be used in an off-the-shelf application. Our engineers can also work with you to design custom load cells to fit your exact needs, which is common in robotics.

Interface recently developed an application note to outline how force measurement can be used in testing force feedback using a combination of load cells, torque transducer and data acquisition device on a robotic surgical device.

Robotic Surgery Force Feedback

A biomechanical medical company wanted to test the force, torque, and tactile feedback from their robotic arm for invasive surgery. The surgeon’s movements are mirrored by the robotic arm during surgery, and it was essential all haptic force feedback is measured to ensure safety during invasive surgery. A number of Interface’s force and torque measurement products were suggested for this robotic arm. These includes our load button, S-types, Mini overload protected torque transducers and DAQ instrumentation.  Included below are the roles of each device:

Each one of Interface’s load cells or torque transducers played a part in the ensuring the safety and functionality of robotic arms during invasive surgery. The force feedback that was measured from the robotic arm ensured that the robot used the perfect amount of force when using surgical tools that create incisions during surgeries. It also measured the torque being produced, ensuring the robot arm was moving smoothly and at the right speeds. Read the application note for this surgical robot here.

This is just one example of Interface’s work in robotics, and surgical robotics specifically. There are a growing number of devices used in special, precision surgeries that utilize force to perform its task.

Additional Resources Related to Medical, Healthcare and Robotics

Spotlighting Medical Device and Healthcare Solutions

Medical and Healthcare Brochure

OEM: Medical Bag Weighing

Force Solutions for Medical Tablet Forming Machines

Interface OEM Solutions Process

6-Axis Force Plate Robotic Arm App Note

Force Measurement Solutions for Advanced Manufacturing Robotics

Spotlighting Medical Device and Healthcare Solutions

In medical technology design, engineering and manufacturing, accuracy is everything. Not only are standards and regulations for product quality extremely high in the medical industry, the safety and wellbeing of patients and users depends on it.

Interface continues to provide the medical device and healthcare industry with the most accurate and reliable force measurement products used for R&D, testing, and embedding sensors for continuous measurement.

In our Medical and Healthcare Solutions Overview, Interface dives deeper into our capabilities and product line that is used throughout the lifecycle of development and supply of medical device and healthcare components. For decades, Interface has been a supplier of precision measurement solutions those that are used in the design, engineering, testing and manufacturing of products used in the industry. Here is a quick recap spotlighting why Interface is a preferred industry partner.

Interface Medical and Healthcare Solutions

Interface provides load cells and sensors of all capacities and sizes to use in the development of medical devices, healthcare tools, and technologies that improve the ability to diagnose, mitigate risks, treat illness, support wellness and advance science.

First and foremost, to qualify as a provider of products in the industry the proper certifications for quality are a necessity. Interface is celebrated for meeting and exceeding the quality needs for our customer’s projects in medical and healthcare. Our products are built and tested in accordance with A2LA, International Standard ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and ANSI/NCSL Z540- 1-1994. This accreditation demonstrates technical competence for a defined scope and the operation of a laboratory quality management system.

The next qualification is experience. In the medical industry, they need to know that their suppliers understand their rigid requirements and use cases for their products. Our engineers and product teams have been providing proven sensor technologies used for a wide variety of medical devices, like prosthetics and surgical implements. These products require extremely accurate measurement before they are approved for use. Interface knows what it takes to meet these requirements.

The industry requires a range of capabilities and sizes of measurement devices like our various miniature and shear beam load cell solutions with 10x overload protection. Our torque transducers provide rotary and reactive measurement to accurately measure performance. These solutions are used to control product use, for fatigue testing, test surgical equipment durability, measure implants and monitor equipment. Other Interface medical device and healthcare solutions include multi-axis sensors for multiple channels of measurement in one housing to use in complex designs requiring multiple measurement outputs.

Prosthetics Performance

Prosthetic-Foot-Performance-App-NoteInterface supplies products to test how a prosthetics perform during different positions and stances. The products used in a prosthetic foot design test including the Interface Model 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell, which was installed between the leg socket and the prosthetic foot and the Model 3A120, which was connected to a portable data acquisition system. When standard precision solutions need a custom designed sensor, Interface’s solutions team and engineers work directly with medical device manufacturers to deliver specialized products, systems and software that meet the evolving needs and innovation requirements. Included below is an application note that outlines the prosthetic testing process using Interface force solutions.

In this example, a customer wanted to know how a prosthetic foot responds as it is loaded during different stances. This challenge required a force solution and Interface supplied 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell which were installed between the leg socket and the prosthetic foot. The Model 3A120 was then connected to a portable data acquisition system. With this solution, the customer was able to log data was for the X, Y, and Z axis, review the results and identify premature foot flat and dead spots during foot’s use. Using this data, they’re now able to make improvements to the design. Read more about this prosthetic load and fatigue testing application here.

Stent And Catheter Testing

Stent CatheterFor this specific use case, large testing rigs that contain approximately a dozen Interface load cells are used to test stents and heart valves that are surgically implanted into patients. The rigs subject the stents and heart valves to thousands of stress tests over months to determine their material properties. Stents stay in a patient’s body for the rest of their life, so accuracy and durability are extremely important. This application makes use of Interface’s Miniature Beam Load Cell product line, which is overload protected. This product line is extremely reliable and has never had a reported fatigue failure. Included below is another application example.

In this application note, the customer needed to apply known forces to stent and catheters to ensure they pass all necessary strength and flexibility testing. Interface’s solution was to use a MBP Overload Protected Beam Miniature Load Cell that is placed behind the guide wire for the stent or catheter. The motor will spin the linear drive and push the load cell and guide the wire through the testing maze. MBP Overload Protected Beam Miniature Load Cell is connected to the DIG-USB PC Interface Module. All forces are measured and stored on PC. Using this system, the Customer was able to perform required testing and log to PC, followed by being able to review results and take actions as needed. You can read more about this application use case for a stent testing system here.

A growing demand for our products utilized in OEM medical applications. Interface works with manufacturers across the world who design and build life-saving medical devices, implants, and tools, as detailed in the post Interface Ensures Premium Accuracy and Reliability for Medical Applications. Customers turn to Interface because of our proven track record for producing, at volume, the most accurate, reliable and efficient force measurement products and accessories for collecting critical data.

Interface has been involved in the engineering of unique sensor products for use in medical devices and equipment, from MedTech devices to some of the machinery used to manufacture medical products. Increasing success happens when you engage early.  Our experts are ready to assist with your medical device and healthcare test and measurement product needs.

Additional Medical and Health Care Industry Resources

OEM: Medical Bag Weighing

Medical Bag Weighing App Note

Force Solutions for Medical Tablet Forming Machines

New Interface White Paper Highlights Turning an Active Component into a Sensor

Force Solutions for Medical Tablet Forming Machines

In the medical and healthcare industry, accuracy is an absolute imperative in the devices used in every stage including diagnosis, surgery, health monitoring and even after care. This also applies to the specialized equipment used by pharmaceutical manufacturers, in both design and maintenance, when producing medicine and other healthcare related products.

When it comes to product development in the United States, not only do med devices and pharmaceuticals need to pass rigorous FDA regulations, but they must also be proven to serve patients and doctors safely. This results from robust test and measurement data requirements before seeking clearance. These same types of fundamental safety requirements of testing are also standard in most developed countries when seeking approvals before release.

Medical industry manufacturers turn to Interface because our force measurement solutions are designed for high performance test and measurement, in both accuracy and reliability. There is also a high demand for Interface’s ability to customize solutions to meet the exact requirements of these sensitive applications.

In a variety of medical device applications, one noted example is Interface’s role in providing various miniature beam and in-line load cell solutions with ten times the overload protection to protect against accidental shock loads. Our torque transducers provide rotary and reactive measurement to accurately track light movements required to control prosthetic fatigue testing, surgical equipment, knee or hip replacement and other medical devices. Other Interface solutions include multi-axis sensors for multiple channels of measurement in one housing. Read more about these types of medical applications here.

Interface provides force measurement solutions for a wide variety of products and machines that help biotechnology and pharmaceutical product engineers to design, test and manufacturer devices of all shapes and sizes. When it comes to equipment used in the manufacturing of medicine, Interface products are used to optimize production and reduce waste.

TABLET HARDNESS TESTING

In this application, a pharmaceutical tablet producer wanted to test and monitor the hardness of the tablets being created in their tablet forming machine. Interface’s SML Low Height S-Type Load Cell was mounted to the hardness device inside the tablet forming machine. The SML Low Height S-Type Load Cell was then connected to the 9870 High-Speed High Performance TEDS Ready Indicator to record the force measurements.

TABLET FORMING MACHINE OPTIMIZATION

For a tablet forming machine optimization project in Europe, a pharmaceutical tablet producer wanted to monitor the forces applied by the tablet forming machine in an effort to understand the relationship between raw material, die set, forming force, and motor cycle speed. The goal was to improve productivity and efficiency of the tablet forming process, while reducing losses such as cracked tablets or voids, by adding a dimension of feedback that could be used to assign specific press adjustment criterion for given inputs. An Interface Model WMC Sealed Stainless Steel Mini Load Cell 10K lbf was mounted in the section of the downward press bar. The machine was modified to accomplish this. The load cell was then connected to a Model 9320 Portable Load Cell Indicator to collect the needed data.

TABLET MACHINE HARDNESS CALIBRATION

Our partners in Germany also had the opportunity to work on a calibration project for a device that tested the hardness of tablets, such as a medicine in tablet form. The reason for this type of device is because medical tablets are overly sensitive to compression force when being formed and when ready to be shipped. If the tablets hardness isn’t tested properly, consistency in size and shape is nearly impossible. The need for force testing is because the device must provide very minimal and accurate forces to the tablet for product consistency. When this is applied to tablets that are used in medicine, accuracy in dosage is fundamental and an absolute necessity.

The customer required a unique solution to properly re-calibrate the device. They needed a mini-load cell the size of a sugar cube that replaces the tablets and fits horizontally in the tablet test-box. A special cable exit was also critical for the compression only calibration application.

Interface provided an MCC Miniature Compression Load Cell which can measure forces on its side with a special cable exit on the flat side that attaches to a calibration indicator, such as the Interface battery powered handheld indicator and datalogger Model 9330. The MCC load cell calibration set compares the applied forces with the hardness tester to make sure that the tablet hardness tester uses the correct force for future tablet hardness tests. The BlueDAQ software included in our indicator helps to log and compare the data of the MCC reference load cell.

In the past, the customer’s medical tablet machines had to be rebuilt for calibrations, or a complex mechanism had to be integrated to enable vertical calibration. With Interface’s new solution, the customer successfully verified and calibrated the tablet hardness tester machine horizontally to conduct accurate hardness testing on tablets in the future. Interface’s MCC Miniature Compression Load Cell was perfect due to its small size, and convenience in measuring the forces on its side.

Read more about these healthcare and medical applications in these posts:

Interface Solutions for Medical Devices and Healthcare

Interface Load Cells in Medical Applications

Interface Ensures Premium Accuracy and Reliability for Medical Applications

To see more of Interface’s solutions designed for the medical device industry, visit our solutions page at www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/medical-healthcare/.

Interface Solutions for Medical Devices and Healthcare

There is a reason that the most highly regulated industries in the world turn to Interface for force measurement equipment used for medical device and healthcare product design, development and testing. The industry must trust the data they are using to optimize or validate product design because the slightest errors can have devastating results.

In the medical industry, the dependence on accuracy and reliability increases tenfold. Not only are medical devices and healthcare products some of the most complex and delicate technology in the world, the regulations and certification standards they need to meet are stringent. And most importantly, any design flaws or failures could present serious health risks and or worse. Interface has been a trusted partner to medical OEMs and healthcare technology providers around the world for decades.

Our test and measurement products are crucial in the development of numerous medical and healthcare tools, technology, medical devices and equipment used in labs and hospitals alike. Interface has been part of remarkable innovations and test and measurement projects of products implanted inside of the human body and used for prosthetics.

To serve our customers who need high-quality force and torque measurement testing data, Interface is the provider of choice for accurate, reliable and customizable force measurement products and systems.”  Elliot Speidell, Regional Sales at Interface

Engineering and building load cells, along with supplying the best torque transducers, digital instrumentation and accessories all plays a critical role in the evolving needs within the healthcare industry. Interface load cells that can measure capacities as low as 0.11 lbf / 0.5 N have been used to measure the smallest weight change in medical bags. Our multi-axis sensors are used to measure multiple axis of force in the development of prosthetics.

Here are a few applications that showcase different Interface products for healthcare and by medtech OEMs:

VASCULAR CLAMP FORCE

Using an Interface High Speed Data Logging Indicator and Model LBS Load Cell, the customer was able to test multiple clamps, recording the force measurements for each. By using this accurate data, they were able determine the best one to use during surgery. READ THE MEDICAL APP NOTE HERE.

BALL AND SOCKET MED DEVICE

A medical device OEM needed to test a new design for an artificial hip joint. This test needed to validate load consistency, and the durability of their design. Using a 6-Axis Load Cell mounted to the manufacturer’s test machine, they were able to simulate actual use. A Model BX8 was connected to the sensor to collect data. READ THE MEDICAL APP NOTE HERE.

SURGICAL STAPLER FORCE VERIFICATION

A large medical manufacturer required a load button load cell to verify the amount of force needed to activate the surgical stapler. Along with precision measurement, the load cell requirements were it needed to be small, easy to mount, and accurate. Interface’s LBMU Compression Load Button was mounted to the surgical stapler to enable force verification, and then connected to a 9820 Load Cell Indicator to record output. READ THE MEDICAL APP NOTE HERE.

PROSTHETIC FOOT PERFORMANCE

In this use case, Interface supplied products to help our customer test how a prosthetic foot performed during different positions and stances. The products used in this test were the Interface Model 3A120 3-Axis Load Cell, which was installed between the leg socket and the prosthetic foot and the Model 3A120 which was connected to customer’s portable data acquisition system. READ THE MEDICAL APP NOTE HERE.

When standard precision solutions need a custom application, Interface’s solutions team and engineers work directly with medical device manufacturers to deliver specialized products, systems and software that meet evolving needs and innovation.

To provide additional information on the medical customers we serve and the solutions we develop, Interface has created our medical industry case study. The case study provides details on the force measurement needs of the industry, as well as various examples of solutions we have developed for medical devices and equipment from heart medtech devices to some of the machinery used to manufacture medical products.

Click Here to Read the NEW Interface Medical Industry Case Study

You can view some of these medical and healthcare application use cases here.

Contributor:  Elliot Speidell, Regional Sales Director at Interface

 

Interface’s Sustaining Role in Arizona and the Global Business Ecosystem During COVID-19

For more than half a century, Interface has had the privilege of serving a wide variety of industries and helping our customers test, design, and manufacture products and infrastructure essential to everyday life. Our purpose at Interface defines our commitment to our customers. It simply says, “We enable innovation that improves people’s lives and keeps them safe.” 

Following our commitment to purpose and in adherence to the Arizona Governor’s Executive Order 2020-18, Interface is open for business as a classified essential business. We are working hard to remain your trusted leader in force measurement solutions during these challenging times. We are building products at our Arizona manufacturing headquarters, supporting our representatives and distributors, and shipping products to our customers every day. We are doing so with safety at the forefront in everything we do.

On March 23, 2020, Arizona’s Governor Doug Ducey issued an executive order outlining essential business services here in the state of Arizona. The list included businesses centered around certain imperative functions such as infrastructure operations, businesses critical to the national supply chain, transportation services and manufacturers. Interface force measurement technologies, tools, and systems touch just about every physical product or system that consumers and businesses use every day. Our products are used to support many of the business operations and products manufactured that are included in this essential services list.

Interface is committed to maintaining our business operations and ensuring our customers continue to receive the highest quality product and service without disruption. Our force measurement solutions are essential to the development of a countless amount of critical hardware across many key industries, from energy to healthcare. We are proud to be an enabler of the products and infrastructure that keeps our global economy running.

The essential market leaders and industries that Interface serves include aerospace, defense, automotive, construction and infrastructure, industrial automation, energy, medical and healthcare. Here is how we are helping some of these industries and why Interface is a key member in the supply chain that keeps these essential businesses operating, designing, engineering, testing, innovating and producing during these challenging times.

Medical:

Interface products play a crucial role in the most highly regulated industry in the world – medical. Our force measurement solutions are used to test devices and instrumentation which keep patients safe and healthy. Interface’s accurate mini load cells are designed to measure medium to small forces. Our torque transducers provide rotary and reactive measurement for movement tracking, blood weighing, robotic surgery, eye surgery, and prosthetic testing. For example, we developed a custom solution that is used to test a prosthetic limb for force and torque capacity. We even provide OEMs with sensor technologies to measure force in use of their medical products. Our load cells are featured in applications used for the heart, as well as implanted devices designed to perform well-beyond the lifespan of the patient. We’ve also engineered and created custom solutions for a wide variety of medtech devices, as well as for leading bio and pharmaceutical companies. All of these applications serve as critical and essential to our existence. We are honored to help our customers with their life sustaining critical applications.

Aerospace & Defense:

Interface load cells and torque transducers are used to test everything from rocket engines to wing strength, flexibility and structural integrity for aircraft. Our product’s industry-leading accuracy and reliability are important to the www.interfaceforce.com/solutions/aerospace because the longevity of our load cells are financially durable and our precision products ensure that measurements are precise. For example, one tiny inaccuracy in the measurement of an airplane wing’s force capacity can cause critical failures and have devastating effects. Innovation is core to this industry segment, from urban mobility to unmanned vehicles. Testing is fundamental in getting these products to market, while protecting all of us. These industries count on us and we continue to supply them with the products they need to keep us safe.

Infrastructure & Construction:

In construction, one of the key considerations in building a skyscraper, hospital or a home is the materials used to keep the structure sturdy in regular use or even a natural disaster. Material testing that uses Interface load cells is common. Our products are used in cycle testing on various metal and wood-based materials to ensure they hold up over time and through the elements. Our load cells can be used on cranes and other construction equipment to prevent overloading and weight testing. We also recently provided the materials for project using custom load pins to measure and monitor standard force from regular traffic and the seismic force of earthquakes.

Vehicle & Automotive:

The most important factor in automotive design and development is the safety of the driver. One of the ways that we serve the automotive industry is through products used in safety tests. One common application that uses Interface force measurement tools is brake pedal testing. Our load cells are used to measure, test, and optimize the force required to depress the brake pedal. Another application use case of Interface’s products helps in the need to increase productivity for automobile wheel installation, while ensuring that the lug nuts are installed to the proper torque values for safety purposes. These measurements need to be performed with the utmost care and accuracy, which is why many of the world’s most prominent automobile manufacturers turn to Interface for their force measurement solutions. These applications are used in testing of vehicles of all sorts and sizes, from large capacity trucks that move our food supply to farming equipment that harvests that supply. They even keep all our high-demand delivery drivers safer on the road. They count on us, as we count on them.

Industrial & Automation: 

Throughout factories across the world, producing everything from furniture to paper products, Interface load cells and torque transducers can be found on machines along the production line. Our products are featured in robotics, consumer packaging equipment, and even the machines that screw the cap on bottles, stamp logos and apply labeling. Force measurement tools are used to ensure the proper force is being used to complete these processes with minimal waste, while ensuring safe and secure packaging for the consumer. We see growing innovative ways to utilize load cells, multi-axis sensors and torque transducers to help accelerate production for vital products that are critical to our everyday life.

We are serving our purpose and mission to be part of supply chain for these industry applications, as a reliable supplier, expert manufacturer and dedicated community member. To learn more about Interface and the various industries and applications we serve, check out our application notes.

We are here to help! Stay safe and stay well.

Our COVID-19 response is here.

 

Interface Load Cells in Medical Applications

While quality and accuracy are always important when designing load cells, there is perhaps no industry where these factors matter more than in the healthcare and medical industries. At Interface, we take pride in creating precision force measurement solutions used in biomedical and pharmaceutical industries, as well as the manufacturing of medical devices.

We stop at nothing to provide customers with the most accurate force measurement solutions available to ensure patient safety, product reliability and accuracy in measurement.

Below are just a few examples of how Interface load cells are supporting safety in medical innovations.

Plasma Separation

Interface’s MBS low-capacity aluminum bending load cell is being used in plasma separation machines which must be calibrated for every patient in order to collect the right amount of plasma. The machine separates the blood in a centrifuge and a saline solution is pumped back into the patient. There are two load cells in each plasma separation machine, and they play a vital role in ensuring the accuracy of the process. This protects the patient’s health and well-being.

Stent Material Testing

Large testing rigs that contain approximately a dozen Interface load cells are used to test stents and heart valves that are surgically implanted into patients. The rigs subject the stents and heart valves to thousands of stress tests over months to determine their material properties. Stents stay in a patient’s body for the rest of their life, so accuracy and durability are extremely important. This application makes use of Interface’s MBP product line, which is overload protected. This product line is extremely reliable and has never had a reported fatigue failure.

Robotic Surgery

An emerging trend in medicine is the ability to perform surgery remotely using a robotic arm. Interface has been involved in the development of this technology and has created the modified custom load cells needed to enable the customer’s designs.

Designing for Medical Applications

Beyond just accuracy, there are several different considerations to make when designing and building load cells that can be used in medical applications. Factors such as traceability and the materials used are extremely important to our customers. All materials need to be certified and free of hazardous compounds. They also need to be able to withstand sterile environments where surfaces are constantly being sprayed with chemicals. There are several unique considerations and failure is not an option when it comes to devices that can directly impact patient safety.

Interface is extremely proud of our superior quality load cells and the fact that we are enabling medical innovations that are having a direct impact on improving, saving and changing lives. For more information about our high-quality, medical-grade load cells contact our Application Engineers. You can also learn more about our medical and healthcare use cases and products here: /solutions/medical-healthcare.

Contributor: Raymunn Machado-Prisbrey