Trelleborg has been selected by Pro-Dex, a global medical technology company, to support the design of a new, cutting edge powered screwdriver that features sensors integrated with software to provide intelligence.
Trelleborg Sealing Solutions is providing shoulder-to-shoulder engineering seal design support to Pro-Dex for this intelligent powered screwdriver prototype that will be commercially available in 2015. The screwdriver can automatically sense when screws are properly seated against the bone and the plate. The unique software can determine the correct tightness intra-operatively, independent of the age of the patient, hardness of the bone, thickness of the bone and the size of the screw during neurosurgeries.
Pro-Dex chose Trelleborg for its ability to deliver on seal and bearing performance requirements, including reliability engineering, inspection services and quality control. In addition to managing seal performance in sterile and often hostile environments, such as operating rooms, Pro-Dex selected Trelleborg as its supplier because of its high level of reliability, including its ability to uphold ISO and FDA approval requirements.
Proven seal supplier
“After evaluating several suppliers, we choose Trelleborg Sealing Solutions because we knew that Trelleborg was a good and proven supplier of seals, especially for tough environments,” says Stuart Gallant, the Vice President of Product and Business Development for Pro-Dex. “Most of the projects that we are involved with today, which includes new and existing business, require quality and longevity of sealing solutions.”
Pro-Dex relied on the 50 years of expertise from Trelleborg as well as Trelleborg’s R&D experts to assist them in determining the best design to be integrated into its new screwdriver. Using a high-grade composition of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) based resin compounded with anti-wear additives, the Trelleborg Sealing Solutions specialized seal design delivers a very low co-efficient of friction.
Pro-Dex is also using a slant coil spring from Trelleborg that has a special property to maintain a relatively constant load. Mitigating seal wear or deviations in dimension due to thermal changes, Trelleborg ensures that the product has a long life and consistent heat generation.
“For the life sciences industry, we think that our customers need a supplier that goes above and beyond to ensure objectives and goals are being met; and a partner that actually invests in the success of their customer. Pro-Dex as a success story is a great example of how our collaborative approach can deliver key product differentiators and competitive advantages for our customers in their markets," says Luis Tissone, Director of Life Sciences at Trelleborg Sealing Solutions.
Range of benefits
In addition to extending the hours of operation and life of its instrument, Pro-Dex’s powered driver will reduce the amount of time it will take a surgeon to feed the screws into the plate, allowing for placing of 15 or even 20 screws to be achieved in minutes. This results in decreased operating room time and patient exposure to anesthesia, while also reducing surgeon hand fatigue. The seals and springs can withstand sterilization in an autoclave or specialized washer, ensuring the new Pro-Dex screwdriver will be fully autoclavable and re-useable.
“Our aim is to ensure we deliver superior devices to the original equipment manufacturers we service and meet the needs of both surgeons and staff. We are pleased to have Trelleborg backing us up,” concludes Gallant.
Pro-Dex Inc., with operations in California and Oregon in the U.S., is a contract medical device engineering and manufacturing Company with particular expertise in design, development and manufacture of technologically advanced powered rotary drive surgical and dental instruments used primarily in the orthopedic, spine, maxillofacial and dental markets.
With more than 40 years of experience in designing and manufacturing surgical power tools, Pro-Dex has come to understand the importance of providing reliable power and smooth performance for the most demanding applications.
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