News | December 18, 2007

Microfabrica Introduces Set of Miniature 'Building Blocks' for Minimally-Invasive Medical Devices

December 19, 2007 - Microfabrica Inc. will introduce at Medical Design and Manufacturing West a set of highly-miniaturized “building blocks” that designers of minimally-invasive medical devices can use to develop innovative new products.

The small devices include water-powered turbines just over 1mm in diameter which spin at 120,000 revolutions per minute, millimeter-scale car jack-like expanders, ultra-flexible micro-chainmail metal fabric, micro-needles, miniature ratchets, hinges, slides, and springs, and multi-lumen metal shapes. Enabled by the company’s EFAB manufacturing technology, these building blocks and the devices based on them will be on display in Booth 466, Hall E, Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA, Jan. 29-31, 2008.

Microfabrica has made small components for nonmedical applications and has been leveraging that experience with select medical device companies in the last 12 months. Beginning with MD and M, Microfabrica will make its technology broadly available to medical device manufacturers. The company's building blocks are meant to demonstrate what is possible and give engineers a head start on leveraging EFAB in their designs.

EFAB technology differs from conventional manufacturing processes in several ways. By applying to mechanical device fabrication the techniques used to make computer chips, EFAB provides an accuracy and repeatability on the order of 0.001mm, as well as direct scalability from prototype to volume production. The technology also offers an unprecedented new capability: it can directly produce assemblies such as mechanisms with dozens of moving parts, without the need for assembly. Compared with machining, metal injection molding, and electrical discharge machining, then company says EFAB offers greater complexity, smaller features, and often greater accuracy and lower cost. Compared with laser or photochemical machining and stamping, EFAB offers greater accuracy, smaller features, and freedom from artifacts. Products for specialties such as interventional cardiology and neurointerventional radiology, endoscopy, head, neck and neurosurgery, drug delivery, gastroenterology, urology, cardiac rhythm management, cardiac and vascular surgery, ophthalmology, and cosmetic surgery are under discussion or in commercial development.

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