Key Tech will be at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) annual meeting again this year in Atlanta. Pick up one of our new build-a-brochures and send in a photo of your creation.
As part of the V&V test procedure, we designed a gravimetric means to characterize the volumetric and flow-rate accuracy of a couple of precision injection instruments. With this setup, we’re able to achieve measurement resolution of just 0.1 milligram and reduced the error due to water evaporation to 40 times better than using a mineral oil emulsion.
Prototypes are essential to testing system performance. However, due to the current technological constraints of creating microscale prototypes, compromises in the characteristics of the prototype usually must be made, which can lead to unforeseen, expensive problems on the production line. Fortunately, basic, fundamental models of significant aspects of the system (first-principles modeling) can be “calibrated” through the use of focused CFD models and empirical data. The result is improved models that allow the designer to bridge the knowledge gap between paper and production.
Recently, I published an article in MicroManufacturing Magazine about the challenges of designing microparts for manufacture. Not unlike any collaborative process, good communication is the key to a successful project.
A good designer must often think like a manufacturer. The question, “Can this be made?” is asked over and over again during the design process. Shortly thereafter, the question also becomes, “Can this be made cheaply?”
I was recently interviewed for an article regarding the state of rapid prototyping as it pertains to micro-scale manufacturing and product development. From what I’ve seen, the prototyping processes are just not down to the micro-scale, yet. Granted, the micromanufacturing industry is still pretty young, and it’s been growing so quickly in size and capabilities that I expect to see more rapid prototyping solutions soon.
Further advances in microfluidics technology development will educe the most profound breakthroughs in medical diagnostic and therapeutic devices — and ultimately improve patient care.