ATC Automation's Vision Produces the Solution

Nov 21, 2012

Fixtured Suture -- fixtured_suture_0.jpgA global sharps manufacturing company approached ATC Automation with a problem. Their existing cam-driven surgical needle manufacturing machine could not inspect their product consistently. Operators inspected needles with hand tools and microscopes but only examined one needle out of each three thousand unit lot as a representative sample. Needle hole depth could not be easily gauged, and concentricity standardization was left to the discretion of individual operators.

ATC Automation designed an inspection system for integration into the preexisting machine. Using a high-precision digital contact sensor, the machine checks the depth of suture holes within a few thousandths of an inch accuracy with a .010 inch diameter pin, pictured above, roughly two times the diameter of a human hair. A high-resolution, high-speed vision system with telocentric lenses also measures the hole diameter and concentricity within a few thousandths of an inch, which assures against breakage and suture dislodgement. The current machine retrofitted with ATC’s inspection system can now be maintained by a single operator. Rather than testing one needle per three thousand, every needle undergoes the same precise and accurate inspection, assuring quality and eliminating the possibility of bad parts in future shipments.

A year after install, the customer informs ATC that the machine continues to function as promised. ATC designed a solution to a specific and unique problem while exceeding customer expectations.


For more information on automation solutions, contact ATC Automation.

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