Faster medical NPD thanks to Proto Labs
Ovesco Endoscopy AG is a very successful spin-off from the University of Tübingen in Germany. Led by Prof. Dr. Marc O. Schurr and specialising in endoscope technology and clipping systems for the treatment of gastrointestinal disease, their most recent development is a revolutionary device using parts supplied by Proto Labs Ltd.
The intestine is the largest organ in the human body and fulfils vital functions in the breakdown and utilisation of food. It's said that as many as 30 tons of solids and more than 50,000 litres of fluid pass through a human gut in a lifetime and if for some reason the gut doesn't function properly, it can have unpleasant, even life-threatening consequences.
A particularly serious occurrence is a breach, or an imminent breach of the intestinal wall. In the event, the physician relies on the commonly used wound closure method: sutures or tacks. But now Ovesco has created an alternative solution where a clip can be inserted through an endoscope. When the clip is closed, the tissue around the lesion is sealed and a comprehensive and reliable closure is maintained.
Ovesco's technique has also caught the attention of Proctologists. "Treating rectal fistulas is very difficult," says Mr. Anhöck, "and can often cause either injury to the sphincter or obstruction of the intestinal mucosa. We developed and tested the OTSC® system for this new application and we had a great response. With immediate demand, it was necessary to quickly deliver our first products."
Traditionally, developing and making a new product with plastic parts incurred high costs for tooling, only justified if none of the parts changed and produced in large quantities. Gunnar Anhöck describes the solution: "Initially, we used Proto Labs' Firstcut® service. But, once we'd finalised design of the parts we wanted them in greater numbers. So, we tested the free quotation service that Protomold ® offers. We loaded up 3D SolidWorks models and within one day received detailed cost quotations and manufacturability analysis.
We placed an order and were amazed by the speed of the service. With Protomold, parts can be delivered very quickly indeed. Proto Labs in fact supplied them in just 15 working days. "By comparison, our standard tool supplier could take up to 12 to 15 weeks," says Mr. Anhöck, "at huge cost. We looked at other prototype manufacturers, but they required too much time and were at least twice as expensive."
Mr. Anhöck also recalls working with the Proto Labs engineers to optimise Ovesco's 3D models was a very positive experience: "As a result, we got perfect parts without the typical defects such as bubbles, flow lines, streaks or sink marks. Proto Labs has even been able to support us by supplying the specific medical material we requested." As Head of Development, Mr. Anhöck is enthusiastic about the possibility of further cooperation. "For us, the performance of Proto Labs was an integral part of the successful development and introduction of our new product."
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