Powering Innovation Together – Part 2

150 150 Emphysys Technology Solutions

Every day, Tecan’s technology development group, Emphysys, helps MedTech, medical and diagnostics customers overcome roadblocks and achieve solutions that enable their success in the markets they serve. In this blog series, we explore a recent innovation for a lifesaving medical technology. Read ‘part 2’ below.

Finding the way forward

David Sonnenshein, Sr. Electrical Engineer at Emphysys

Tecan’s technology development group, Emphysys, leveraged a unique approach to break through design roadblocks for a life-saving medical device.

Background

Rising to the challenge, the Emphysys team left no stone unturned – developing a thorough matrix referencing detailed information on circuits and circuit blocks known as an Optimizer Tool.

“We knew that an antenna was required to receive the power, however, there are a multitude of ways to do that – from the number of turns, to the magnetic materials used, to operating frequency and efficiency considerations,” explained David.

“In addition, the antenna needed to resonate to enable power transfer with a capacitor, the size and efficiency of which would ultimately dictate overall device efficiency and the amount of space required,” he added. “Typically the most efficient solution takes up the most space.”

The Optimizer Tool enabled Emphysys to take a step back and distill down a number of options for each circuit block in order to understand possible trade-offs in efficiency and footprint. With a  tiny amount of space available, being able to determine which circuit modifications could provide the greatest improvement in system performance was extremely powerful.

“Rather than designing individual and multiple circuits, simulating them and analyzing them for various applications, we had the power and flexibility to build a system best suited to the application.  This methodology can be effectively applied to many other similarly constrained systems,” explained David.

The Solution

With all possibilities and trade-offs understood, Emphysys was able to demonstrate to the customer that the original design would not work efficiently without adding storage and expanding the device’s footprint.  Applying their deep expertise in the physics of energy transfer, Emphysys was able to recommend a new path forward.

This involved the redesign of the power link to the circuits and control – including the transmission antenna, receiver antenna and power circuit – to transmit sufficient power continuously. Enabling a transfer path wherein power goes directly into the motor allowed it to operate continuously – mitigating the need for energy storage altogether and freeing up space for a larger, more efficient antenna. The team also applied several other physics-based enhancements to maximize antenna coupling.

The result was a safer, more competitive and effective product, with a redesigned power chain that has improved power transfer performance and reduced the proposed antenna volume, while eliminating the volume consumed by storage altogether.

Measuring Success

The Emphysys team takes pride in applying physics, science and engineering fundamentals in new ways for customers – driving breakthroughs for “stuck” designs by examining the big picture early on and helping  customers to find the best path forward based on their unique needs and priorities.

“As we’ve seen many times,  customers in this scenario can benefit greatly from a fresh perspective,” David added. “In this case we took a much broader viewpoint, helping the customer to see that their original design was not feasible in the required space. Instead, we suggested a completely different solution that enhanced their product and saved them from spending additional development time and dollars on an unattainable goal.”

David and his team measure the success of Emphysys’ engineering projects in many ways – from the creativity of the solutions they design, to customer satisfaction and repeat business.

“The greatest reward is knowing that we have improved a product’s effectiveness, working alongside  customers to drive enhanced patient outcomes and a better care provider experience,” he added. “Today, the redesigned medical device is enabling front line care providers to conduct treatment in two minutes instead of ten – a big win when it comes to helping pediatric surgeries go smoothly.”

Don’t let roadblocks slow you down. Download our infographic now and take the first step towards transforming challenges into opportunities for growth.