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IDC Models’ Award Winning Commitment to Innovative Technology

Fri, 11/30/2012 - 4:14pm
Melissa Barnes, Associate Editor, ECN, PD&D

At the top of its class in industrial design companies, IDC Models is the very definition of innovation and cutting edge technology. While serving a broad range of engineering and design related purposes, IDC Models boasts some highly developed facilities. Based in the U.K., IDC offers full-service product development with a solid reputation of using technological innovation to create profitable, successful products. With more than 40 years of experience, IDC’s history of innovation can be traced back to its first award-winning involvement in the creation of the world’s first digital scanner. More recently, the company has focused largely on the latest technologies of Stereolithography (SLA) and Computer Numerical Control (CNC) machining, a service that is rarely offered at other companies of its kind.

Tri-Cor England & Triumph Motorcycles
One of IDC’s current projects of interest is their partnership with Tri-Cor England in the production of vintage Triumph motorcycle parts. The Production and Prototyping division of IDC, together with Tri-Cor is dedicated to the mission of keeping these popular vintage motorcycles on the road. Their current project is producing a cover that hides the oil tank and toolbox under the dual seat for the Triumph Twin and Triple motorcycles. As the premier supplier of classic Triumph motorcycle parts, Tri-Cor has worked with IDC Models for a number of years to produce their parts. Early in the production stage, IDC Models identified the need to produce new patterns for the covers. They then used ABS sheet to vacuum form the covers, followed by the trimming and finishing stage using CNC machining.

Phillips Motorcycle Helmets
The vacuum formation method is also used in the production of Phillips motorcycle helmets. This was a landmark project for IDC, as it demonstrated a breakthrough in the current technology involved in head protection for motorcycle riders. Their challenge was to design a successful prototype for a helmet to protect the brain against linear impact similar to how the scalp protects the brain against rotational forces. Through the use of the vacuum formation process, the outer membrane of the helmet was engineered. A layer of lubricant was also added to provide a controlled slip over a carbon-Kevlar shell. This so-called laser applied “super-skin” lubricant is an important key to the efficacy of the design’s structure for avoiding head rotation in traumatic impacts. To view an in-depth video describing this design technology, please visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=GZIE2XoxaFE
The team was then able to simulate the kind of protection given to the head for high speed impacts on a road. The results of the preliminary testing showed a 60% improvement in protection against rotational forces, as well as a 20% increase in the protection against linear acceleration. These significant improvements in cranial protection would reduce the kind of brain injuries caused by the rapid rotational movements that tear nerve fibers and blood vessels throughout the brain.

Further IDC projects of interest are arranged as standard case studies as follows:

Venner Laryngoscope

Brief

IDC developed a groundbreaking laryngoscope for the Venner Group. The device, which is used during anesthesia to introduce an endotracheal tube, is the first of its kind to offer both standard, Mac3 and Mac4, as well as the Difficult Airway Blades (DAB). The DAB offers maneuverability, excellent viewing, and exact positioning of the endotracheal tube through the vocal chords. This special DAB design is an important tool for certain cases in which the anatomy would otherwise make intubation difficult.

Process

IDC was tasked to work alongside Venner clinicians throughout each of the design phases. As with most projects, they were involved from conception through production, including electronics, compliance and testing. IDC’s design team spent a considerable amount of time observing and researching the different types of laryngoscopes in use. Using this research as the basis for the new laryngoscope, they carried out extensive testing during development before selecting the final design. Venner was keen to have a laryngoscope with the latest technological advancements on board and IDC therefore integrated a leading edge miniature video camera and a high quality display in the design.

Result

  • Most intuitive laryngoscope in the market, convenient and easy to use for medical staff.
  • Winner of the Red Dot Design Award, 2011 
  • Winner of the Medical Design Excellence Award, 2011

Technologies Utilized

  • Optics processing
  • Micro cameras suitable for sterilization
  • Long battery life
  • Clear imaging

Wockhardt— Disposable Insulin Pen

Brief

IDC designed an insulin pen for a pharmaceutical giant in India. The device needed to be ground-breaking in design, but also lower in cost and higher in quality compared to other products in the market.

Process

IDC engineered a mechanism that uses 100% plastic components and is used in both their disposable and reusable pens. The pens are configured for high-volume local hand assembly, but can also be easily adapted to very high-volume automated assembly. The pens were designed to meet UL and FDA approvals, as well as ISO 11608 1, 2, and 3 certification.
Both pens allow for 1 to 60 units of insulin to be dialed up. Then, with forward pressure on a thumb pad, the drive mechanism is activated and the set dose is administered. The industrial design of the insulin pen is focused on giving a look and feel of a stylish object, which takes away the clinical drug delivery appearance, therefore making it more aesthetically pleasing to use.

Result

  • Winner of the World Star Packaging Award, 2008
  • Winner of the Asian Star Packaging Award, 2008
  • Winner of the Innovation & Design Excellence Award, 2008
  • Produced at a rate of 2.5 million per year
  • Low cost and high quality

Technologies Utilized

  • Rapid prototyping technology was used to produce high resolution SLA. This enabled them to test the dose accuracy of microliters to check the performance before going into production.
  • Patent analysis techniques
  • Competitor pen deconstruction 

Innovative Technologies
IDC Models’ reputation for implementing cutting edge technologies is present at the design level as well as in production. Through the use of X-ray tomography, rapid prototyping through SLA, and the newest Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) calculator, the company offers many advanced state-of-the-art options. Their use of X-ray tomography, such as the kind used in CT and CAT scanning, has been used in calibrating the tolerance levels of assemblies. For instance, the tolerance of a device they are working on for an international client must be loose enough from a manufacturing perspective, but tight enough to ensure the device is fully functional. This type of design is best achieved through the use of X-ray tomography for a loose tolerance, yet fully functioning product.

IDC Models also takes advantage of the efficiency of SLA for rapid prototyping. Through their solid investment in the newest SLA machine, they are able to print 3D prototypes for any design, while also being able to test the performance of a product before production. The machine has a resolution of 0.05 mm, making it one of the highest quality machines in the U.K. The SLA machine can also be controlled remotely, which allows a quick turnover rate for orders of short lead times.

Perhaps the most exciting new technology being implemented by IDC Models is its LCA Calculator, which recently won the silver in this year’s Green Apple Awards. As the demand for ‘greener’ products ever-increases, the need for greener technology in the design process is paramount in accomplishing the best end-product. IDC Models recognized the necessity of sustainable design decisions in producing a sustainable end product as well as ensuring a reduction in end costs. Thus, IDC created the LCA Calculator, a valuable design tool, which gives the user the ability to analyze the carbon footprint of the various materials and processes used in production. This highly developed piece of software evaluates the CO2 impacts in a product’s entire life cycle from conception to completion. The LCA Calculator accomplishes this feat through calculating each phase chronologically: from the extraction and processing of raw materials, to the manufacturing, packaging, and marketing processes; to the use, re-use and maintenance of the product, as well as its eventual recycling or disposal as waste.

For more information on IDC’s LCA Calculator, you may visit: www.lcacalculator.com.

The Future of IDC
IDC has also broadened its horizons to China by opening a new facility in 2010. The Shanghai Office has enabled them to not only offer greater support to the Chinese market, but it has also helped them in gaining insight into the important technological advancements being made in China.

IDC Models’ commitment to offering top notch technology and innovation is apparent through their many successful projects and consistent reputation in the industry. Being client-centered in their missions, “IDC is pushing forward with new strategies, new services, and offering new opportunities to their clients.” With such a successful history of introducing new technologies to the design and engineering process, it will be exciting to see the company’s future contributions in the industry.

For further information on this company and any of the technologies discussed in this article, please visit: www.idc.uk.com.

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