Manufacturers OEM

DEMCON BV

Institutenweg 25 , 7521 PH Enschede
Netherlands

Telephone +31 88 1152000
info@demcon.nl

This company is main exhibitor of

Trade fair hall

  • Hall 10 / H19
 Interactive Plan

Hall map

MEDICA 2016 hall map (Hall 10): stand H19

Fairground map

MEDICA 2016 fairground map: Hall 10

Our range of products

Product categories

  • 01  Electromedical equipment / Medical Technology
  • 01.08  Surgery and Endoscopy
  • 01.08.02  Surgical instruments and products

Our products

Product category: Surgical instruments and products

Advanced Endoscopy

Large projects are running with university researchers, companies and medics. DEMCON is a strong player in partnerships. In 2009 the TeleFLEX project was launched with the aim of developing a ‘surgical telemanipulation system’. DEMCON acted as the leader of the project consortium and, in addition to the project management, was responsible for the technical realisation. Researchers from the University of Twente (UT) provided the scientific output and surgeons provided for good support for the clinical vision and market potential.

Keyhole surgery, through a minimally invasive or natural opening in the body, is less demanding on patients, leading to faster recovery, less risk of infection and less, or even no, scarring. This is possible with a flexible endoscope equipped with optics for internal examination of the patient. Working channels in the endoscope can be fitted with instruments such as a forceps for performing operations.

The TeleFLEX concept includes a master-slave system for telemanipulation, in which the endoscope and any instruments are operated remotely from a ‘cockpit’. Together with partners, DEMCON developed an electromechanical interface for smart control of the endoscope, on the basis of robotic principles. The operation is intuitive and user-friendly, and is suitable for flexible instruments.

Thanks to the innovative interface, the surgeon in the cockpit can operate the endoscope with one hand and has the other hand free for performing the operation. This is in contrast to the conventional operation of a flexible endoscope, which requires the surgeon to use both hands. Assistants are then sometimes needed for any intervention.

The TeleFLEX project was completed in 2013 with the delivery of an integrated robotic system consisting of three modules, for the insertion and control of the endoscope and the operation of instruments. The system has as many as 16 degrees of freedom; despite the necessary 16 engines, DEMCON was able to realise a compact system with a friendly appearance that can be implemented in hospitals easily. Work on the modules developed continues under the name of Advanced Endoscopy. DEMCON now has its hands full with various projects for different medical devices.

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Product category: Surgical instruments and products

CT compatible needle positioning system

The usual therapy for combatting liver cancer is to remove the liver tumour surgically. Inevitably this intervention also removes a lot of healthy liver tissue because of the complexity of the procedure. An alternative method is to ablate (or burn away) the tumour with radio frequency or microwave radiation. In this local therapy, the surgeon inserts a needle through the skin and into the tumour manually, using the images in a CT scanner. The advantages of this procedure are that a major operation is unnecessary, and very little healthy liver tissue is damaged. A disadvantage is that it is difficult for the surgeon to position the needle correctly in the tumour in one attempt. It generally needs several repetitions: insert the needle, produce a CT scan, reorientate and reintroduce the needle etc., until the right position has been achieved. This makes the procedure time-consuming and onerous for the patient.

Dozens of solutions to this problem have already been implemented worldwide, from simple tools through to a robot which introduces the needle entirely automatically. In practice however most doctors still do it manually, because these systems are awkward to use and/or they don’t do their job well. In a European research project with partners like Philips and Nucletron, DEMCON spotted an opportunity for an approach which positions the needle correctly at the first attempt, and which fits well in the doctor’s workflow. In developing this patient and doctor-friendly solution, DEMCON worked closely alongside specialists from the University Medical Center Groningen and the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam.

The starting point was to retain the current workflow as closely as possible, and only to automate the step which is critical for the speed and result (‘first time right’) of the procedure. The critical step is determining the angle at which the needle enters the body. DEMCON developed a system comprising a head with a needle-guidance mechanism which can be positioned around the patient manually, and an arm which secures the head in relation to the operating table with one press of a button. Once the system has been positioned around the patient, it accompanies the patient into the CT scanner. The position of the patient’s tumour in relation to the head is established in this way, and the system automatically steers the needle-guidance mechanism to assign it the required direction. The needle is then clamped into the guidance mechanism and is inserted into the body by the doctor himself.

The design threw up a range of challenges for DEMCON’s developers. The system architecture, for one, based on the current medical workflow, had to produce as few barriers as possible to being used by the doctor, both literally and figuratively. A second challenge was the design factor. The system of arm + head had to fit in the (tight) space between the patient and the CT scanner’s ring. However the biggest hurdle was CT compatibility. The bulk of the system would enter the scanner’s X-ray field, but should not disrupt the imaging. That meant the usual materials like steel, copper and titanium could not be used.

DEMCON worked with several suppliers including Ceratec (ceramics) and Futura Composites to develop alternatives. A variety of materials were used in the components, such as composites (for rigid construction parts and flexible elements), ceramics (for highly-stressed precision parts and ball bearings), Dyneema fibres (for rotating cable drives), carbon nanotubes (for power wires and switches) and plastic optic fibres (to read out encoder positions remotely).

These solutions imparted high rigidity to the construction, reducing any transmission play to a minimum. The result is a system which can guide the needle correctly and precisely, with a margin of error of less than 2 mm at a depth of 25 cm. This means the patient suffers only minimal tissue damage, the medical team can complete the procedure more quickly (and thus more economically), and the doctor remains ‘in control’.

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Product category: Surgical instruments and products

Needle positioning system – MIRIAM

When prostate cancer is suspected, biopsies of the questionable tissue are taken. This has to be done using MRI imaging, in the limited area available between the patient’s legs. In the current, manual procedure, the doctor inserts the biopsy needle rectally; the patient is given preventive antibiotics because of the risk of infection. On average some four attempts are needed before the needle reaches exactly the right position. The alternative is a robot which can introduce the needle through the external skin. This makes the procedure faster, more accurate, more sterile and more patient-friendly.

This automation is the objective of MIRIAM (Minimally Invasive Robotics In An MR environment), a project by the University of Twente (UT) and several partners, including the Radboudumc and DEMCON. DEMCON’s task was to develop a robot system for placing the needle accurately. In consultation with the UT researchers and Radboudumc specialists, DEMCON drew up the programme of requirements in terms of functionality, available space and the required degrees of freedom.

For the system concept a so-called Stewart platform (familiar in movement simulators) was chosen, which hangs suspended from an upper plate by five activated arms. The movements of these five arms are controlled by a system of ball and socket and line joints, threaded spindles and piezoelectric motors. An extensive mechanical tolerance analysis established the foundation for a very meticulous construction.

The doctor indicates the point of interest, and the operating system recognises the robot and the patient’s position. The system positions the robot in the correct orientation, and the robot then introduces the needle gradually into the prostate, autonomously. Taking the biopsies occurs in accordance with a clever concept in which pneumatics builds up the mechanical tension needed to perform an effective cutting movement. The biopsy needle has an angled tip which enables active control: rotating the needle points it in a different direction.

A significant design challenge was the MRI environment. The various robot components could not be allowed to influence the quality of the MRI images, and thus the magnetic field. This required the use of high-end MRI-compatible materials. Wherever there were any doubts, DEMCON could test on a manikin in the Radboudumc. The arms of the Stewart platform are manufactured in carbon, and synthetic screws (by PEEK) turned out to hold the construction together reliably. Ceramic was used in bearings and on the treads of the piezoelectric motors for sufficient accuracy and rigidity.

Other design requirements involved ergonomics, sterility and appearance. The construction was chosen in such a way that patients of different sizes could adopt a comfortable position, and that there would always be sufficient space to introduce the needle. The design also took account of cleaning the system and easily being able to sterilise the parts which come in contact with the patient. The industrial design produced a high-quality appearance. Thus both the doctor and the patient can be assured of the quality of MIRIAM.

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Product category: Surgical instruments and products

HME Booster

DEMCON heeft alle competenties in huis om onverwachte uitdagingen bij medische productontwikkeling op te pakken. Zo’n product is de HME-booster (Heat and Moisture Exchanger) voor de beademingsapparatuur met toebehoren die Medisize ontwikkelt en produceert. DEMCON kreeg opdracht tot herontwerp van een bestaand product om de performance verder te verbeteren. Na het succesvolle redesign verzorgt DEMCON nu de serieproductie.

Uitdagingen

Bevochtiging en verwarming van de lucht voor beademing moet voorkomen dat een patiënt uitdroogt. Voor het geven van een impuls aan de verwarming, is de bevochtigingsunit (een membraanfilter dat in de toevoerslang wordt aangebracht) voorzien van een extra verwarmingselement, de HME-booster. In feite is het een verwarmingselement met een kleine elektronische schakeling voor aansturing en beveiliging. Door verwarming verdampt water en met de waterdamp wordt vocht en warmte aan de beademingslucht toegevoegd. Het contact van de HME-booster met de waterdamp die de patiënt opneemt, stelt hoge eisen aan de biocompatibiliteit. DEMCON verdiepte zich in de materiaalkeuze en selecteerde geschikte materialen met de juiste certificaten en de bijpassende productiemiddelen.

Een ander compatibiliteitsprobleem betrof de ‘installed base’ aan beademingsfilters. De nieuwe HME-booster moet compatibel zijn met alle filters in het veld, die een behoorlijke productiespreiding vertonen in de maatvoering voor de booster-filter-verbinding.

DEMCON verzorgde het complete ontwerp en ondersteunde Medisize bij de certificering. De elektronica voor het compacte device kreeg de vorm van een flexprint en werd uiteraard op EMC-compatibiliteit getest. Dankzij de goed ontworpen behuizing vormen warmte en vocht geen issues bij de elektronica. Voor de eenvoudige besturing van de verwarming werd het oorspronkelijke ontwerp aangehouden. Wel besteedde DEMCON veel aandacht aan de beveiliging, om oververhitting te voorkomen. Op basis van een eigen risico-analyse werd een aantal nieuwe oplossingen voor een veilige aansturing doorgevoerd.

Tot slot regelde DEMCON voor de kunststofonderdelen de productie, in nauwe afstemming met de matrijzenleverancier en de spuitgieter. Het assembleren, testen en schoon verpakken vindt bij DEMCON plaats. Daarbij is de traceability van elk individueel product gegarandeerd.

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Product category: Surgical instruments and products

HandScan

Development and clinical testing of a concept for a medical device is a good start. DEMCON is also deployed for the other half of the work – realising a product that is ready for the market and organising serial production. Hemics in Eindhoven did this for a non-invasive imaging system that can visualise inflammation activity in rheumatoid arthritis. The use of the system can help to improve quality of life for patients and to reduce treatment costs. Hemics approached DEMCON for the step to practical application.

Benefits of the HandScan

The HandScan measures blood flow in joints in the hands and wrists through diffuse optical transmission in combination with blood flow modulation. Optical technology makes the system safe for the patient and cheap and fast to use: a session lasts only 2.5 minutes. A cuff temporarily cuts off the blood flow in the patient’s lower arm, leading to blood accumulation. The hand is lit from below, and with the transmitted light a camera records a series of grey scale images of the back of the hand, which are translated into special measurement values. By measuring two wavelengths, red and infra-red, subtle differences in blood flow in the joints can be accurately determined. These differences provide information on the degree of inflammation.

Hemics markets the HandScan as a compact, user-friendly and affordable appliance. It is itself responsible for the data algorithm that translates the measurement data from the scanner into clinical information for the rheumatologist. DEMCON provides for the systems engineering, electronics, mechanics, optics and the embedded software. In addition to the lighting module, an intuitive user interface and the industrial design require special attention, with a view to acceptance of the appliance in day-to-day rheumatology practice.

De lichtgewichte, compacte, gebruiksvriendelijke en betaalbare HandScan voor monitoring van ontstekingsactiviteit bij reumatoïde artritis.

The first option for the lighting was a matrix of high-power LEDs, but preference was given to the alternative scanning laser concept of DEMCON, based on rotating mirrors, due to its greater suitability for production and greater flexibility in the design of the functionality. For an acceptable signal/noise ratio, the light intensity below the hand must be stable. Reflections and ‘leakage’ of light between the fingers must be ruled out. For this reason, the moving laser beam is continually switched on and off, on the basis of a virtual mask generated from pre-recorded images of the hand and wrist. The main technical design challenge lay in the interaction of the camera and the control/synchronisation of the two lasers.

DEMCON realised a prototype, together with partners for the optical and the industrial design. A line for serial production was then set up. The first HandScans from the pre-production run were used for clinical trials. The market was already enthusiastic and now, partly thanks to the deployment of DEMCON, the system is ready to prove itself in day-to-day practice.

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About us

Company details

DEMCON is a high-end technology supplier of products and systems, with as focus areas high-tech systems, industrial systems and medical devices.

DEMCON is a fast-growing business that supports clients with a wide range of competencies. As a system supplier, DEMCON can meet the entire needs of its clients, from proof of principle, prototype and pre-production to serial production. In more than 20 years, the business has grown to become the DEMCON Group (with more than 200 employees in 2015).

The head office is situated in Enschede, with subsidiary locations in Eindhoven, Amsterdam, Oldenzaal and Münster (Germany). DEMCON has clients worldwide, from the Netherlands and Germany to Asia and the US.

Multi-disciplinary

Mechatronics is the multi-disciplinary specialism of DEMCON, which means that mechatronic systems engineering is the key discipline, the ‘mechatronic conscience’ within DEMCON. There are also strong disciplinary departments that combine the knowledge and competencies in their fields. Together, they are responsible for conceiving and developing innovative concepts and creative solutions for the design challenges of the clients.

DEMCON can provide for complete production, from prototyping and production engineering to setting up the supply chain and in-house assembly. DEMCON has the specialised knowledge for this, as well as the international supply network and the advanced facilities, including carefully developed assembly lines and an extensive clean room.

The ambition of DEMCON is to realise further growth by addressing new and challenging projects, surveying new international markets and further expanding its production expertise and capacity.

DEMCON has developed from a business with roots in Twente to a Dutch business with international operations. For junior and senior talent with various educational backgrounds, experience and interests, DEMCON offers an intellectually challenging and socially inspiring working environment.

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