Process rig for production of innovative heart treatment devices

Working collaboratively with the University of St Andrews, the MTC designed a system to enable the production of groundbreaking prototype medical devices.

Key results

Scaling-up health tech

The MTC was able to scale-up the capability and capacity of the system to enable a step change in the development of prototype devices.

Unique tech progress

Unique process rig enhances flexibility in processing parameters (e.g. the range of temperature/gas pressure) to determine optimal processing conditions.

The University of St Andrews had developed novel materials allowing the release of an active agent from the surface of medical devices. The agent can prevent problems such as blood clotting and spasm, which frequently occur when deploying medical devices inside blood vessels. The preparation of the devices requires a multistep process involving the application of vacuum, temperature and different gases at certain pressures. However, the pre-existing experimental rig only allowed for processing of single samples with a maximum length of 10cm. The primary goal for this project was to design and manufacture a test rig to process longer samples – in larger batches – to enable future scale-up of production.

A unique challenge was presented in the requirement to deliver both vacuum and pressure capability within the same system, as well as ensuring the system was capable of handling potentially hazardous gases.

To address this challenge, the MTC captured the precise requirements for the rig (e.g. dimensions, materials) and its key process parameters (e.g. vacuum pressure, temperature) – before proposing concepts to deliver the process. It identified suppliers and worked with them to develop a custom process reactor system. Alongside this, the team designed and manufactured a number of additional elements such as a sample holder and control console. It also made the necessary modifications to the supplied process reactor to integrate with other systems, then conducted trials to ensure process integrity under operating conditions.

Prof Russell Morris, University of St Andrews, School of Chemistry said:

The MTC did an excellent job in designing and building a system that could cope with our requirements for vacuum and elevated pressure environments in our gas-based technology. The final result is an excellent step forward towards scaling up manufacture.


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Physicians assessing condition of patient well-being in the intensive care unit
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