Intech Power-Core Thermoplastics Engineering Blog

Quiet Gears Improve Patient Comfort and Imaging Quality in Medical Equipment

Posted by Alexander Bartosch on Jul 15, 2021 8:49:10 AM

If you have a medical exam or procedure that involves X-rays, mammography units or robotic surgery equipment, the last thing you want to hear is grinding gear noise. Noisy or vibrating motion systems are off-putting for patients and can compromise their comfort during an already stressful medical test. Not only that, motion chatter in the drives that move imaging equipment can also produce fuzzy images that aren’t suitable for diagnostic purposes.

Medical machines and imaging equipment require motion system components that are smooth and quiet. Whether you’re a medical equipment designer looking for the right part or a patient about to undergo a diagnostic test, with Intech Power-Core™ gears and cam followers at work, you don’t have to worry.

Our Gears Reduce Noise and Absorb Shock and Vibration in Critical Applications

Our Power-Core™ gears, which combine our proprietary polymer gear material with a metal core, have a unique balance of properties that make them well-suited to medical equipment applications. In addition to absorbing shock and vibration, compared to metals these gears reduce noise by up to 6 decibels, making them an ideal — not to mention less stressful — choice for point of care (POC) equipment. They are also suitable for X-ray equipment, mammography machines and other imaging systems due to their ability to eliminate motion chatter, which can compromise image quality in diagnostic tests. And, because our Power-Core™ gears are available with a stainless steel, non-magnetic core, they’re a safe option for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machines.

IntechPowerGears1Our Power-Core™ gears, which combine our proprietary polymer gear material with a metal core, are well-suited for medical equipment.

In one application, our engineers designed and delivered a gear that improved the image quality in a dental X-ray machine. In addition to providing precise control over the gear’s mesh engagement and backlash, our gear eliminated vibration, maintaining high image quality over time. Because they successfully eliminated fuzzy imaging due to motion chatter, our gears enabled the dentists to better diagnose and serve their patients. In another application, to provide patients with quiet, vibration-free comfort when moving in and out of MRI equipment, our iCam® followers were selected as wheels for moving patients’ platforms.

More Reasons Why You Should Choose Intech Gears

Their ability to absorb shock and vibration and reduce noise aren’t the only reasons our gears are an excellent fit for medical machinery. Unlike metal gears, our Power-Core™ gears don’t require lubrication, avoiding potential contamination caused by stray lubricants or metal particulates. Furthermore, the material has a low coefficient of friction, translating into higher torque transmission efficiency and allowing designers to select smaller drive motors. The gears also resist corrosion and commonly used sterilization chemicals, and they meet outgassing specifications for laboratory equipment applications that involve vacuum operation.

IntechPowerGears2Unlike metal gears, our Power-Core™ gears don’t require lubrication. The material also has a low coefficient of friction, translating into higher torque transmission efficiency.

In many instances — for example, in robotic surgery equipment — inertia is a factor when designing the gear train. Our Power-Core™ gears are seven times lighter than steel, significantly reducing inertia. And, if you’re worried about the polymer gears working, we’ll put your mind at ease. At Intech, we’ve developed a gear life calculation for our Power-Core™ gears. Over the last three decades, this calculation has proven itself to be a reliable predictive tool. Medical equipment manufacturers typically require five years of gear life. Using our gear life calculation, we can design gears that deliver on this demand. 

Even beyond the medical industry, our gears’ ability to absorb shock and eliminate motion chatter makes these components an ideal choice for any application that must retain superior imaging quality — from satellites to television equipment. And, we can produce our gears in a variety of types including bevel gears, helical gears, worm gears and more. 

IntechPowerGears3At Intech, we can produce our gears in a variety of types including bevel gears, helical gears, worm gears and more.

To learn more about how to design non-metallic gears for demanding applications that require quiet, vibration-free movement, are maintenance free and are supported by a solid gear life calculation, visit our product page. You can also contact our engineering department for a free consultation today.

 

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