Portable X-ray Device
Medical. Portable X-ray machine.
Previous Limiting Technology
One of the components of the portable x-ray machine’s frame have open areas that were not conducive to typical bladder molding processes. The tooling needed to produce the bladder was also cost prohibitive and had excessive lead times. These conditions made this process a suboptimal choice to use with programs on short schedules with limited budgets for upfront tooling.
Our customer was developing a new medical product on a short schedule. Their design required carbon fiber so the parts would be lightweight, very stiff and x-ray transparent. The geometry of the part precluded fabricating the part using a traditional inflatable bladder which would typically be optimal for a part with complex geometries and high-quality surface finish requirements.
Using a special material that was developed for composites, we produced a self-pressurizing, expanding tool that is removed from the parts by dissolving it in water after the part is cured. The process allowed for a faster development cycle while keeping within the customer’s cost constraints.
This foldable device required stable positioning between the x-ray generator and the detector panel for clear imaging, which takes advantage of carbon fiber’s stiffness properties. We recommended a design change to use stainless steel inserts co-cured in the part to reduce possible wear to the carbon fiber that would result in excessive play in the pivot. This was incorporated into the end-product.
We met the customer’s requirements to help them achieve their product line goals. The final x-ray device is portable, easy to maneuver, weighs only 16 pounds and collapsible so it can fit in a carry-on luggage size case.