Bioptigen Envisu Image System

Bioptigen, a technology leader in ophthalmology from Morrisville, North Carolina partnered with Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC to create the Envisu, a state-of-the-art OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography). The Envisu is a system that produces detailed images of the internal structure of the eye for both clinical and research applications. 

Designers at Bioptigen needed to advance their product and they selected Porticos’s engineers for the design. Porticos optimized Envisu by utilizing the proprietary “engine,” while also mitigating annual production costs. 

Ultimately, Bioptigen considered a reduction in size & weight, with improved thermal performance and shock resistance. The designers also added the ability to disconnect specific components, which made the unit easier to build and service.

Porticos’ engineers partnered with multiple Bioptigen teams to identify the device’s most essential features, as well as areas that needed to be improved. Following multiple iterations of industrial design concepts and mockups, Porticos designed a new system that met all of the objectives.

This led to the creation of the probe interface module, which allowed interchanging the scanner probe in the base unit.  This module required adding a new connection point in the main optical fiber. The connection was executed with minimal signal loss and included a clever dust cover for the optical connection.

Separate optical and electronic modules were created, which were independently removable from the chassis for servicing.  This configuration assisted with assembly while a hinged electronics enclosure aided with debugging, allowing service personnel to access the interior while operating the unit.

A component layout was established to maximize thermal performance, and this was eventually coupled with the positive pressure fan cooling system. Hot swap hard disk drives were implanted, with custom shock mounts, rounding out the internals Bioptigen was looking for.

A unique optical fiber routing tray that accommodated an array of fiber lengths was fitted with size and weight distribution that, along with handholds in key locations, enabled disassembly of the unit to assist with portability during transport.

Porticos implemented lightweight and strong structural chassis, low-cost thermoformed covers, and removable spool to improve transportability, as well as adapted OEM medical cart to complete the system.

Overall, Porticos worked to improve product aesthetics and ergonomics, along with manufacturing methods compatible with a limited annual production volume and a simplified design. The engineers provided expertise with Design for Manufacturing (DFM), Design for Assembly (DFA), and Design for Service (DFS).

Porticos Delivers Needle-Free Vaccines

BD Technologies and Innovation, who create next-generation technologies in Durham, NC, developed a needle-free vaccine delivery system as part of a grant supported by the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative. To be viable in small villages within developing countries—which, more times than not, is where the greatest need lies—the system cannot require the use of refrigeration or electricity of any sort and it must be simple to administer by minimally-trained personnel.

Also, the system must be effective on children, ages 1-4—who are not capable of cooperation—or adults, and must be effectively kept safe from spreading disease, which can be done easily by not allowing re-use. Finally, the system must be relatively compact for shipping, it cannot require any special means of disposal, and, most importantly of all, it must have a cost-per-unit dose equal to, or, less than, existing injection methods. This posed as a grand challenge for hardware engineers.

BD Technologies turned to Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC, for innovative product engineering to help its team develop the delivery system that could be tested in Phase I clinical trials. Porticos’ hardware engineering team provided new thinking and insight to discover simple solutions that were easy to prototype for laboratory testing, ultimately helping BD extend its intellectual property based on the Solovent platform.

The process Porticos took to get to this point was keeping in mind the core needs of BD while emphasizing the need for fast, flawless production, accuracy in the findings of the testing process, and continuing to elevate the need for simplicity.

The approach Porticos ultimately pursued was aerosolizing a dose of powdered vaccine for inhalation, using a simple device constructed of basic yet effective materials. BD utilized its Solovent unit’s dry dose powder inhaler (DPI) platform to aerosolize the powder, and needed a means of containing the cloud of vaccine, while simultaneously providing an interface for effective delivery to patients.

Because of the efficiency of Porticos’ engineers and the concept design behind the entire process, BD Technologies was able to effectively execute their desire for a needle-free vaccine delivery system, and it is cost-effective, not dependent on electricity, and able to be administered by even the most inexperienced personnel.

Porticos Helps Create Mail Insertion System

Porticos, a product design and product development engineering consulting firm in Morrisville, NC, partnered with technology and service innovators, Bell & Howell on the creation of The Ascender 16. The Ascender 16 is a mail insertion system that can insert a variety of shades of sizes as it pertains to mail and packages. Porticos’ hardware engineers collaborated on the development of the 4920 Format Turn Module for the Ascender 16 system itself.

This module makes the changeover process more efficient and accurate. The system’s changeover from a letter mail job to a flat mail job used to require time and a knowledgeable system operator, but this module reduces changeover need, and the amount of time needed to ensure the safe and reliable insertion of mail.

Module Hardware Design Specifications

The 4920 Format Turn Module contains a feed-through mode—or a “no turn” mode—which feeds unfolded and folded material with dimensions from 3″ to 12″ in length, and up to 0.25″ in width, or thickness. The module itself fits inside the Ascender system in the place of a previously used module, but adds no increase in size while also providing all the functions of the old module in addition to the format change capability that the module brings forward.

Porticos’ hardware engineers produced a software to accompany the module that is reconfigurable to either feed material straight through, or rotate flat stock material 90 degrees. The module is able to handle up to 1/4″ of materials that are 8.5 x 11 or A4, and turns 10,000 cycles per hour.

Concept Design Highlights

Porticos’ hardware design engineers originally faced some surface speed variations between belts and rollers, which posed as a challenge to consistent feeding. However, carefully tuning pulley sizes during prototype testing resulted in smooth operation.

Attention to all inertias and motor capabilities were important in the design concept. To accomplish the turn, the system is required to decelerate each packet from a transport speed of 150 inches per second, to a full stop. From there, it rotates 90 degrees then accelerates back to 150 inches per second. All of this occurs in about 1/4 of a second. Porticos was able to forsee the frictional characteristics and the durability of the rollers that accomplish the format changes were critical for proper operation. This then gave Porticos the foresight to carefully select materials, specialized coatings, and roller configuration. Overall, this led to a design that could precisely accomplish rotating the material 90 degrees while enduring long-term testing.

Porticos worked with Bell & Howell to develop the original, state-of-the-art Solix™ Mail Tray Loader, which handles up to 30,000 envelopes per hour. The revolutionary Ascender 16 system now has a module that enhances one of its more difficult processes, thanks to teamwork, innovation, and experience within Porticos’ hardware engineering team and concept design expertise.