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Helle Kinning

5 Innovative Breakthroughs in Medical Technology

Author: Helle Kinning, Marketing and distribution support specialist


20th Jul 2018


As our lifespans get longer and our lifestyles get faster, the healthcare industry is constantly developing new technology, not only to keep up with us, but also to improve the quality of healthcare and keep us well for longer. From lowering scan times and increasing mammogram image quality to storage utilisation, industry experts have been working to make healthcare services even better.

Mammography Scans

Siemens Healthineers has a range of mammogram scanners that are focused on producing higher clarity images and improving diagnostics. The multitude of benefits across all models in the range demonstrates the versatility of Siemens Healthineers, including one-click positioning, which prompts the machine to move through a set of pre-determined positions and conduct the scan in a reduced time with greater patient comfort.

There are some features specific to each design. For example, the Mammomat Inspiration can reduce the radiation doses required to conduct a scan due to its PRIME Technology, which also eliminates scattered radiation and produces optimized images. The Mammomat Revelation can produce synthetic visualisations of tomosynthesis volumes in both 2D and 3D, with its unique Insight 3D supporting easier analysis of microcalcification. Mobile screening units greatly benefit from the Mammomat Fusion’s robust new-generation CsI detector as well as its ability to conduct magnification, spot imaging and biopsies all in the same system.

3D Knee Imaging

GoKnee3D is another innovative product from Siemens Healthineers. The scanner produces high-resolution 3D isotropic images of the knee for examination, creating an accurate model of the internal structure of the joint in 10 minutes. Since knees are the third most popular body part to be scanned by MRI, Siemens is hoping the GoKnee3D will enable better use of knee scans by reducing scanning times.

Due to its reduced scanning time, GoKnee3D may potentially double throughput and reduce the cost per scan, helping to reduce bills for the hospital and for patients while maximising the MRI scanner’s productivity. The precision of these 3D-rendered MRI images supports surgical planning, as it allows doctors and surgeons to explore any internal abnormalities or derangements of the knee.

Proton Therapy for Cancer Patients

With surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, immunotherapy and hormone therapy just some of the available forms of cancer treatment, it may seem like there are enough treatment methods to cover all situations. But, in some circumstances, these options could cause further health risks to patients or have a limited effect. In these instances, such as eye and brain cancers, liver, lung, breast, prostate and paediatric cancers, proton therapy can be used.

Proton therapy is considered the most advanced form of radiation therapy to date, using a high-energy proton beam to accurately irradiate tumours. IBA, the world leaders of innovative proton therapy technology, power more than half of the proton therapy centres around the world. Proton therapy reduces adverse effects to the healthy tissues surrounding the tumour, as the proton beam does not travel past the tumour and into deeper tissue. A proton beam is delivered via a gantry, which can revolve 360˚ around the patient to deliver accurate treatment from any angle. IBA treatment rooms are all installed with the latest patient positioning equipment in order to meet this need for precise accuracy.

Automated Medical Warehousing

We recently worked with Finnish medical automation company NewIcon Oy to successfully create the eMED ICON Smart Medicine Cabinet, an automated pharmaceutical dispensary unit. You can read our case study on the project here.

NewIcon’s eMED ICON is the perfect solution for medical dispensary in hospitals and patient treatment centres, but what about the warehousing of medical and surgical stock? Swisslog’s AutoStore is an automated high-density, space-saving storage and picking system that utilises any available warehouse space. A number of robots operate along the top of an aluminium framework in which the boxes of stock are stored, and are able to select the required items efficiently, delivering them to the correct port for packaging. The system keeps highly-requested items at the top of the framework to maintain fast retrieval times while keeping track of stock location and volume, delivering a 90% improvement rate in picking errors over non-automated distribution centres.

Portable X-ray Machines

It’s not always possible to get a patient down to an X-ray theatre. Sometimes they aren’t capable of staying still long enough, they may have an existing condition which affects the ability to scan them in this way, or the experience may be too stressful, especially in children or the elderly. Mobile X-ray machines allow professionals to conduct the necessary scans at the bedside of the patient in order to keep them as comfortable as possible without losing value or performance quality.

Carestream has developed several mobile X-ray machines, the newest of which is the DRX-Revolution Nano Mobile X-ray System. The Revolution Nano utilizes Carbon Nano Tube (CNT) Technology, making it possible for it to be even smaller and nimbler than the DRX-Revolution and thus improving its manoeuvrability through small patient rooms, crowded hallways or tight spaces in the ICU or NICU. Chest, ICU, orthopaedic and paediatric scans benefit best from the Revolution Nano, freeing up the theatre to be used for more complex scans that require larger equipment.

Accuride has successfully worked alongside the medical industry for many years, providing corrosion-resistant stainless steel slides for a variety of applications. Stainless steel, for example, provides better  protection from harmful bacteria, making it ideal for the sterile environment required in laboratories, clean rooms, wash down areas, chemical storage and staff locker rooms. Our slides are installed in dental practices, mortuaries, blood storage cabinets, blood analysis machines, secure medical storage cabinets, drug dispenser units etc. The smooth and easy movement of our runners ensures that doctors, nurses and staff can get back to the most important part of their jobs as soon as possible.

If you would like to find out how Accuride can help add functionality to your medical and laboratory applications, contact us via e-mail, telephone or chat and our expert team will be eager to discuss your requirements. 

Helle Kinning

Drone Technology and Applications

Author: Helle Kinning, Marketing and distribution support specialist


9th Jul 2018


Drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), have been on the rise in the last few years across commercial, personal and governmental sectors. They come in a wide variety of sizes, but the most common ones the public will be used to seeing are VTOLs, or ‘Vertical Take-Off and Landing’ drones. These are the ones you might see whizzing around above a park or other public spaces, with cameras attached underneath for photography or film-recording. But drones do much more than that.

Applications

While the drone industry appears to have only really taken off in the last two decades, its roots date back to the early 1900s when the US and France worked on developing automatic, unmanned airplanes. Since then, drones have become incredibly advanced robotic creations used in a wide range of industries and markets, from military defence to agricultural maintenance, and research to recreational photography and film making. The current market, including military UAV uses, is now estimated to be worth €17.51billion ($20.71billion).

Military

One of the largest use for drones is in defence, where they are predominantly used for surveillance and research purposes. 86 countries have reportedly utilized military robots for experiments due to the reduction of losses that can be achieved through using drones, as well as their ability to execute high profile and time-sensitive missions. Other military drones, such as the US’s UUVRON 1, are used for detecting and investigating suspected naval mines and other objects of interest in the ocean or on the ocean floor.

According to a recent report by Goldman Sachs, military spending on drones has been estimated to reach $70billion by 2020. These drones will play a vital role in the replacement of human pilots on dangerous missions and will aid the resolution of future conflicts.

Commercial

After the military, commercial drones are the second largest market for this technology. While the commercial drone industry is still young, it is steadily gaining momentum, with the potential for sophisticated drones to do everyday tasks like fertilising crop fields on an automated basis to monitoring traffic and surveying hard-to-reach places. According to a report by DroneDeploy, there has been a whopping 239% increase year-over-year in the construction industry, with the mining industry following with a 198% increase.

The use of drones has also risen in the delivery industry, with the Chinese company ele.me – owned by Alibaba – delivering food over a 22 square-mile industrial park in Shanghai to the people living and working there. The service isn’t door to door yet, but drone-point to drone-point instead, where delivery drivers can drop off and collect food. They are cutting delivery times, which in turn is helping reduce the carbon emissions from drivers, and ensuring food is still warm upon delivery. After more developments in the industry, drones could even be delivering your pizza straight to your door.

Gaming

The gaming industry has been using drones for the 3D mapping of areas such as racing tracks around the world. This allows them to create a more immersive, realistic environment that mimics the famous tracks that players want to race on, from Formula One to MotoGP.

Personal

With the rise in popularity of personal film making and ‘vlogging’ (video blogging), drones are also being employed for more personal uses. Not only are they being used for personal and amateur film-making, but drones are also being employed for personal photography, such as aerial shots and landscape photographs. A reported 2.4 million personal drones were sold in the U.S. alone in 2016, more than double the 1.1 million sold the previous year.

Law Enforcement

In recent years, drones have started to be used in law enforcement to aid in sensitive missions such as assisting missing persons searches, gathering images from traffic collisions and crime scenes, and taking part in woodland and coastal searches to combat wildlife crime. They’ve even helped to cut overall crime by 10% in Ensenada, Mexico. The use of thermal imaging and zoom cameras on models, such as DJI’s Inspire drone, make them the perfect law enforcement companions for urgent, time-sensitive missions. In France, meanwhile, drones have been used by traffic cops to catch speeding drivers.

Emergency Services

Further proving their use in emergency situations, drones have been responsible for saving several lives in natural disasters and emergencies. For example, drones recently helped rescue teams to save a resident on the island of Hawaii from an oncoming lava flow following the recent volcanic eruption. In Australia, a drone that was being used in a testing simulator turned into a real-life rescue when it saved two swimmers caught in 10-foot swells off the coast of New South Wales.  

Research

Drones have also been responsible for many discoveries over the years, from ‘new’ Nazca lines in the Peruvian desert to the wreck of the HMS Titanic. In fact, underwater drones have many applications in research and surveillance. They have been deployed to monitor ocean activity from plankton mating patterns to the migration of whale pods and have been used to reach some of the most remote areas of the ocean, including beneath Antarctica’s ice shelves.

The Future

The future is full of potential for the drone industry, with competition likely to increase to produce the best new tech, despite the predicted plateau drones will hit in terms of innovation. We’ve seen it happen with PCs, smartphones and MP3 players, and many predict the same will happen with commercial drones. More interest may indeed lie in perfecting the software rather than the physical drone, with speed, capabilities and price-to-feature ratios coming under fire from consumer demand.

With drones being developed to assist us in more areas of life, what would you want them to be able to do?

To find out more about our products or to discuss your project requirements, please chat online, e-mail or call us.

Helle Kinning

Pyrolytic Ovens: A Care at Home Solution?

Author: Helle Kinning, Marketing and distribution support specialist


21st Jun 2018


Self-cleaning pyrolytic ovens have been increasing in popularity over the last few years, with more brands and companies offering the technology every year. Not only do they eliminate the need for oven-specific cleaners and detergents, their integration into the mainstream has allowed suppliers and manufacturers to lower their costs, making them more accessible.

Though these ovens have been marketed extensively, it would seem the focus has landed on busy professionals and parents in order to free up their valuable time by letting the oven clean itself. There are other markets, however, that may benefit greatly from this technology: the elderly and the disabled.

In a previous post, ‘Care Home or Care at Home?, we discussed how smart technology integrated with telescopic slides may be the solution to allowing more independence at home to those who may otherwise require a carer or additional assistance. The technology industry often seems to forget the elderly in their marketing, but they may be missing out on some valuable customers for pyrolytic ovens.

Surveys have found that 51% of consumers found cleaning grease and burnt-on stains from their ovens a more than tedious task, so it is understandably harder for those who have lost mobility due to age or disability. Especially when cleaning an oven can require being bent over low down for potentially long periods of time, which is not easy on joints like the knees, hips and shoulders.

Pyrolytic ovens could be an excellent addition to homes where independence may be trickier to maintain, as the cleaning is done for you. The oven automatically locks its door, ensuring the oven can’t be opened, and turns the heat all the way up to 500˚C to get rid of those hard-to-remove stains, eliminating the need to scrub away for hours. All that is required by humans is to wipe out the ash created when the grease is burnt away. The removal of oven-specific cleaners also reduces the risks of alkaline chemical burns, which can progress from superficial to full thickness burns within a matter of hours if treated inadequately.

As it is now possible to have ovens installed at different heights, it will be even easier to make the kitchen more accessible. The risk of injury will also be reduced, as there will be no need to bend down and lift hot and potentially heavy trays. Instead, trays can be immediately transferred between the oven and the work surfaces with ease.

When pyrolytic ovens were first put on the market, one issue that was highlighted was that the oven shelves had to be removed before the cleaning programme began as the lubricants and greases in the slides were not suitable for such high temperatures. Always eager to help create solutions, Accuride set to developing telescopic slides that could stand the heat.

Our telescopic oven runners were created to be the perfect partner for pyrolytic ovens due to their solid graphite inserts. These inserts provide a constantly-replenished film of lubrication that is unaffected by the extreme temperatures, adding to the simplicity and ease of using pyrolytic cleaning. They are also dishwasher-safe, making them even easier to maintain and ensuring longevity.

Photograph courtesy of Miele

Like all Accuride slides, our telescopic oven slides are able to move heavy loads with ease. This allows end users to slide heavy food trays out of the oven without the danger of tipping over, and means that food can be withdrawn to a more accessible position rather than having to reach inside the oven and risk the burning of arms or hands. For wheelchair users, this can eliminate the risk of over-reaching and imbalance. The need to bend down and then lift is also removed, which can become difficult for elderly relatives.

While the risk of minor burns cannot be completely eliminated yet, Accuride’s telescopic runners mean that pyrolytic ovens are now more accessible than ever. They only require minimal human interaction when it comes to cleaning, which allows the user more time to get on with their daily life. The fact that these slides can endure high temperatures means that they do not have to be removed before the cleaning programme begins, allowing the programme to be used without concern. This removes the danger of injuries associated with the by-hand oven-cleaning process, such as joint and back damage, as well as chemical burns from cleaning products.

As homes adapt to the future and technology caters more to accessibility, what else do you think would help to provide independence at home?

To find out more about our products or to discuss your project requirements, please chat online, e-mail or call us.

Helle Kinning

With our Live Chat, You’re Always a Click Away From Accuride

Author: Helle Kinning, Marketing and distribution support specialist


14th May 2018


Excellent communication is one of the most important factors in all big businesses and none more so than at Accuride. As a global company in a modern age, communication between our hubs around the world as well as with our customers has never been so important to the success of our products, from ball bearing slides to linear motion guides. It’s no wonder then that 44% of online consumers say that having questions answered by a live person is one of the most important features a website can offer.

Our live chat is perfect for any quick questions that you have on the go, as it works just as well on mobile as it does on desktop. You can even log in through your Facebook or Google+ account to make it even quicker and easier.

In order to offer our customers the best service we can provide, we have added a live chat feature to our website. This handy and quick feature means that visitors to the website can get in contact with a member of the team wherever they are. This way we can deal with any enquiries or questions within minutes and with a personal response. Even we are surprised to see how far live chat has come in recent years, 42% of customers prefer live chat compared to just 23% for email, and 16% for social media or forums.

As one of the largest suppliers of linear motion slides and drawer runners in the world for more than 50 years, we wouldn’t have got to where we are today without our dedication to first-class customer support. Our team are always on hand to help out with everything from large volume orders or completely bespoke motion slide projects.

By adding the live chat feature, we are aiming for Accuride to be as accessible as possible for our customers. Many of our clients contact us by phone or by email, but we understand that for some smaller queries it can be easier to message us instantly through the website.

We are always trying to think of small changes that can make a big difference. It is this kind of innovative thinking that means that Accuride slides can be found in everything from luxury cars to bespoke warehouse picking systems. Our innovative approach has lead us to think more about how linear motion slides can entwine with technology and we are always developing our capabilities with smart solutions such as Access Control.

The live chat feature is just another step to increase our communication abilities and, like integrating Scrum into part of our manufacturing and development processes, it reinforces our dedication to offer our customers the best experience possible.

Through the use of Scrum, we have improved not only communication between our staff and teams but also with our customers. It is now easier than ever for our customers to have their input into the design and development stages of their ball bearing slides and drawers. Not only does this mean that they end up with a better product but it also means that we are more effective and can produce prototypes more efficiently. This can save our customers time and money on every single bespoke project as well as some from our current ranges. You can find out more about how and why we use Scrum on our blog post here.

We are always embracing new methods and new technology in order to improve our end products and customer service. Our live chat is just another feature that allows us to connect better with our customers. What better way to find out how well our Live chat works than going to our homepage and testing it out. We’re happy to answer all of your questions and we’re confident that you’ll love it as 92% customers feel satisfied when they use the live chat feature.

In a world where communication is becoming more instant all the time, what will be the next way we can communicate and will artificial intelligence have a greater impact on it?

Philipp Krebs

How Accuride Europe Uses Scrum for New Product Innovation

Author: Philipp Krebs, Project Business Development Manager


20th Feb 2018


Creating the telescopic slides and systems of tomorrow can be difficult to accomplish. At Accuride we aren’t just making sure that our slides are the highest quality available on the market, we want to make sure that our slides are changing the way people interact with the world for generations.

In order to make this happen, we take our research and development very seriously and our expert teams of engineers and designers have the latest tools at their disposal. But it’s not just our fantastic people at Accuride that allow us to come up with the inventive solutions to our customers’ headaches.

We love efficiency at Accuride; our working and engineering frameworks are designed to get the best out of our teams every time. In order to make our teams even more efficient, our project development in Germany has begun to implement Scrum as part of their working processes.

Scrum has its roots set in Japan during the ‘80s in the big car manufacturers as they came up with more efficient ways to manage projects and ensure that projects were being completed swiftly and more innovatively.

Scrum was first coined in the early ‘90s and the first Scrum paper was published in 1995. Scrum is now described as a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.

Scrum itself is a simple framework for effective team collaboration on complex products. While it was originally designed as a framework for software development, Scrum is equally as useful for engineering projects where an end product is being produced.

One of the major benefits of Scrum is the daily scrum. These allow us quickly to get members of the team together to discuss progress and outline any areas for improvement. This also gives better visibility of progress for the project and we can show our customers prototypes and designs at an earlier stage and allow them to give feedback and input into the ongoing project.

Accuride's Scrum team at work

This means that our customers can have an input into the projects before they are complete so that they are guaranteed to get more out of the end product. Not only does Scrum mean that our customers get better products, the quick processes also means that we are able to cut down timescales.

Thanks to Scrum, Accuride Europe can now design and engineer more innovative linear motion slides and drawer runners for our customers in even quicker timescales. But it’s not just our new telescopic slides that benefits from Scrum.

We are also using Scrum and our customers’ feedback to influence the development process of our existing products. We like to take a fresh look at our existing product line and look for ways where we can improve our world-leading products.

This way we are ensuring that our sliding solutions are always made to the highest quality and are constantly being updated with the latest technology and techniques.

Since Scrum has been integrated into Accuride Europe our engineers and designers have loved working in a much more efficient way and has allowed us to already implement Scrum into some of our automotive and oven projects.

Progress with Scrum is already extremely exciting and we are seeing results that our customers are very happy with. We are currently evaluating expanding Scrum to other areas of Accuride and hope to bring those benefits to our customers.

As Scrum allows our customers to have more influence in our development processes, how would you like to adapt one of our slides to fit your latest project?

What.How.When.

Planning to buy, install or use a drawer slide?
Our 'What.How.When' guide to ball bearing slides is everything you need.

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