The customer approached us with a basic conceptual design for a medical device. They required quick development of multiple new prototype devices for surgeon evaluation. This competitive project called for innovative device design in a complicated, cluttered IP field. Multiple research teams, within the customer’s company as well as outside firms, were tasked to find a novel approach to the surgical device.
Through communication with the customer’s engineering team, we rapidly designed multiple lab-scale prototype devices, some involving new materials development, in a two-month effort. We offered a new perspective on the company’s prototype concepts as well as quick results. Two of the final three designs elected for surgeon evaluation were our prototypes. In the second phase of this project, our team delivered more than 80 prototypes for testing.
Leveraging into New Markets
This same principle was used to design and deliver a prototype for military field repairs. The Navy presented us with several challenges in designing a repair containment system. The device needed to be effective, simple in design, low in cost, easy to manufacture and use, and deployable under any conditions. It needed to be an innovative, economical approach to composite repairs, offering a reliable, tight seal around the repair site that keeps contaminants out and debris generated from the repair in the contained area, protecting the repair site, the surrounding environment and equipment, and the technician.
Addressing the Need
We pulled together a team of researchers with extensive experience in structural composite repairs and by working closely with Navy technicians. By employing a hand port design from the previous work with medical devices and providing a clear exterior to the system, the new deployable isolation repair technology (DIRT) Bag™ offers technicians easy access to the repair site and an unobstructed view of the area. The DIRT Bag is collapsible, making it ideal for use in the field. This product has the added benefit of decreasing costs through reducing reworking and maximizing flight readiness since it eliminates the need for a hangar or clean room.
The bag adheres to unusual surfaces and allows on-site composite repair. We were able to leverage experience and investment from the medical device program to develop this military repair system.
Moving into Testing and Production
The success of the DIRT Bag has moved the technology from the research phase into testing and production. The DIRT Bag is now transitioning into a product for multiple commercial markets. The first round of production has been completed, and units are currently being tested by military and commercial aerospace customers. Patents are pending.