Futura Medical uses a dispensing and curing system from Fusion UV Systems and an assembly system from Sortimat to assemble syringes.

One could say that Futura Medical Corp.’s (Solana Beach, CA) main focus is furthering “sharps safety” to users of syringes, lancets and scalpels.

One of the company’s newest safety solutions is the Futura Safety Syringe, which incorporates a retracting needle. When the plunger is fully depressed, the needle is automatically retracted into the syringe, where it remains.

Initially, Futura approached Sortimat Technology (Schaumburg, IL) with some basic machine requirements, such as production rates and part components. Futura also knew that to get the required production rates, it needed to use ultraviolet (UV) curing for its bonding method.

Sortimat first built a low-volume system. Futura used this system for a year to test the assembly process, and to introduce the product into the marketplace.

In late 2002, Sortimat finished a fully automated assembly line to produce the safety syringes. This assembly line incorporates Fusion UV System’s (Gaithersburg, MD) F300SQ UV curing system with a D bulb to cure the adhesive. The adhesive bonds the stainless needle to the plastic cannula.

The overall system has several modules. Each module creates subassemblies that are fed into a final assembly module. When it reaches this point, each completely assembled syringe is packaged.

The assembly line can produce 120 syringes per minute. A feeder loads four plastic cannulas onto a holder, and a feeder loads a stainless needle into each hub.

An automatic adhesive dispenser places adhesive onto each part. The part then travels under the UV curing lamp. Throughout five station indexes, or a total of 10 seconds, the parts are exposed to UV light.

The machine has many quality and inspection systems built in to ensure each part meets the required quality standards for medical products. The machine uses a mechanical cam drive system. In the needle and cannula assembly module, if a laser detects the absence of a needle, the system is programmed to track that product through the rest of the system. No adhesive gets dispensed onto that specific location in the next station. And no parts are fed to or assembled onto this part.

Occasionally, the needle and cannula assembly machine may stop due to a problem in another station. The system has a touch screen operator interface so the operator can immediately see where the problem is. When this happens, the F300SQ lamp goes to standby mode, maintaining low power to permit lamp restart at any time. This ensures that the plastic parts beneath don’t melt, while the operator fixes the problem and restarts the machine.

“We knew we needed the speed, precision and consistency of Fusion UV’s microwave-powered UV curing systems. We’ve been using the Sortimat automated assembly unit to make the Safety Syringe and have been very pleased with the results,” says David Olmstead, vice president of regulatory affairs at Futura.

For more information on automated assembly, call 847-925-1234 or visit www.sortimat.com.

For more information on dispensing and curing, call 301-527-2660 or visit www.fusionuv.com.