Lung and respiratory health have come to the forefront of people’s attention over the last few years, so partnering with medical device company Vitalograph to develop and manufacture an innovative new diagnostic solution is a source of pride for Flexitech.
World-leaders in the manufacture and supply of respiratory diagnostic solutions, Vitalograph produce high accurate devices which aid the detection, diagnosis, and monitoring of respiratory conditions. They have recently expanded their range to include advanced solutions for Pulmonary Function Testing (PFT)
The VitaloQUB, designed to enable whole body plethysmography and airways resistance measurements, is the latest component of their expanding VitaloPFT series. Used alongside their VitaloLAB and VitaloROV solutions, it facilitates the measurement of lung capacity, rates of flow, and gas exchange – highly specific information that can help diagnose and treat lung disorders.
Whilst several products are developed and manufactured by Vitalograph in-house, with such a large piece of equipment – essentially a sealed patient cabin – Flexitech’s extensive range of capabilities and experience in manufacturing enclosure solutions became an attractive option.
Eoin MacNamara, Senior Specialist Mechanical Engineer at Vitalograph explains:
“We were struggling to get a company that could do everything. There are a lot of different aspects involved – from sheet metal to assembly – and we needed a partner that does it all. We approached Flexitech and they seemed very interested.”
Eoin worked with Flexitech R&D team lead Michael Elmore and Design Manager Mindas Petrosius to develop a patient-centred design with a focus on comfort and ease of use. “There was a lot of collaboration, they were great to deal with”, says Eoin.
Features of VitaloQUB include an integrated bench seat capable of supporting up to 250kg, low step height for ease of access, and adjustable patient valve to accommodate various heights. Communication is enhanced with an incentive screen for the patient and a 2-way speaker system to make it a seamless and comfortable testing experience.
With each unit weighing 203kg fully fitted and a volume of 1000 litres, the manufacture and assembly process must be efficient.
“There’s a whole procedure behind it”, Eoin describes. “Flexitech build the main frame, outer control box and glass door. It arrives to us in its timber crate. We leave it on the crate and just take off the sides to take it through production and fit the electronic components and internal devices. We then put back on the sides of the crate and ship it out.”
A crucial requirement of the VitaloQUB is that the cabin must be air-tight for the functionality of certain measurements. “I trained Flexitech how to perform a leak test and now they can submit proof on all boxes before leaving the shop floor.”
“I’ve been working with Paddy Woods and the people on the floor with any technical issues that come up. When the devices start going out into the field we monitor customer feedback and use it to make technical refinements during the assembly process.”
In their mission to be the ‘go-to’ people for respiratory diagnostics Vitalograph are looking at global markets for the VitaloQUB including the Middle East, Australia, South Africa, Europe, and North America.
“With medical devices, because of regulations and testing, it can take a long time to get to market. The project began in September 2020 and with FDA approval six weeks ago it gave us the go-ahead to sell it to distributors in the United States, where we’ve recently had the first installation of a device in a children’s hospital.”
Flexitech Design Manager Mindas Petrosius said “With its extensive design capabilities, Flexitech is committed to delivering exceptional solutions that meet the unique needs of our clients. Our in-house team of experts ensures a seamless and comprehensive approach to every project, guaranteeing the highest level of quality and efficiency”.
Flexitech are specialists in complete enclosure solutions to critical power and energy-intensive industries. Providing a complete wrap-around service under one roof from concept to prototyping to production.
Vitalograph is a global leader in respiratory diagnostics. Producing highly accurate and reliable, accurate and reliable, respiratory medical devices & services for primary, secondary healthcare and occupational health.