Q: What opportunities and/or challenges does the growing pressure to control the rising costs of healthcare present to medical device designers and manufacturers?
A customized ball spline is currently used in a robot that assists in orthopedic surgery, giving the surgeon greater precision than the human hand. The ball spline controls the vertical movement of the robotic arm as the robot mills the patient’s bone precisely as planned. This robotic arm also has a rotary function. The nut that rolls on the ball spline shaft is capable of both a linear and rotary motion. This allows it to adjust to the exact locations of the pre-surgical plan providing sub-millimeter accuracy every time.
There is a lot of torque acting on the robotic arm, and since a ball spline’s forte is the transfer of torque, it is the perfect bearing for this application. In addition, there was cabling that the engineers needed to run the length of the robotic arm. So, they solved this problem by using a hollow shaft ball spline through which they could run the wires.
This economical solution used a customized SPR 25A-1-458.5/CU/LB. 25 mm in diameter, 458.5mm length. LB represents low temperature black chrome treatment, which prevents rusting. CU stands for the hollow shaft and machined ends.