This has been achieved through advanced digitalization of the design and development of endoscopic delivery devices for cancer-surgery markers.

In the field of cancer detection, the latest CT scanning technology makes it cheaper and easier to pick up signs of the disease on some organs, especially the lungs. However, pinpoint the exact location during surgery can be difficult.

Now, a non-linear structural analysis software has been developed to solve that problem.

The software, Marc, is a powerful, general-purpose non-linear finite element analysis solution that simulates behaviour under static, dynamic and multi-physics loading scenarios. In this case, its versatility is used in the accurate placement of markers at the vicinity of a detected cancer site.

How it works

First, a coiled wire known as a ‘retaining fin’ is attached to the marker. The marker is carried to the cancer site by the delivery device, with the retaining fin housed in a dedicated cylinder, and ejected at its destination. The fins are then deployed into their original coiled shape, attaching themselves to the organ, placing the marker there.

Since the deployment of the retaining fins is fast, the process is usually difficult to see with the naked eye, this may lead to difficulties in verifying the deployment and integrity of the placement.

Using Marc numerical analysis, the operator can visualize how the spring coils will be stored and deployed (even taking large deformations into account). This in turn helps verify the behavior of the mooring fin in different surroundings, thereby greatly improving medical outcomes and also the manufacturing design of the delivery device.

Said a senior researcher Hiroyuki Aiba, Asahi Intecc, the firm behind Marc’s development: “Advanced analysis makes it possible to confirm at the idea stage how the new structure will accurately perform, before the traditional steps of trial production and experimentation are taken.”

Leveraging manufacturing intelligence

Marc is an example of the concept of manufacturing intelligence in Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) software from Hexagon that Asahi Intecc uses to produce its range of ‘minimally invasive treatment’ products.

Such medical products keep surgical wounds as small as possible to minimize pain and complications. This contributes to the patients’ overall quality of life and leads to early discharge from hospital, reducing medical expenses.

The firm invested in manufacturing intelligence in 2020 to greatly improve its understanding of how endoscopic delivery devices will deform when subjected to forces within the body. This digitalization can enhance its design and manufacturing processes through better visualization capabilities, and speed up time-to-market.