A new invention by Cambridge UK technology hothouse TTP is creating a stir in the BioMedTech field and promises to generate major sales across several other sectors.TTP says its revolutionary new miniature gas pump replaces traditional mechanical operation with ultrasonic pressure generation technology to deliver greatly reduced size and silent running.
The patented micro Disc Pump has already been commercialised in a wound therapy application and TTP says it is ideally suited to other portable medical applications such as blood pressure measurement, as well as micro-fluidic and industrial applications where size, noise and controllability are important design factors.
The technology promises a genuine revolution as existing processes are based on mechanical principles that date back more than 100 years.
TTP says that Disc Pump’s ultra-slim design is achieved by using a piezoelectric actuator to drive pressure oscillations in a thin disc shaped cavity: one current model measures just 4mm in thickness.
Silent operation is achieved by running the pump at frequencies above the limit of hearing, using special custom, high-speed valves to rectify the pressure oscillations.
The combination of pressure generation technology and high frequency operation make it possible to deliver pneumatic performance significantly higher than traditional pumps of comparable size, the company claims.
TTP says that the wide dynamic range of the technology has already achieved stall pressures in excess of 600 mbar and flow rates of more than 2,500 cc/min. It adds that the high-frequency piezoelectric mechanism provides virtually ripple-free output compared to the pulsed output that characterises most conventional pumps.
James McCrone head of the group at TTP responsible for micro-devices, said: “We see a growing trend towards miniaturisation, portability and discrete operation in markets such as medical devices, diagnostics and electronics driving demand for small, silent, high-performance pumps.
“Responding to this need with an entirely new technology is very exciting as the market is currently dominated by pumps based on mechanical principles dating back over 100 years.”
TTP has already developed a range of designs tailoring performance to specific applications.
“We are working with development partners and licensees to take the technology into both existing and new markets. The benefits of Disc Pump – backed up by our strong portfolio of patents – help our partners to build a solid market position,” says McCrone.