Handling surgical needles

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 1 August 2000




Hollingum, J. (2000), "Handling surgical needles", Industrial Robot, Vol. 27 No. 4. https://doi.org/10.1108/ir.2000.04927dad.013



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Handling surgical needles

Handling surgical needles

Keywords: Handling, Automation

Applicant: Ethicon Inc. (US)Patent number: US6012216Publication date: 11 January 2000Title: Stand alone swage apparatus

A semi-automated machine for singulating individual surgical needles from a bulk supply and attaching a suture to the surgical needle is described. Each of the surgical needles has a suture receiving opening formed therein for receiving a suture. The machine includes a singulation station having a sliding surface that assists an operator in singulating needles and depositing them in a pair of drop locations for subsequent automatic handling. Indexing conveyors, an articulated robot and a precision conveyor are used with a precise positioning station for orienting each needle for automatic handling. A universal gripper mounted on a rotary indexing device automatically receives each individual needle in a predetermined orientation and conveys the needle for sequential processing from station to station to form the needle-suture assembly. A suture feeding and cutting station automatically cuts an indefinite length of suture material to a definite length suture strand and automatically inserts an end of the definite length suture strand into the suture receiving opening formed in the needle. A swage station is provided for swaging the needle to close the suture receiving opening about the suture to secure said suture thereto and form therefrom a needle and suture assembly. A suture pull-test station tests each needle suture bond, and selectively and destructively tests the bond for adjusting the swage dies and for statistical quality control. A final off-load station provides an apparatus for assembling a predetermined number of needle-suture assemblies in a bundle for subsequent packaging.

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