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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Springs In Artificial Limbs

The heart of spring manufacturing is being part of a team. A spring is one of many parts that come together to form a machine, a machine that serves a purpose and makes our lives better. By all of the mechanized parts uniting together, they accomplish something greater than the sum of their parts.

And nowhere is this principle clearer than in the rapidly evolving field of prosthetic limbs. With the advances made in microchip technology over the past few decades, it has become increasingly prevalent to see micro processing used in the joints of prosthetic limbs. A microchip receives data about the various stresses and pressures it’s receiving from whatever activity it’s participating in, and reacts accordingly to make sure the joint hinges and reacts as it should.

A perfect example of this is the microprocessor-controlled foot-ankle prosthetic device, the PowerFoot BiOM. It’s still in its design phases, but the BiOM is proposed to simulate the natural function of the foot by simulating the action of the ankle, Achilles tendon and calf muscles to move the individual forward when they step.

These devices utilize various sensors in the ankle and foot to detect foot position, direction, and force of movement. This data is analyzed by several microcomputers that translate it into instructions for a motor-activated spring device in the sole of the prosthesis. The loaded spring device is released as the sensor detects that the user is taking a step forward, forcing the ball of the foot downwards and propelling the foot forward. The spring mechanism reloads itself in-between steps. This device uses batteries to operate this system and requires daily recharging.

Consider the difficulty prosthetics have always had with simulating a joint as complicated as the ankle. With technology like this amputees will be able to walk again with greater ease. Wounded soldiers could Now also consider how with all the amazing technology being used in this device… the spring is the most crucial part. If the spring isn’t able to do its job, all of the data being transferred by the microprocessor is useless. It’s a simple job, but an important one.

And that’s how we view ourselves and our products. The custom springs we manufacture can help you to do anything you can imagine… and because of our dedication to quality, you know you will always be able to rely on it.

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