Parts supplied by pneumatics company SMC are helping medical researchers at Durham University’s Centre for Biomedical Engineering to develop implants to restore the use of fingers riddled with arthritis.
Researchers working at Durham under Professor Tony Unsworth have developed an artificial finger joint that is expected to have a useful working life of around 30 years.
Lifetime tests are carried out on a pneumatic rig that relies on fast repetitive action from components such as SMC’s CJ cylinders and S series valves. These are guaranteed for over 50 million cycles.
The rig, developed at Durham, is faster, quieter and more compact than the electromechanical rig formerly used.
The artificial finger joint is based on a cross-linked polyethylene material, which has good biocompatibility and provides the necessary sliding action to imitate a real joint.
The implant fits over worn bone in place of damaged cartilage.