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PBC Linear’s Simplicity plane bearings have been installed into an automated, needle-free injection gun for mass livestock vaccination.

Acushot, a veterinary design company, created the injection gun, which required a linear bearing system to absorb recoil.

Colpitt Designs, a third-party engineering company, recommended Simplicity plane bearings for the task.

Typically, handheld needle injections were used for vaccinating the animals in the stockyards and barnyards; however, with thousands of animals coming through production at once, successfully and safely supervising the injections was becoming increasing difficult.

Acushot’s new system eliminates needles, removing the possibility of an unsafe employee needle slip.

The battery-powered injection unit also enhances sanitary conditions and can be used hundreds of times without risk of cross contamination to the animals.

For a rapid prototype and possible added refinements to the design, Acushot turned to Colpitt, which worked to reduce components and assemble the triggering/injection system by using a varying-degree-of-strength gas cylinder to provide up to 600lb (272kg) of force.

The system also automatically saves each dose with a time stamp for accurate vaccination records.

The cylinders are designed to inject the vaccines to the same recommended depth as a typical needle that would have been used on a range of animals.

The injector can be set to inject from 0.2cc and deposit it just in the skin of the animal and up to 2.5cc can be injected to the recommended depth into the muscle of the animal.

Using a simplified approach, Colpitt was able to reduce moving components and make the design more cost effective, while still adhering to Acushot’s criteria.

The final product is a lightweight, compact and battery-powered needle-less injection unit that packs up to 28,000psi delivery pressures while concurrently documenting each injection.

One obstacle to overcome was finding a linear bearing assembly to support the force of the injection delivery.

Throughout a cycle, 650lb of force acts on the bearings, which would be under constant use in extreme temperatures and outdoor working conditions.

To solve this, Colpitt used Simplicity plane bearings to withstand the system parameters and environment of the application.

Simplicity bearings glide using a proprietary Teflon liner; this provides an even disbursement of forces throughout the bearing and smooth, reliable travel.

Bronze and linear ball bushings spall the shafting under the high forces and short stroke, which accumulate and contaminate the system, resulting in catastrophic failure.

Simplicity bearings self lubricate to ensure smooth and quiet operation for constant or intermittent use.

They also work in temperature extremes, from -400F to +400F.

No needle trauma recovery was necessary for the animals.

The new injection unit also reduces the diameter of the injection mark to about one eighth the size.

Claimed to be simple to use with no extra vaccine containers, the Acushot system is said to improve productivity, safety and health in stockyards and barnyards.

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