The Livengood Platform is a rolling medical device platform used in hospitals to organize a patient’s multiple IV bags, pumps, oxygen, and electronic monitors. It is also a stable platform enabling ambulatory patients to move about while tethered to the devices they rely upon for medical care.
When Livengood Engineering set about to develop the platform, its aim was to create a single cart that would consolidate all the devices attached to a patient, eliminating the need to attach devices to the bed, wall, or separate IV pole. Additionally, it would function as an ambulatory-assist device to improve patient independence and mobility.
The Fort Collins, CO-based entrepreneurial company realized it needed a design program that offered engineers flexibility for its often unpredictable and frequent design modifications. For that reason, among others, it chose PTC’s CoCreate explicit modeling software.
Flexibility & Speed
“If we couldn’t make last minute changes, we couldn’t exist,” says Livengood Engineering CEO Joe Livengood, M.D. “Our new product is first to market, but that market is comprised of many different hospitals and facilities, each having a specific set of requirements. Our ability to quickly modify detailed portions of the design using CoCreate is essential to meeting our customers’ needs.”
According to Livengood, the CoCreate explicit modeling approach makes it possible for designers to incorporate new and changing patient and hospital requirements in designs rapidly. That speed enables the company to take advantage of short windows of opportunity to produce new designs for prospective customers and investors.
The program also enables engineers to progress through design iterations quickly while transforming a design and enables them to meet specific safety and ergonomic requirements.
Easy to Learn
CoCreate has allowed Livengood engineers to make unlimited changes to models on the fly.
“Because CoCreate Modeling uses an explicit approach, I can leave a design for another task, come back later, and without review immediately jump into creating or changing a design,” says Barry Phillips, R&D director for Livengood Engineering. In a stop-and-go development environment complicated by continuous change, designers don’t have time to look backward and revisit a complex history tree or feature manager to make development progress. CoCreate instead is forward facing, working directly off of geometry to accelerate changes to features and models.
“CoCreate fits our development environment, allowing us to be three times faster than if we used an alternative approach,” says Phillips. “If an engineer has an hour in his day available to design, we need the full hour for design—not 45 minutes of setup and review with only 15 minutes of design.”
Phillips typically spends 10 minutes showing new users the basics of using CoCreate Modeling, and a few hours showing more powerful operations. Users are productive from day one, and fully ramped up within only a week or two. “Our industrial designer was tasked to design an ergonomic handle for our mobile platform. He had never used a 3D CAD package before. Following a two-hour introduction he produced 180 different handles of varying ergonomic shapes over the next two weeks,” says Phillips.
The intuitive nature of CoCreate adds to its value when there’s a team of engineers all with ideas to contribute.
According to Phillips, the other team members use CoCreate Modeling to create conceptual models for their ideas before other team members bring engineering and manufacturing expertise to the ideas and bring them to final design. “It is a fantastic way to get contributions from the entire company and ultimately saves the engineering staff a considerable amount of time when they don't have to ask leading questions on someone’s design intent,” he says.
Another aspect to collaboration involves customers and other company departments. CoCreate’s rendering package has meant that designers can create realistic 3D images that are frequently used in marketing materials and by customers who can clearly picture how the platform would fit into their hospital rooms and ERs. Livengood also has very specific safety and ergonomic restrictions that it needs to adhere to. “We are designing to support all patient care environments including static and mobile emergency departments, intensive care units, day to day surge capacity, and even rapid disaster-mass casualty incidents. We maintain all this in the same space as a typical IV pole but add so much more capability and safety,” says Phillips. “CoCreate allows us to put patients first while efficiently benefiting doctors and nurses.”
The platform has recently passed both U.S. and Canadian standards for safety applicable to medical electrical equipment that is patient-connected or within the patient vicinity. This standard is far more stringent than similar consumer standards to protect patients who are in compromised health. According to Livengood, no other device like it exists in today’s healthcare market.
“When we first started the company, we wrote checks out of our own pocket. The difference between a few thousand dollars and tens of thousands of dollars was the difference between us being able to use 3D CAD or not,” says Livengood. “The funds for a startup are extremely limited before the concept has been proven. But you also need to design the concept in order to move forward.”
He says CoCreate’s easy, out-of-the-box installation enabled the company’s engineers to transition directly from working with 2 x 4 wooden mock-ups of the product to 3D computer models on the same day it installed the software. Additionally, CoCreate allows every team member to make immediate and unhampered changes to the Livengood Platform design, allowing for contract designers to add their expertise without being delayed by working through the design history.
For a company with a vision to introduce an entirely new concept to market, unpredictable change is the only thing that can be predicted. To meet that type of challenge, Livengood’s choice of CoCreate Modeling seems to have fit the bill.
Livengood Engineering, Inc.
Geoff Hedges is the marketing director at CoCreate for PTC. Send comments to DE-Editors@deskeng.com.