World market leader for needleless injections. Simon Raidt, Group Leader of Research and Development at Henke-Sass, Wolf, has set himself this ambitious goal for his latest project. The EPIG, a needleless vaccination device for piglets. Such veterinary vaccination systems have been on the market for two decades, including from Henke-Sass, Wolf since 2012. With the EPIG, the developers now want to go one step further. The active ingredient is to be administered to the piglet intramuscularly instead of interdermally. This means that conventional and already authorised vaccines can be used. The drug is injected directly into the muscle under high pressure and without the use of a cannula. For piglets vaccinated with EPIG, this means a gentle injection that can be carried out effectively and with minimal risk.

For Simon Raidt, head of the project, and Thomas Schaz, project purchaser at Henke-Sass, Wolf, this means one thing above all: time pressure and high expectations of the project’s success. The EPIG should stand out from the competition. To this end, battery operation is planned, which is unique in the industry to date. Nevertheless, the end product should be lightweight and thus ensure quick and easy handling, without cumbersome hoses and cables.

Raidt and Schaz turn to HENNgineered: “They offer several processes and so the project could be procured as a complete package.” This advantage should also pay off in the new project. From the final design, through the first prototypes, to the delivery of the veterinary medical technology assembly from the beginning of 2021 with four-digit quantities in series production.

Design manager Michael Stockburger from HENNgineered begins the process with the complete injection moulding design for the EPIG’s housing. Stockburger and his team not only determine the injection points and wall thicknesses for the 2-component injection moulding. They also develop the specified design structure until it is ready for production. In addition to advising on and finding materials, they also ensure that the materials used are certified. The housing should also protect the technology inside from dirt and moisture. Stockburger also finds a solution for this that makes the process simpler and easier to maintain.

In addition to the outer housing, the HENNgineered designers also continue to develop the battery housing. Without visible separation, with unlocking and in consultation with Henke-Sass, Wolf and the battery manufacturer. All in all, it takes four months from development and tool production to the first plastic injection moulded parts. “That’s very fast for a project of this scope,” Stockburger summarises proudly.

A holistic way of thinking is also demonstrated by the integrative product development. The HENNgineered team considers the metal interior of the EPIG from the design to the end product. The result is a combination of 3D metal printing (SLM) and a milled component. “SLM is a complete complement to the machining processes that we have in-house,” explains Schaz. “In terms of thinking, however, you have to move away from the machining design; the geometries are freely selectable. HENNgineered also supported us with this idea.”

The SLM and milled components are then welded together externally. “The biggest challenge was to combine additive manufacturing, machining and the welding process in such a way that everything fits and the customer is satisfied,” summarises Tobias Hauser, Site Manager at HENNgineered in Mönchweiler. In practice, the weld seam can withstand a pressure of up to 250 bar. To achieve this result, the entire process chain of additive and conventional metalworking is utilised at HENNgineered. “We have put everything we have into this project,” explains Hauser. He is particularly proud of the fact that they deliver reproducible and reliable results in series production, despite the combination of different processes.

Hybridbauteil Fräsen und 3D-Druck Metall
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