Midas Rotational Mould Tooling Improves Chest Trauma Training

A leading supplier of medical training aids has devised a groundbreaking and potentially life-saving Chest Drain and Needle Decompression Trainer for use in hospitals and military simulations. Developing the innovative four-piece internal torso relied heavily on the rotational mould tooling expertise of Midas Pattern Company. Featuring a host of complex features, the first products were delivered to an extremely tight deadline, and have since attended market-specific exhibitions in the USA, UK and Australia.

The Bristol based client, a designer and manufacturer of medical training products for healthcare professionals, was established in 1990. Now the company’s President, identified a growing need for a form of training away from live patients, cadavers and animals. Her first products included dynamic anatomical models of the foot and spine, as well as synthetic soft tissue models containing pathologies.

Today, this 90-employee business continues to produce training products that allow clinical educators to deliver their curriculum requirements for physical examination and procedural skills. Among the recent market gaps identified was for an effective chest drain and decompression model for training use in surgical or guidewire assisted thoracostomy and thoracentesis, largely in hospital training centres, surgeons’ colleges and on military training exercises.

A chest drain is a common medical procedure and one that is often lifesaving. Events such as a car accident or military incident can easily lead to blood or other fluids entering the chest cavity where it can cause serious problems. Performing chest trauma procedures has potentially fatal risks if the medical practitioner, such as a junior doctor, has not had sufficient training.

The company wanted to develop a product, complete with interchangeable modules, which would allow for a variety of chest drain insertion techniques to be performed including ultrasound-guided techniques. Following several concept design meetings the customer created a prototype, from which the team set about evaluating the product for the best method of manufacture, eventually opting for rotational moulding.

Rotational moulding offers relatively low tooling costs and the ability to produce complex hollow products in economical short runs. In comparison with blow moulding, rotational moulding permits the production of much more complex, asymmetrical shapes, while wall thickness distribution is also more uniform.

The client had some experience with rotational moulding and due to the tight deadlines were keen to keep the tooling in the UK and Midas was identified due to their track record of quality and on-time deliveries. Various 'design for manufacture' meetings took place between the client, Midas and the chosen moulder. The product needed a method to secure our internal ultrasound anatomy, such as diaphragmatic structures and collapsed lung, into the model without the use of external fixings. With the experience and advice offered by Midas collectively we came up with an innovative way of producing an internally moulded undercut which works brilliantly.

The chest trauma training model is a waist-up representation of the adult male thorax with arms raised, comprising four main parts – the left and right chest cavity, the shoulders and the abdomen. Each section required Midas Pattern to produce six- or seven-part rotational mould tools. The result is a training simulator offering capability way beyond existing chest drain models. Features include bony and soft tissue landmarks such as manubriosternal joint, clavicles, ribs, pectoralis major and latissimus dorsi, as well as bilateral chest drain and needle decompression pads. Furthermore, the reservoirs can be filled with fluid or mock blood to represent pleural effusion, while decompression air reservoirs provide realistic release of air upon needle insertion.

In the whole process only one design change was required and Midas made the adjustment and returned tooling within a week. Manufactured from MDPE (medium density polyethylene) means that it’s durability makes it ideally suited for use in military training situations.

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