The process of assembling intravenous catheters is a tricky — and sometimes prickly - business. Catheters consist of several parts, including a protective cap, blood collector plug, and catheter and capillary modules. During production, the injection needle and catheter portions are often manually assembled, a delicate and time-consuming process. A new solution from Schunk Inc., Morrisville, N.C., now automates this process using a streamlined system suitable for a wide range of parts and sizes.

Here's how it works: Workpiece carriers transport six catheters and injection needles to the assembly area. A parallel gripper then “fixes” the needles, so they are set within a certain tolerance range. Next, angular grippers grasp the catheters and assemble them on top of the needles. Flexibility is the chief advantage of this automated setup. The EGN servo electric parallel gripper can move with varying strokes, enabling it to fix the complete range of injection needles. This allows 78 different products with unique piston diameters to be sensitively gripped and fixed within one automated system. For more information, visit schunk.com.