Next-generation operating table

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Polish company WIT-Composites has launched a new operating theatre tabletop made out of strong, lightweight carbon-composite materials.

It is also equipped with fittings that enable quick mechanical connections. The system was completed after 24 months of development and has been patented.

The innovative tabletop system is extremely flexible and offers a number of benefits over existing conventional operating table solutions. The tabletop is significantly lighter than existing solutions which means it is easier to physically manage. The material does not block x-rays.

This is also true for mechanical connections as they are made from carbon composites, which is believed to be a first, and the side rail is translucent.

This eliminates blackspots where areas of the patient are not visible on a screen, such as during an operation using a C-arm. Surgeons will have a significantly improved working area, eliminating metal objects used in conventional solutions that partially obscure the patient.

Weronika Soszyńska, managing director of WIT-Composites said: “One of the critical things that we have been able to achieve is introduce a composite system that allows the quick fix and release of various attachments that are essential to the efficient working of the operating table.

“The tabletop has a translucent side rail giving much better visibility of the patient and we have managed to virtually eliminate all obstructions that limited visibility compared to conventional solutions.”

WIT R&D Director, Michael Wit-Rusiecki, commented on the technical challenges faced during the manufacture: “The most difficult challenge was to design/create a composite material with a variable Young's modulus, with different elastic properties in different sections of material.  Parts of the structure also had to be resistant to rapid load changes.

“It took a lot of research, trial and error and testing. Undoubtedly the final product was much more difficult than we thought at the beginning. But we have completed the project successfully and have created a product that fulfills all those demands. And we have made what could be a huge contribution to healthcare.”

The connection system that WIT developed can be applied in different industries and the company is currently negotiating with a global space systems manufacturer.

The project received financial support from the European Regional Development Fund under the Operational Program Smart Growth 2014-2020 initiative. The project “Composite system for fast mechanical connections for the medical industry” was implemented by WIT-Composites (contract number POIR.01.01.01-00-0944/17-00).

WIT-Composites develop prototype composite parts and carry out extensive testing to refine products. They also manufacture composite parts and have the ability to repair damaged parts using specialist knowledge and facilities.

The company is based in Lublin, Poland and works in aerospace, medical and high-end manufacturing. The company works in partnership with clients to develop solutions using their extensive composite engineering expertise and facilities.

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