From nine minutes after the time they introduced [Disc Pump], I knew that our whole plan had changed.
At the start of 2009, Disc Pump existed as a hand-built prototype. Fifteen months later, TTP had delivered an automated production line capable of building one million pumps per year.
Biosensors and Medical Devices, Healthcare
In 2005, the micropump market had seen little real innovation for decades. Our client, Casio, needed new technology to power a range of micro fuel-cells for consumer applications.
TTP brought together a team combining directly relevant expertise in fluid dynamics and piezoelectric structures with much wider experience across medical, industrial, and consumer product development. This combination of scientific depth and technical breadth – including insights derived from loudhailer operation and inkjet printing – enabled us to create a revolution in pump technology.
Disc Pump technology delivers truly silent operation, high performance, and exceptional control. While advances in lithium battery technology saw Casio drop their fuel-cell programme, Disc Pump has gone on to be commercialised in negative pressure wound therapy and other medical, life science, and environmental applications.
An Expanding Platform
In 2008 TTP became aware of an opportunity in negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT). At the time this market was dominated by Kinetic Concepts Inc, which rented reusable therapy units to hospitals and sold the associated dressings. Pressure to reduce the length of hospital stays (while avoiding costly readmissions) created an opportunity for a small, single-patient-use therapy unit that patients could wear home. Disc Pump’s small size, silence, and high performance made it a strong fit.
The broad appeal of the technology was demonstrated further when West Coast start-up Sommetrics chose Disc Pump for their revolutionary Continuous Negative External Pressure (CNEP) device for the treatment of sleep apnoea. This condition is normally treated using Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) systems, which require the user to wear a mask connected to a bedside blower unit. CPAP is intrusive, resulting in low compliance rates. By contrast, Sommetrics’ aerSleep adopts an entirely new approach to the problem by applying negative external air pressure on the outside of the neck to gently open the airway. aerSleep requires no mask and leaves the patient’s airway unobstructed – unique features that are enabled by Disc Pump technology.
Delivering the vision
At the start of 2009, Disc Pump existed as a hand-built prototype. Fifteen months later TTP had delivered an automated production line capable of building one million pumps per year.
To both invent and quickly deliver new technology requires scientific depth, engineering skill, and a high level of collaboration. TTP was able to bring together a team of engineers and automation experts, tightly integrated with the inventors of the technology and external partners, to deliver custom automation systems on a tight timeline.