Digital health company Kesem Health sought assistance from AMTIL’s Additive Manufacturing Hub in the development of the iUFlow urinary monitoring device.

Melbourne-based Kesem Health develops and commercialises a digital health medical device and develops artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled solutions in the field of urology. Current methods of assessing patients with urinary dysfunction are time-consuming, expensive, and space-intensive. The current standard of care compromises clinical outcomes and increases the costs associated with diagnosing urinary dysfunction.

The solution is the iUFlow, a novel, patented, fully automated, and easy to use bladder monitoring device, implemented on a smartphone platform. The iUFlow device is designed and priced to be used over a period of 48-96 hours as required by the patient’s urologist.

The challenge

The project entailed the design and manufacturing of multiple components to further tune the design of iUFlow, utilising additive manufacturing principals of multiple parts of the iUFlow product. This is due to the complexity of the design, which is difficult to achieve by going directly to injection moulding. In addition, the costs and processes involved with a typical injection moulding set-up presented a significant barrier to entry. Therefore, it was deemed risky, as well as expensive and slow, to move directly to an injection moulding set-up without first exploring how the physical product might look and feel.

The solution

In undertaking the project, the Additive Manufacturing Hub engaged the assistance of a registered service provider, X-Product Pty Ltd, an additive manufacturing provider using 3D SLA printing techniques. This was identified as an excellent way to mitigate many of the above concerns.

Kesem Health believed that using additive manufacturing it would be able to reduce the design cycle and therefore reduce the time to market. The project allowance was up to three iterations of several parts, with the final aim of having these products ready to be manufactured at production quality, using advance manufacturing and/or additive manufacturing techniques. It would also enable Kesem to conduct small-scale manufacturing utilising the technology for parts supply without committing to expensive tools.

During the project, X-Product supplied prototypes, built the prototype units, assisted with testing, measuring and iterations. In addition, manufacturing of the product took place, entailing hundreds of parts.

Once the initial design was completed, the first prototypes were completed the following day after an overnight 3D printing run. This rapid process allowed Kesem to iterate the concept multiple times in a short period and make key decisions related to size, features and aesthetics. Drastic changes could be realised because it was quick and cheap to simply try again with a alternative design.

How the Additive Manufacturing Hub helped

It was predicated that the project would make full use of a $20,000 Build It Better (BIB) voucher co-contribution via the Additive Manufacturing Hub. Gil Hidas, Managing Director of Kesem Health, commented: “The BIB program gave us the perfect opportunity to further explore 3D printing for prototyping and utilising additive technology for manufacturing.”

The outcome

Over the course of the project, new features could easily be added and adjusted. It would not have been possible to produce these in a plastic mould as a single part and for the cost and in the time of iteration. The additive process that Kesem used for prototyping allowed it to conduct those experiments easily. Therefore, new features were added to the concept and made their way through to the final product, resulting in an improved design.

As a result of the project, Kesem will be being using the additive processes employed in the near future and on an ongoing basis, in addition to using it in small-scale manufacturing. The company is also postponing its investment in injection moulding tooling.