Interoperability Rules

by Todd McDonald on November 6, 2013

If you remember playing with construction sets like Legos or K’Nex, chances are at one time or another you thought to yourself, wouldn’t it be great if I could build something with all of these pieces, no matter what set they came from? But, sadly, not being able to fit a square peg into a round hole left you to siloing your creativity and imagination.

Until now.

Today you can access the Free Universal Construction Kit – a set of adapters for complete interoperability between 10 popular construction toys – from Legos to Duplo blocks to Tinekertoys and Lincoln Logs.  As described on the developer’s website, The Free Art and Technology (F.A.T.) Lab, the kit enables “radically hybrid constructive play, the creation of previously impossible designs, and ultimately, more creative opportunities for kids.”

The adapters can be downloaded from Thingiverse.com as a set of 3-D models in .STL format, which can then be reproduced by a personal manufacturing device like the Makerbot 3D printer.

The ability to utilize 3D printing in such an innovative way is intriguing to us here at TEQ on two levels.

First, because we recently purchased our own 3D printer for rapid prototyping production and are always looking for new ways to use this technology to its fullest potential. And, second, because the concept of ensuring interoperability by thinking progressively brings to mind our key partnerships.

For example, when we were awarded a contract to take over production of ear thermometer covers for a leading provider of healthcare products, we were able to work with strategically-located partners to modify both machinery and tooling to achieve a higher level of robotics and automation and develop a streamlined workflow designed to eliminate excess inventory and delays as well as introduce a continuous flow of material reuse.

We have also formed a unique alliance with Belco Packaging Systems  a leading U.S. manufacturer of shrink packaging, pouch sealers and blister sealing systems to help our customers save valuable time and money through on-site verification of compatibility of parts. Through this relationship, we can provide our medical packaging, pharmaceutical packaging and consumer packaged goods customers direct access to these high quality machines early on in the packaging system development process, helping to ensure the success of each and every project from the start.

Finally, another of our great partners are medical packaging system experts Spartan Design Group. With their help, we are able to achieve advanced levels of process validation, risk management, traceability of products and compliance with quality and safety regulations. Spartan has also played a critical role in helping us provide the stability data and laboratory documents needed for our medical customers to meet ISO 11607 requirements and  justify new packaging designs that utilize our new 100% recyclable TEQethyleneTM sterile barrier system.

Of course, these are just a few examples of the benefits of partnership interoperability when it comes to manufacturing. Do you have any to share?

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