Alibre Design Gives FHC's Surgical Instruments a Competitive Edge

Alibre Design Gives FHC’s Surgical Instruments a Competitive Edge
‘Affordable 3D’ Allows Small Firm to Undertake Big Projects

Richardson, TX-December 14, 2005 - Headquartered in Bowdoinham, Maine, the 70-employee FHC, Inc., produces devices that stimulate and map target areas of the brain for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological disorders. Much like the company’s unique geographic locale, FHC has carved out an exclusive niche in a medical industry dominated by big firms by offering specialization to its clients. Neurosurgeons, hospitals, and neuroscientists look to FHC to provide microelectrodes and instrumentation with the same foursquare attention to detail as other New England handicrafts.

For its new mechanical design application, FHC chose Alibre® Inc.’s 3D parametric solid modeler Alibre Design™, and found that it could give the big competition a run for its money for less cost, thanks to Alibre’s affordable pricing.

FHC uses mechanical modeling for not only the interior circuitry of its designs but also the plastic exteriors and control panels. The latest system under development at FHC is designed to incorporate both its electronics – permitting surgeons to stimulate brain cells during functional neurosurgery as well as record and analyze the results – and packaging for transportability in its design. Instead of traveling between facilities as a bulky deliverable through freight companies, the system can be conveyed as easily as rolling luggage. The equipment could be speedily positioned and assembled right next to the operating table, and afterwards simply collapsed into a compact unit capable of being rolled through airports and lifted into cabs.

Managers at FHC initially assumed the new portability was beyond the firm’s resources, and that an outsourced product design company would be tasked with coming up with a great idea for an aesthetic and multi-functional casing. FHC Electrical Engineer Mark Martin was assigned to find the subcontractor. “But I felt like I could come up with a great idea myself, and Alibre Design was very instrumental in that,” he says. “I was able to quickly develop a basic concept model, bring it to meetings and present my ideas and my line of thinking.”

Models created in Alibre Design enabled Martin to sell his own idea to his FHC co-workers to make them realize the transformable packaging aspect of the product could be kept in-house, thereby saving time and development costs. Images as JPEGs of different views of the conceptual 3D model promoted collaboration and solidified the look and features of the case. Finally, Martin could then proceed to develop the actual production assembly directly from the conceptual model.

“I couldn’t have done this project without Alibre Design. Without the design tools in Alibre’s product I don’t think I would have been able to visualize and come up with the ideas,” says Martin.
Alibre Design proved attractive with not only a $995 price tag, a mere fraction of other CAD packages, but also its full array of 3D parametric modeling tools that enabled more sophisticated FHC designs.

“I was happy to find Alibre Design because the software gives us all the functionality we need, but it’s also affordable for a small company,” concludes Martin. “I was also able to learn it with no special training. It’s allowed us to stay competitive, and I bet our competition is going to see this new project and say, ‘why didn’t we think of that?’ Alibre Design is a very powerful tool, and it’s been a great addition to our business.”


About Alibre
Alibre Inc. develops and markets Alibre Design™, the fastest growing parametric 3D solid modeling software for mechanical design and manufacturing. One-fifth the cost of comparable software, Alibre Design delivers quick ROI, ease-of-use, rich functionality and unique real-time support, and is enabling small and medium-sized businesses and workgroups to put 3D CAD on every engineer’s desk, similar to utilities like Word or Excel. Alibre also delivers Alibre Design Xpress, the industry’s only true 3D parametric modeler available free of charge. Alibre Design is available in eleven languages and distributed worldwide. Founded in 1997, Alibre Inc. is privately funded and based in Richardson, Texas. For more details, contact 877-525-4273, Email Contact, or visit www.alibre.com.

About FHC

FHC designs, manufactures, and internationally markets quality products for neuroscience and neurosurgical research. FHC customers include scientific researchers at major universities, medical schools, hospitals, government research institutions, and private laboratories located at pharmaceutical, biotechnology and major technology-based companies around the world. FHC specialty expertise fosters intimate and collaborative relationships with its customers. Neurosurgeons use FHC equipment for intraoperative microelectrode recording and stimulation to map the electrical activity of human brain and to precisely locate dysfunctional areas prior to treatment. FHC has established microTargeting® as its trademark for this technology, which recently has found increasing use in the treatment symptoms of Parkinson's disease and other movement disorders. FHC products are also used for microneurography, the monitoring of human peripheral nerve activity as it relates to neuromuscular function. The 70-employee firm is headquartered in Bowdoinham, 35 miles north of Portland, Maine. For more information about the company and its products, please visit www.fh-co.com.

Alibre is a registered trademark; and Alibre Design is a trademark of Alibre Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.



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303 487 7406
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