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The goal of the student project ‘Smart Drill’ is to fix bone fractures safely. A team from Bremen Institute of Measurement Technology, Automation and Quality Science (BIMAQ) developed an attachment for a medical drill. During the drilling process, it measures the depth of the hole in order to determine the correct screw. Due to the special demands on the bearing points of the measuring system, such as resistance to chemicals and moisture, as well as a trouble-free mounting at high speeds, the use of the lubrication-free iglidur L500 plain bearings was seen as the optimal solution.

For fixing a fracture in osteosynthesis it is often necessary to make screw connections inside the bone. The length of the screw needs to be precise to avoid injuries of the surrounding tissue structure and to ensure sufficient strength. The determination of the bone diameter and depth of the hole can be ascertained in advance only and must be determined during the operation by means of a gauge. This is currently dependent on the operator’s experience and can lead to errors in the selection of the screws. To make this process safer, in a project called the ‘Smart Drill’ a student group from Bremen developed an attachment for the existing drilling machine that supports the length selection of the screw with measuring values. Lubrication-free igus bearings made of high-performance polymers are used at the bearing points of the drive shaft.

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