Androgenetic alopecia is a common form of hair loss in which a person’s hair follicles respond aggressively to androgens. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD), the condition tends to progress to partial or complete baldness for men — hence, the term “male pattern baldness.” The range of treatments includes medications, surgery, lasers, and plasma injections, with variable results.
A biotechnology company is developing an androgenetic alopecia treatment regimen for men. As part of this regimen, a medical professional will use a novel investigational device that employs a motorized block of microneedles that penetrate the patient’s skin at high speeds. The microneedle block covers an area of a patient’s scalp with hundreds of tiny wounds that, with the help of a topical medication, stimulate hair follicle growth. The device has a probe-like shape and size, and includes an integrated motor and linear guide to quickly move and oscillate the needle block.
In order to deliver thousands of jabs per second in a direction that’s perpendicular to the patient’s scalp, the linear guide has to be both very small and fast. The guide must travel approximately 3 millimeters in each direction and support a payload of 4 grams with a 3N off-set drive force for a 5-minute duty cycle. Based on these criteria, we proposed our LWL 2 miniature rolling guide.
LWL 2 Miniature Guides
Built to handle both fluctuating and complex loads, the LWL 2 miniature guide provides four points of contact in a double-row raceway design, ensuring both high stability and accuracy. This particular LWL guide is designed with one bearing on the rail and provides suitable clearance to achieve a smooth motion profile with a minimal starting friction. We also provided the customer with a multi-temperature grease.
We collaborated extensively with the customer’s engineering team and its preferred distributor throughout the design process, and we continue to follow up with them as they commercialize the hair regeneration platform. The device-maker reports that the proprietary microneedling unit is performing as expected — as an investigational device — using our LWL 2 bearing. The customer is pleased with the LWL 2 and expects to place another order soon. In addition, the customer has incorporated the LWL 2 into a prototype device that is intended to reduce facial wrinkles.
Choose Our Miniature Linear Guides for Your Innovative Products
When a design calls for a compact linear guide, it can be difficult to find a high-performance, 2-millimeter size unit. At IKO, we not only deliver superior-quality miniature linear motion rolling guides, we also work hand-in-hand with you to address your challenges and help your disruptive products and platforms take root. If you require a high-performance linear motion rolling guide for a space-limited design, be sure to contact your local IKO sales engineer for assistance.
For more information about our LWL Series, visit our product page.