South Lanarkshire based Confidence Plus Ltd was founded by Anne Inch, a sales and product development specialist who has undergone colon treatment surgery. Wanting to make lives better for people with similar needs, the company has created the ConfiPlus Stoma Pockets, a leak-control stoma pocket product that is currently on the market, and it is developing another product that will make emptying stoma bags more convenient.
Featuring integrated bag hooks, the ConfiPlus Glide will provide users of ileostomy bags with an easier, more convenient method of emptying them. Users are required to empty the bag's contents several times a day. This usually requires two hands, which can be an unpleasant process, particularly in public places or if the user is elderly, disabled or experiences restricted movement.
Seeking to take its new product from concept idea to prototype stage, Confidence Plus worked with the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS) for support on the best way to design and make the ConfiPlus Glide.
What did NMIS do?
Funded by an Innovation Voucher, the NMIS Design Engineering team developed the ConfiPlus Glide concept idea into a functional design and produced accompanying computer aided designs (CAD).
The NMIS Additive team then used 3D printing techniques to explore a handful of potential shape options and develop aspects of the design and its functionality as part of its Additive Manufacturing Business and Technical Support (AM-BATS) project.
AM-BATS is a research and knowledge transfer project that forms part of the Scottish Government's Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund.
The final physical prototype models developed by NMIS using 3D printing will allow Confidence Plus to engage in BETA testing and create further design iterations. Once the design is confirmed, larger-scale testing with existing customers can occur before the product's full commercialisation.
Working with NMIS to design the ConfiPlus Glide has been incredibly useful. Their knowledge was invaluable and sped up the process of creating the prototype. We had the idea and vision of what we wanted but needed help making it a real product. We were given plenty of suggestions for materials to help create it. When we had finalised the idea, the AM-BATS project team supported us in creating the ConfiPlus Glide using 3D printing. This helped me see it realistically and get a feel for it. Everyone involved has been helpful and enthusiastic; it's been a great working experience."
Lisa Crombie, Managing Director Confidence Plus
Confidence Plus is one step closer to market and is using the CAD and physical models as tools for discussions with final product manufacturers. The models will also serve as demonstration parts for meetings with support groups and working groups within the NHS and abroad.