The Ion Beam Enhanced Deposition Coating Process For Pharmaceutical Tooling

The Ion beam enhanced deposition (IBED) process is a new metal coating process that can be used to effectively coat tableting punches and dies with a variety of hard, wear and corrosion resistant coatings. IBED coating technology is ideal for use on tableting tooling and has two main advantages over conventional metal coating methods:

1.) IBED coatings can be applied at temperatures that do not exceed 150 degrees Fahrenheit, thus maintaining the original integrity of the tooling, including exact dimensions and bulk hardness.
2.) IBED coatings replicate the tooling’s original surface finish exactly, thus eliminating the need for post-coating repolishing.

Unlike conventional electro- chrome plating or high-temperature vacuum coating processes, IBED is entirely a physical process (chrome plating and vacuum coating are chemical and thermal processes, respectively). Ion beam enhanced deposition processing combines the benefits of thermal diffusion processing and conventional coating technologies because the coating atoms first penetrate into the substrate to form a case layer in the surface, and then are grown out from this case layer as a thick coating. Driven in kinetically instead of thermally, IBED coatings are “ballistically bonded” to the substrate, thus forming a metallurgical bond that is much stronger than a mechanical or chemical bond.

The IBED coating process is implemented by the simultaneous bombardment of a growing coating with an independently controllable beam of energetic atomic particles. The growing coating is generated either by vacuum evaporation or ion beam sputtering. The independent beam of particles consists primarily of charged atoms (ions) extracted at high energy from a broad beam ion source. Beams of either inert species (Ne+, Ar+, or Kr+) or reactive species (N+ or O+) can be utilized for the process.

Because control of the ion beam is independent of the coating vapor flux, a high degree of control over coating nanostructure can be achieved. This allows optimization of coating properties such as adhesion and composition, and guarantees that the properties can be duplicated repeatedly. Essentially a line of sight process, sources of the reactant fluxes are located so that they simultaneously illuminate the components to be coated. The components are mounted to an angling, rotating platen assembly that is used to uniformly expose all surfaces of the components to both reactant fluxes. The entirely physical nature of the coating process allows temperatures to be held under 150 degrees Fahrenheit. This removes the possibility of deforming structural integrity and altering the precise dimensions critical to optimizing pharmaceutical tooling performance.

A variety of types of metallic and hard ceramic coatings can be deposited on the working surfaces of punches and dies. The metallic coatings include chromium and nickel, and the ceramic coatings include metallic nitrides like titanium nitride and chromium nitride. For most tableting applications the family of hard ceramics is the coating of choice. They are much harder and abrasion-resistant than nickel or even chrome plating, and provide a corrosion-resistant seal on all coated surfaces.

Because of the hardness and durability of the coatings, the wear and corrosion experienced during normal tableting operations does not degrade and roughen the tooling surface and the tableting tooling performs better and longer. If powders begin to stick because of physio-chemical adhesion, the coated surfaces can be cleaned with detergents, solvents, or mild abrasives without the risk of scratching or roughening the original surface finish. The use of IBED performance coatings offers an excellent way to preserve the critical surfaces of punches and dies thereby improving tableting efficiency and manufacturing productivity.

Ten Findings on the State of the Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health Software Market

You probably have been reading much about “brain training” and “brain fitness” and wondered, “What is all the Fuss About?”

After many months of work (and we hope many new neurons and stronger synapses in our brains), we have just released our inaugural report on the emerging Brain Fitness Software Market, and we want to share a few of the key findings with you.

In summary, the whole category is growing. We estimate the size of the US brain fitness software market at $225M in2007, up from $100m in 2005 (50% CAGR). The two segments that fueled the market growth: consumers (grew from $5m to $80m, 300% CAGR) and healthcare & insurance providers (grew from $36m to $65m, 35% CAGR).

Ten Findings from The State of the Brain Fitness Software Market 2008 report include:

1) 2007 was a seminal year for the US Brain Fitness software market, which reached $225 million in revenues – up from an estimated $100 million in 2005.

2) Over 20 companies are offering tools to assess and train cognitive skills to four customer segments: consumers; healthcare and insurance providers; K12 school systems; and Fortune 1000 companies, the military, and sports teams.

3) The Nintendo Brain Age phenomenon has driven much of the growth. The consumer segment grew from a few million in 2005 to an estimated $80 million in 2007.

4) There is major confusion in the market, so education will be key. Users and buyers need help to navigate the maze of products and claims.

5) Over 400 residential facilities for older adults have launched computerized “brain fitness centers.” Sales to the healthcare and insurance provider segment grew from $35 million in 2005 to an estimated $65 million in 2007.

6) More than five programs have shown results in randomized controlled trials. Cognitive functions that can be trained include: visual and auditory processing, working memory, attention, and decision-making.

7) A product has obtained 510(k) FDA clearance for rehabilitation of stroke and Traumatic Brain Injury patients. Another product is being used by a growing network of ADHD specialists.

8) Large-scale, fully-automated cognitive assessments are being used in a growing number of clinical trials. This opens the way for the development of inexpensive consumer-facing, baseline cognitive assessments.

9) The potential for K12 Education remains largely untapped due to limited research linking cognitive training to academic performance.

10) Companies, sports teams and the military are finding opportunities to improve productivity. The aging workforce will make this a must.

There are over 20 public and private companies offering tools to assess and train brain functions, with major implications for healthy aging and a number of disorders such as attention deficits, dyslexia, stroke and traumatic brain injury, schizophrenia, autism, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Self Help Reviews – The Benefits of Using Quality Product and Service Review Sites

The world is full of some great products and services. However, the world is full of some stinkers as well. This makes for a unique researching and buying environment as consumers try to figure out how to separate the good from the bad. This is where self help reviews can be very handy. These reviews are ideal for the individual person and their family as they cater directly to this market group by looking at products and services that individuals care about, not big corporations or smaller businesses.

The best review websites will be those that look at each main company in a given service or product niche. This allows you the ability to see what each company offers and how they compare with other companies in the same niche. The result is you get a complete picture and can help significantly cut down your research time. This is an invaluable service because it helps you spend less time researching and more time choosing. Which then translates into more time enjoying your life or devoting your attention to other pressing matters.

Yes, self help reviews offer the consumer a great way to simplify their buying process. Another benefit is that they can often allow people to learn about other great services or products that they may be interested in. This means they can further improve or enrich their lives by simply following some of these top sites. For this reason, it is a good idea to bookmark these sites by simply pressing Ctrl + D while on the home page and periodically checking back on them to look for new services and products. This can help keep you up-to-date on what is in and interesting. In addition, it gives you something to talk about with friends and who knows, you may end up becoming the trendsetter in your neighborhood based on your new found knowledge.