Through a leveraged NMSBA project, Jeff Collins brought together five companies
seeking help on their new Skyndex skin fold caliper. The caliper, which is
manufactured by Collins’ company, Welltec, Inc., measures body fat percentage.
The companies sought assistance with the caliper’s ergonomics and its increased
measurement range. To work properly, the caliper jaws must maintain a consistent
pressure throughout their entire range. The new caliper design measures more than
twice the thickness of the old caliper, from an upper measurement of 55 mm with
the old caliper, to a 130-mm capacity with the new caliper.
Keeping a consistent pressure throughout the increased range presents a unique
engineering challenge. To tackle the challenge, NMSBA connected the companies
with Clinton Hobart and his team of robotic experts at Sandia National Laboratories.
The team members conducted analysis, solid modeling, and advanced simulations
on the caliper. They then ran the caliper’s design through mechanical testing and
evaluations, based on design improvements offered by the companies.
The companies received a final report detailing the Sandia team’s design and
manufacturing suggestions, including making physical changes so that the caliper
jaws face perpendicularly. Thanks to Sandia’s product design ideas and a new
market, the companies expect to realize $3 million in benefits over the next