Product Design and Development…
The Five Advantages of Rapid Medical Device Prototyping
Product designers face many challenges that rapid medical device prototyping can help to overcome:
- Helping in-house management, investors and users visualize new products,
- Confirming the proper “feel” for the user, and
- Perfecting their designs at the lowest expense.
Despite the recent advancements in 3D CAD (three-dimensional, computer-assisted design) technologies, it may be difficult to explain the design aspects through digital models alone.
Rapid medical device prototyping or additive manufacturing is gaining importance among the medical device engineering manufacturers and designers. It offers a faster and accurate method to realize the product’s potential. Through additive manufacturing technique, one can expect higher reliability from the conceptualized design compared to conventional paper prototyping.
Five advantages of rapid medical device prototyping are:
1. Helps realize the core design concepts
Rapid medical device prototyping enables the designers to realize their concepts beyond virtual visualization — allowing them to understand the actual look and feel of their design, rather than simply assuming through the CAD model. This helps the medical device designers to carry forward their ideas and implement them in their designs before finalizing it. This tactile prototype serves as a proof of concept for the end client, who is expecting a more realistic design rather than merely visualizing the design on the screen.
2. Aids in incorporating changes quickly
With a physical model in hand, it is far easier to elicit customer feedback. Changes can occur more rapidly, using several iterations before finalizing the design. Both the designer and end user can build confidence with the proposed medical device. Patients often expand on their actual needs, making it possible to develop competitive products with enhanced acceptance rate.
3. Helps save times and costs
Through additive manufacturing, the cost, as well as the time needed to develop the molds, patterns and special tools, can be eliminated. The same CAD software and printing equipment can be used to create different geometries. Rapid prototyping only prints the material which is in actual needed to build the medical device. Thus, the amount of waste produced is lesser when compared to the conventional prototyping methods such as CNC (computerized numerical control) machining.
4. Customizing Designs
This represents the most promising benefit of rapid prototyping – enabling you to develop customized products as per the individual requirements. No special process or tools are required to implement the design changes in the medical product. The entire process remains the same… and only a few changes may be needed in the CAD model. This method is highly advantageous to the healthcare product manufacturers as it offers a connected experience for the patients and their medical device.
5. Helps anticipate and minimize design flaws
The technique offers the ability to identify design flaws before mass production begins. The materials used for rapid prototyping resemble the properties as well as strength of the actual product. Thus it enables you to perform physical tests with ease. The usability issues and faults in the design can be identified earlier to avoid any problems that might occur later while manufacturing the device.
It’s indeed a profitable decision to use rapid medical device prototyping in product design and development. These techniques help inventors, designers and manufacturers develop innovative and more cost-effective medical devices in this fiercely competitive landscape.
Author Bio: Shuchi Sankhyayan is a Mumbai-based Content Specialist who has spent 15+ years romping around the healthcare, medical device, manufacturing, content and software industries. She is currently a Content Specialist at Technosoft Innovations, Inc. where she documents and presents the latest research and innovations in the medical devices industry. She holds a graduate degree in Science and Post-Graduation degree in HR. In her spare time she is an avid reader, hobbyist and enjoys sharing medical product development knowledge and experience via her posts and articles.