Collaborating on Innovation in the Medical Instrument and Device Industry

Posted on Saturday, February 15, 2020
Knee replacement ceramic

With hundreds of customers served each year and millions of products shipped, we're proud to announce that over half of our business is in support of the medical instrument and device industry. We consult with research universities and corporate labs to share our insights about the reaction of materials during production and our risk of failure reasoning. We are always examining our production methodologies to determine the most effective process improvement techniques. We work with design engineers about the manufacturability of surgical tools, surgical trays, medical adhesives, unique tubing solutions, disposable materials, and implantable materials, to name a few.

Industry Pressures and Challenges

Players in the medical device, implant, and tooling market are always innovating in new and surprising ways. With the pressure to innovate quickly, we are seeing the need for materials consulting and collaborative manufacturing services on the rise. Our medical instrument and device customers tell us their top three reasons for collaborating with Accumet are: 1. increasing speed to market from conceptualization to design, production and delivery 2. improving R&D and product quality 3. lowering costs to increase competitiveness.

Accumet has been in business for over four decades, and over the years we have provided a wide range of materials and processing solutions for unique medical industry instrument and device manufacturing challenges. Medical devices innovators have an elevated purpose which requires them to deliver better life-enhancing and life-saving technologies and products.

Supply Chain Agility 

Our in-house prototyping is a quick-turn service that is an integral part of helping our customers accelerate the speed to production for their medical research and product development initiatives. We've fulfilled an immediate request to turnaround a surgical tool required for a patient surgery scheduled later that same day. It’s an extreme example of our ability to provide agile service for our customers. As an advanced manufacturer, we have the right inventory, equipment and certified production floor staff available to quickly deliver the highest quality materials, components and devices.

Cost Reduction Pressure

Health care cost reduction pressures and changing purchasing dynamics towards more specialized products with shorter product life-cycles, and smaller order volumes are driving the industry to reduce cycle times from design to delivery. This is right in line with what we do as an advanced manufacturer with precision laser services. It's important to employ an end-to-end supply chain strategy that will successfully scale as your needs fluctuate. The trick is finding an advanced processing manufacturer like us who will stock just the right amount of inventory to meet the demands of your production process. It’s a key cost control factor.

Compliance Complexity

At the same time, regulatory oversight of medical devices is increasing. Advanced manufacturers must demonstrate that their quality measures adhere to strict global compliance standards with traceability from lot to lot. To respond, advanced processing manufacturers must guarantee strict control over the manufacturing process to deliver high quality components and devices. The added advantage of working with a single source full service advanced manufacturer is that the compliance documentation required to prove that new devices can be made safely and effectively for patients is a much simpler process.  

Materials Innovation

The most exciting aspect of the medical device industry is the collaboration that goes into the innovation. We are seeing an insatiable demand for custom surgical tools that are designed to correct very specific conditions which requires increased manufacturing agility on our part. We frequently meet with our medical device customers during the beginning stages of their development projects to provide them with input on such topics such as material processing and design for manufacturability. Be it cutting challenging geometries or altering surface material properties with lasers, there are many unique challenges that we address with our highly skilled engineering, proprietary production expertise and quality assurance teams. Furthermore, we are able to offer quick-turn prototypes that are crucial for medical research initiatives. New techniques and processes are constantly being tested on our lasers, all in an effort to deliver custom solutions for our customers' unique projects.

Precision Laser Advanced Manufacturing Advantages

One of the advantages of laser processing for our medical device audience is the fact that there are virtually no tooling costs; changes to design can be implemented instantaneously. Also, laser welding has advantages over other joining technologies in that it is quick, precise, and very repeatable. Furthermore, laser marking advantages include the fact that it’s permanent and can withstand autoclaving and sterilization processes.

Many of the latest medical devices and surgical tools benefit from new laser-cutting techniques, which enable complex component geometries, minimal debris generation, a contamination-free process, no distortion, extreme repeatability, fast processing speed, and low costs. 

Quality Production Services

Medical devices address critical requirements, so it’s vital to get it right. Our team is incredibly excited to support potentially life-changing — and sometimes life-saving — medical applications. During the initial development stages, we work with customers to get assemblies or parts working to the specifications we've been given. 

Our work in the medical industry has expanded way beyond simply welding and etching surgical tools. We now also cut a variety of materials including adhesives, implantable meshes, and steel.  We cut sheet metal for things like medical carts or blank out parts for stamping and forming, but there is a whole lot more to what we do. Interestingly, in the medical industry, we spend more time cutting polymers than metals. We manufacture elements of innovative stents, heart valves, orthopedic devices/assemblies, and other minimally invasive devices commonly used in ophthalmic surgery, laparoscopy, and arthroscopy. The diversity of work is incredible, from the design of ceramics and adhesives for medical screening equipment to working on the design and manufacturability of next-generation surgical tools, implants and equipment.

Growing Innovation Needs and Unique Materials

The need for quality laser machining is growing driven by the need for innovative advanced manufacturing technologies to fabricate more complex products and materials. One of the biggest trends in the medical industry is that almost everything has been getting progressively smaller and being made to ever tighter tolerances. This has led to innovation in manufacturing in the areas of laser cutting, welding, drilling, and marking for medical applications. In addition, more and more advanced materials are being utilized. We develop new processes for the production of unique appllications and conduct diagnostic testing on innovative medical adhesives, ceramics, rubbers, and plastics for brand new applications to name a few. 

Many of our medical and biotech industry customers would prefer to focus their resources on the design and development of their products and patient service rather than try to keep up with the lasest investments in manufacturing production equipment, staff and techniques. 

Trusted Collaborative Industry Provider  

The collaborative work completed by Accumet has ranged from experimental assemblies that give sight to the blind and electronic assemblies implanted in the brain, to creating new and improved breast cancer screening devices and developing replacement bones. The medical device sector will continue its insatiable demand for custom surgical tools to correct very specific conditions. We expect to become more involved in the cutting of polymers as DNA screening becomes an everyday tool for doctors. Finally, we’re headed toward the collaboratively working on the development of implantable electronic assemblies that could, in the future, enhance or entirely replace basic human bodily functions. 

We help medical instrument and device providers gain a competitive advantage by speeding up their time to market, lowering their production costs, and reducing their supply chain risk. 

Higher Quality, Lower Cost and Fast Delivery

As an ISO 9001 and AS9100 certified full service advanced manufacturer with highly trained and certified operators, Accumet continually invests in new manufacturing test and measurement technology and control processes which leads to faster production, higher quality and material savings. And, whether we're just making a component or we're creating your finished device, our quality assurance team closely monitors all aspects of the manufacturing process to ensure that quality standards are adhered to and documented during each step of the way. We can turn parts around in a couple of days or less, giving our customers a leg up on their competition when trying to get a product to market. 

Learn more about our advanced materials processing and precision laser services for the medical device, implant, and tooling market here.  Download the Tech Brief here

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