Executive Summary:

HD’s flexible and adaptable team provided a fast, bolt on, resource to our client’s in house team. We provided detailed design and engineering services to optimise features of a Dry Powder Inhaler to improve performance and reduce development time.

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HD enhanced performance of the device improving both functionality and user experience through the use of engineering simulation techniques, including FEA and SoildWorks Motion. The approach taken and work provided significantly reduced design & development time for our client. Features were optimised to improve functionality, performance and provide sufficient tactile feedback to the user.

I want to say thank you for all of your efforts getting this over the line – your support to rectify the device performance is very much appreciated!

It is a costly and slow process to iterate and optimise a design then re-manufacture components to physically test and gather results. HD were therefore tasked with not only redesigning features of the device, but also to verify its design prior to tooling manufacture. A key challenge of the brief was a narrow margin of changeable parameters within the existing design which could be optimised to enhance the product’s performance.

SolidWorks Motion was used to optimise the mechanical performance of mathematical CAD models in order to reduce the iterative design process. In this project, virtual springs, virtual motors and virtual body contacts were used to simulate the product in use. HD could then quickly determine why and where changes were needed to enhance and optimise the performance of the design.

By running a Motion study with the mathematical model, data from the physical study was replicated which not only showed that HD’s mathematical models and Motion study were accurate but, gave a benchmark to work from. When optimising the design of a critical clip interface, the study could be re-run and overlaid with the physical data for comparison. From here, the focus was to improve the product’s performance by decreasing the force required to operate it.

From this, HD were able to iterate, develop, and retest a new and more effective design. By using Motion testing, the original design’s performance could be compared against the new design.

After this theoretical work, an injection moulded component of the new design was manufactured and physically tested creating a further set of results which could be compared against the theoretical force profile generated in Motion – they were remarkably similar. Using Motion eliminated numerous iterations of prototype designs to get to this point – saving time and reducing costs.

Simulation is often overlooked as a software add-on to SolidWorks. It’s highly versatile so can be used to validate early concepts, reduce prototype iterations and quickly optimise designs to suit key performance parameters.

The team at HD have used this process in other drug delivery device projects too. For example, to calculate force profiles required from springs and other components to drive a complex auto-injector trainer. It’s not just useful in small mechanisms – HD have used it extensively in much larger products such as security gates, to optimise motor, mechanism and component sizing etc. Simply put, using Motion effectively, especially alongside some physical test data, will significantly reduce development time.

If you would like to learn more about this project or discuss how we can help with your product or medical device development, please get in touch.

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