Developing a new medical device can be a multi-million-pound venture. There is no simple answer to the question; “How much does it cost to manufacture a medical device?”. Design Development Engineer, Phil, discusses just some of the ways you can reduce new product and medical device manufacturing costs.
Developing a device through to the manufacturing phase and eventually on to its release into the market can be a long and costly process. Medical device manufacturing costs are influenced by several factors. In this article, I will briefly cover; component design, design for manufacture, material selection and packaging.
The physical form and design of a product or medical device has a significant impact on manufacturing costs. Therefore, it’s important to optimise the size and not overcomplicate the design of the components in your medical device by including unnecessary features. The more complex a part design, the more sophisticated and complex the injection mould tool. Overly complex tools are the worst way to sap the cost of your medical device development budget, increasing tool manufacturing and trial times. Streamline your device by removing any features which do not directly contribute to the function of the device or add to its ultimate market appeal.
The breakthroughs in the potential sustainability of the polymer supply chain for the future look very promising. However, there is always a balance of things and compromises to consider, so you should specify the correct polymer for the job. Often there are times when expensive, high performing engineering grades are selected for components which are only going to be used in a single use or very low life cycle device. Sometimes these materials are selected for components with clips that clip just once before being disposed of, even though the polymer can perform thousands of clipping cycles before failure. In areas like this, where possible, considering lower performance and cheaper base materials for your device is a way to help reduce costs without impacting functionality or quality of the component and final device or product.
Often, we are asked to not only design a device, but also the device(s) packaging. There are plenty of costs which can be stripped out of device packaging, and it has a bigger impact on cost than you may initially think. Excess packaging is not only wasteful and often damaging to the environment, but it adds to the overall size and weight of each unit, which therefore increases shipping costs. If there are millions of devices being shipped worldwide, the extra costs soon add up!
Regular design reviews are always a great opportunity to double check if there has been any neglect or oversight of human factors during the development phase. Attempting to incorporate a user centred approach to the device design late on in the project can be disastrous on a development budget. Thoroughly appreciating human factors should be one of the top priorities of the concept stage, and not be an afterthought just before the device is ready to be released for human factors trials.
Here at HD, our med tech and pharmaceutical clients are continuously impressed by our DFM expertise and the subsequent costs this saves them throughout their projects. If you would like to learn more or discuss a project, please get in touch.