By Carl Savage, Vice President, Business Management, MICRO

Carl Savage, Vice President, Business Management, MICRO

MICRO offers customers a full-service suite of manufacturing capabilities. We’re always looking for novel ways to help our customers improve upon product design, development and manufacturing.

Often, our customers are met with challenges in their drive to cost-effectively design devices which respond to market dynamics or solve unmet medical needs for patients. It’s critical to have a contract manufacturing partner who can successfully counsel and support original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, when a device requires a redesign or design alteration. As their contract manufacturing partner, we aim to help customers through the entire process so they can deliver groundbreaking and cost-effective medical technology to patients around the world.

Given our focus on innovative solutions, it was no surprise when a medical device OEM approached us with a unique challenge: Re-engineer a wound closure device coming off patent in order to block future competition by cutting the price point in half. Working with this OEM customer on a product revision, including a redesign of internal components, MICRO devised an optimal way to update a hand-held surgical instrument for endoscopic procedures.

Our Design For Manufacturability (DFM) process enabled us to:

  • Convert machined end-effectors to a metal injection molding process (MIM). This alone would have reduced cost significantly, but the fact that we were able to achieve the required sharpness right out of the mold eliminated a costly secondary sharpening operation.
  • Convert a Swiss Screw machine component to a laser cut part, significantly reducing cost.
  • Replace a welding process which had joined two metallic components with plastic overmolding – also reducing cost significantly.

Designing a product to look and perform equivalently to its predecessor without sacrificing integrity and functionality can be challenging.  Surgeons are accustomed to an instrument performing a certain way for a specific procedure. An updated design needs to be able to function similarly, allowing the surgeon to flawlessly perform each procedure.

Meeting this challenge, MICRO built a lighter instrument with functional enhancements, and we were able to design and build it for a little less than half the original cost.  The result was well-received by the customer and surgeons, many of whom reported they didn’t realize a manufacturing change had taken place.

Medical device contract manufacturers must help their customers overcome the many obstacles they face in delivering high-quality, functional and efficient products— often while driving down cost. This is where MICRO excels. Our DFM approach means that we closely collaborate with the customer to understand device functionality to improve processes while maintaining performance and driving down cost, allowing our customers to deliver new and improved medical technology solutions in an increasingly cost-sensitive marketplace.

Importantly, while we strive to save costs for our customers, value can be misunderstood. It isn’t always about the lowest price. Instead, it means producing the most cost-effective and efficient product that will be profitable while meeting customer and FDA requirements. Having a successful partnership with the customer will help ensure that quality and value in product development and production are fully realized.