John Bannayan, executive vice president, Glebar Company, Inc., Franklin Lakes, NJ
A prototype component machined for a medical device manufacturer needs to be produced in the shortest amount of time at the highest quality possible. The process also needs to be duplicated reliably.
This presents a challenge to a contractor, since these components cannot be made on just any machine. As an example, guidewire cores are made on custom-built CNC grinding machines. Recently, more-stringent geometric features with very tight tolerances and extremely small diameters have been the standard. Wire diameters up to 0.0008 in. over a length of 20 in., with varying geometric features, are common. This narrows down the types of machinery that can be used to make these prototypes.
In order to produce high-quality prototypes, contract manufacturers need to choose raw materials carefully. With increased demand for smaller precision components, experimentation and process development is necessary. This can invariably extend lead times, sometimes making the prototype far from rapid. Both contractors and OEMs need to understand the fabrication process at the prototype level, as it is critical to successful medical device development
Process Development Services Enable Rapid Product Launch
As a machine-tool builder for the medical device industry, a firm can supply prototype components and process development expertise to enable its customers to rapidly implement a product launch. Turnkey grinding and inspection systems are specifically configured to meet customer’s requirements. By running production on equipment on a contractual basis in its plant, the firm’s process development team faces the same issues its customers would normally face on a new product launch. The company is then able to debug the process, provide technical training, supply start-up production volume, and address process issues before the technology transfers to the customer’s site.
Glebar Company, Inc., Franklin Lakes, NJ
Prototyping Service Accelerates Fluid-Handling Product Development
A refined rapid response prototyping process accelerates product development cycle times, allowing quick, iterative design changes to meet any dispensing, transfer, circulation, or dosing application. The firm uses Design for Six Sigma and other processes to integrate a wide selection of fluid-handling components and assemblies into a system’s architecture.
Micropump Inc., Vancouver, WA
High-Quality Prototypes Reduce Product Development Time
Contract services are available that are meant to help clients bring their new products to market quickly. The First to Market program emphasizes the delivery of high-quality prototypes in the fastest manner possible, thus reducing product development time. The firm specializes in precision machining of a variety of materials such as polymers, metals, and glass, with feature sizes as small as 1 µm. All that is required is a CAD file from the customer and prototypes can be available in as little as 24 hours.
Potomac Photonics, Lanham, MD
Rapid Membrane Switch Prototype Service Is Available
A rapid prototyping service for membrane switches is a stand-alone operation designed to quickly produce working mock-ups. Parts produced are conceptual in nature but appear and function as the envisioned production parts. The Instant Intaq service enables customers to verify their design with functional prototypes in three days or less for overlays and laser-cut blanks, or within 10 days for most membranes.
GM Nameplate, Seattle, WA
Coming up in the May 2006 issue of MPMN, Outsourcing Outlook on Surface Treatment