When in-house machining is not an option, medical device engineers are forced to use outside companies for quotes and machining. Typical turnaround times can run from 2 to 6 weeks, depending on the complexity of the piece. And then what happens if the outside machining company gets it wrong – or if it turns out your specifications were not exactly right? Then you are waiting several more weeks to get a part you needed at least two months ago!
Consider that all medical device projects require iterative design using multiple components. Without in-house machining, by the time a part comes back in 2-6 weeks, the design may have changed entirely, rendering the machine component useless and starting the 2-6 week clock again. At REV.1 Engineering, we move quickly, and waiting on outside machining companies does not allow us to hit our aggressive timelines.
Nothing can wreak more havoc with your project timeline than waiting for outside companies to provide key component parts for your prototype. But with in-house machining – the right technology and the right staff – you can significantly cut your development time. And, as you know, every moment counts when you are racing to commercialization against potential competitors.
At REV.1 Engineering, we use our fully-equipped in-house state-of-the art CNC machine shop to create the parts needed for prototypes – typically on the same day. That literally cuts weeks out of our clients’ project schedules. Here are just a few of the many benefits:
- Design a part, program it for machining on the spot, machine it, use it, refine it – all within a day or two
- Evaluate concepts in robust metal designs rather than just using typical rapid prototype materials
- Get a true “hand feel” of the device created with the materials many devices would actually use
- Test strength/load, heat treating, etc. for more realistic quality and lifespan testing
- Quickly create custom metal molds for non-metal parts, shortening the project timeline
Machining for medical devices requires a different skill set, because some of the tools are as small as 0.005″ in diameter. You must have technicians who are also trained as micro-machinists and understand how to program for CNC machines. At REV.1 we add this programming capability to our SolidWorks program, which allows our designers and programmers to modify parts in the same software, minimizing turnaround time between part iterations.
It’s also important to have engineers who understand how parts will be machined, even if they themselves don’t necessarily know how to do the machining. With an engineering team that has deep experience with micro-technologies, you can synchronize iterative development much more efficiently by designing parts that can be fabricated.
Here is a case study of REV.1 Engineering’s recent success with in-house machining in a single day:
- Client’s device requirement included a custom-designed molded diaphragm
- Our engineers designed a concept using SolidWorks
- Hours later, our CNC-experienced engineers programmed and machined the mold halves
- Molds were assembled immediately to create the actual diaphragm
- Based on test performance, the design engineer made some modifications
- By the end of the day, the new concept was programmed and machined and the next iteration was ready to go
REV.1 Engineering repeats this quick iteration development, using SolidWorks and CNC machining, numerous times for many client projects. (See earlier article about the advantages of on-site rapid prototyping.) Quick quality machined parts are just one key piece of REV.1’s rapid innovation style – delivering clients from design to prototype to clinical product 2x Faster than any alternative.
Over the past years, REV.1 Engineering has built up an inventory of materials and machine tooling, which gives us the ability to machine components without having to wait on tools or material to arrive before we can start. If you are looking for a full-service medical device engineering firm that has the tools to execute your development 2x Faster, look no further. Give us a call at 951.696.3933, connect with us on LinkedIn, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s put your project on hyperspeed.