Stop me if you’ve heard this one before.
“A huge medical science advancement was just made based on expensive up-and-coming technology you’ve never even heard of!”
Rather than piecing together the latest trends from sporadic tech announcements, you'll want to keep a steady finger on the pulse of how medical device component manufacturing is changing.
As a company that helps develop and manufacture medical device components, Strouse keeps informed and aware of the latest industry tendencies so we can have in-depth discussions with and make knowledgeable design, material, or production recommendations to our customers.
If you’re looking for info on how medical device components have been developing, read on for a briefing to help you understand how the industry is evolving and how you can remain competitive.
What are Some Types of Medical Device Components?
Medical device components comprise an enormous range of parts, from battery cases and printed circuit boards to adhesive sensors, shielding, labels, and casings that manufacturers use to create the finished product.
These components are used in medical heart monitors, insulin pumps, blood pressure and ECG monitoring, sleep apnea, transdermal, microneedle, and microfluidic devices.
How are Medical Components Evolving in 2023?
Healthcare is constantly evolving, and companies pour money into research and development every year to produce new and innovative products.
The demand for remote monitoring devices and home diagnostic tests has skyrocketed recently, leading to many original products with custom designs. These are the trends we’ve noticed that might help you stay current with the industry.
TREND #1: DIRECT STICK TO SKIN ATTACHMENT
Skin adhesives are all around us, from blood pressure monitors to mouth tape. As the demand for remote monitoring increases, so does the need for skin adhesive solutions.
Direct skin attachments fix components in place without an armband or clothing attachment. These less-bulky solutions can increase mobility and pose a lower risk of slippage, contributing to a better quality of life for patients.
The strength of the skin adhesive bond depends on the device’s weight and placement, but silicone and acrylic tapes are the most popular choices thanks to the unique properties that facilitate short or long-term device wear.
TREND #2: LONG-TERM DEVICE WEAR
Amidst the growing demand for skin adhesives, adhesive manufacturers have designed many innovative materials and products to last for longer wear times.
Remote patient monitoring devices are now a crucial facet of online care, and specific monitors must remain in place for extended periods. In addition, transdermal patches designed to deliver drug solutions might be worn for consecutive days to allow them to seep into the dermis properly.
One impressive debut of a stick-to-skin adhesive is 3M’s 28-day wear time adhesive intended for sensors and medical wearables.
These types of long-term skin adhesive products can be processed into safe and efficient patches that hold heavy devices in place without straining the user’s skin.
TREND #3: ADVANCED MATERIALS
Design and product innovation are possible because of the continued development of complex materials.
For instance, the creation of tough, stretchable, and fatigue-resistant conductive hydrogels has enabled the advancement of polymer hydrogel electronics in flexible wearable devices.
By creating hydrogels with the ability to integrate stretchable conductors, chips, and drug-delivery systems, devices can act as smart wound dressings that react to environmental changes.
Another direction for future materials is biodegradable wearables, built using materials like ionotronic skin, which can record electric body signals with electronic waste compared to non-sustainable electronics.
Lastly, adhesive manufacturers constantly aim to increase their products' usability and effectiveness by creating new ranges of medical products. To find suitable materials for your project, consider contacting an adhesive manufacturer to see which materials they recommend.
TREND #4: INCREASED COMPLEX MEDICAL PROTOTYPING
Medical devices are typically composed of layers stacked or laminated on top of one another.
For prototyping, flexible material converters use lamination and laser die cutting to quickly build detailed designs like microfluidic components. This allows companies to test and reiterate designs before entering large-scale production.
Many medical device components have incredibly tight tolerances, making them challenging to cut and process. However, using rapid prototyping services, product developers can receive accurate final design samples for testing and validation before they enter full-scale production.
What to Expect Going Forward
Although the medical industry is developing rapidly, there are many ways to advance your current process to compete with the latest advancements.
Moving forward, optimizing your design for production will be one of the most critical factors.
Optimizing your design means simplifying the number of materials and layers used to achieve the same desired effect at a lower cost. Part of this involves reviewing your part tolerances to ensure they’re not overly tight for the product and cost you extra in material waste or machine run time.
Design evaluations are often conducted by your material converter, who will coordinate with you about material choice and product design to improve part manufacturability.
If you’re interested in manufacturing medical device components, consider taking the first step in bringing your product to life on time and budget.
Otherwise, you can find out more about medical device component manufacturing in our Learning Center.