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How to Transition From the Design to the Product Manufacturing Process

product manufacturing

Medical devices go through several different phases before they're ready for final distribution. Initial design and prototyping, quality assurance and full-on production are all required to develop safe, reliable and efficient devices. To complicate things further, some devices – particularly those made for the medical industry – require sterilization.  This means that the product manufacturing process is important to keep future patients safe. Here’s how design teams can safely transition to the product manufacturing process.

How to Transition From the Design to Product Manufacturing Process

  1. Work as a Team

The Internet of Things and cloud technology have made remote-based teamwork easier and more popular than ever. Whereas there was once a significant delay in communication between teammates at different warehouses or facilities, modern technology solved these issues. Webcams and Internet conferencing even make it possible to monitor employees, provide hands-on coaching and deliver progress reports from nearly anywhere in the world.

Some employees work better in-person or on-site, as opposed to remotely. If you're hoping to make the transition from design to manufacturing as painless as possible, try to accommodate these workers as much as possible. Assigning a worker who lacks familiarity with technology to a remote workstation is asking for trouble.

Instead, use workers with hands-on skills during the production phase and assign your more tech-savvy employees to remote workstations. You'll see a vast difference in productivity and even in the attitude of your staff members.

  1. Rely on Proven Processes

Although there have been some serious upgrades made to the design and manufacturing phases of most medical products, you don't necessarily have to do anything different to benefit from these changes. Relying on the design, analysis and production processes you're comfortable with is fine in most cases.

Since many medical devices often require parts manufactured with EMI shielding and microwave-absorbing materials, it’s important to pay attention to your bill of materials during the transition. This document provides pertinent details regarding the various assembly components, necessary raw materials, packaging standards, any unique fabrication, or production requirements. To keep products sterile, make sure to consider the product’s packaging during the design stage. Customized packaging is beneficial to the biomedical field because it can ensure a product’s quality and sterility from start to finish, so be sure to have the proper plastics or foams on hand. Ensuring the completion of the bill of materials is critical to making the transition process as smooth as possible.

Unless you're specifically trying to improve customer satisfaction, your quality-assurance processes can also remain unchanged. You've likely already gone through the trouble of recruiting and staffing a team of qualified professionals in this department. Since there's no reason to fix something that isn't broken, most manufacturers will be able to leave this area alone and focus their resources elsewhere.

  1. Use Checkpoints to Review Progress

Checkpoints have been used for years to gauge the overall progress and productivity of a project, but they're especially helpful when facilitating the transition from design to manufacturing. Establishing a standardized checklist is a great solution for those who manufacture the same products on a day-to-day basis, as it reduces the potential for error and enhances productivity. Those who manufacture a wide catalog of products might be able to implement several different checklists that are specific to the various projects they're working on.

Modern cloud technology provides the ideal framework for a project checklist of this scope and nature. Once the document has been uploaded to the cloud, it can be accessed, modified and saved by anyone with appropriate access. This is a great solution for remote-based workers and teammates, regardless of the geographic distance between them.

Synchronize Operations for Greater Efficiency

Designers and manufacturers who work together in the development of next-gen medical devices can impact the industry in a number of significant ways. Not only does their collaboration lead to greater production efficiency and improved quality assurance, it can also pave the way for brand-new innovations, upgrades, and breakthroughs that would have never been possible without their partnership.

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Megan Ray Nichols
Megan Ray Nichols is a freelance science writer interested in engineering, technology, and other science disciplines. She is a regular contributor to Manufacturing Transformation and American Machinist. Megan is also the editor of Schooled By Science. Subscribe to her blog to stay up to date on scientific news and follow her on Twitter.
Megan Ray Nichols

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