Industrial Design Consultancy has been selected to discuss the merits of plastics in design innovation as part of a high-profile speaker programme at this year's Plastics in Medical Design, May 18-20, 2010.
IDC's managing director, Stephen Knowles, will address the role of plastics in medical design drawing on the company's varied international case studies on 19th May at 11.45am.
The presentation will highlight a range of factors affecting plastics choice in product design when developing a world class medical device. Addressing the essential issues of device application and risk classification, as well as regulation, testing and compliance, Knowles looks at several award-winning medical products designed by IDC to illustrate how to tackle the central points in the process.
"Plastics often open doors in product design; choosing the right material is key to making a great product and can often prove cost-effective over other options. But it is only through an accurate and indepth understanding of polymers in the context of medical classification and regulations that superior quality products can be designed," explained Knowles.
One product design placed under the microscope is a multi-award winning insulin pen designed for Indian healthcare giant Wockhardt. With diabetes a significant problem in India, Wockhardt was able to supply insulin but lacked a cost effective way to administer it. The company needed both a disposable and reusable injector pen made from 100% plastic, which would meet stringent international regulations (ISO/FDA), testing and compliance, and also side-step existing patents without compromising on quality.
"As with all medical device projects, understanding a product's purpose and function, and identifying competing products in the marketplace is vital through indepth user research. Scrutinising everything from weight and strength for durability, specific or unusual aspects of mechanical performance, resistance to oils, UV, solvents, radiation and so on, is all part of the process when choosing the best polymer for each job. The question of sterility and medical classification is another major issue, drawing attention to cleanliness in manufacture as well as infection control. Yet, depending on the level of invasiveness, sometimes a medical device won't even require a medical grade polymer. All these factors, as well as tooling and manufacture, are part of the process for the designer," continued Knowles.
Several other successful medical devices designed by the in-house team of engineers, designers and model-makers will be examined to illustrate the product development process. The world's first non-invasive Medick Personal Heart Monitor (class 1), from concept to production, and the ZYDUS CADILA Asthma Inhaler (class 2a), which has sold in the millions across India, are just two further examples of the merits of plastics in innovative design which IDC will explore on the day.