Andrew Gaillard, Senior Global Commercial Director, Chris Tellers, Director of the Trelleborg Healthcare & Medical Rapid Development Center
In the medical and pharmaceutical device industry, manufacturing and launching new products to the market is a time-consuming affair that entails numerous risks. With medical devices getting smaller and more complex, it is becoming a challenge for manufacturers to smoothly transition from the initial concept to production without facing multiple occasions of failure. Also, as 80 to 90 percent of the manufacturing costs are designed into the product, a poor design decision can result in significant costs for the device manufacturer due to redesign, requalification, delayed sales, and possibly loss of first-tomarket advantage. As a result, medical device prototyping becomes fundamental to the design and development process. Prototyping helps verify that the designs can be manufactured reliably and affordably. It also enables device developers to evaluate the look, feel, function, and precision of the product before investing significant resources in a specific design. This is why manufacturers look for experts who can assist them with new component design, rapid prototyping, and scale up to serial production.
This is where Trelleborg Healthcare & Medical steps in.
Partnering with medical device manufacturers, Trelleborg Healthcare & Medical exercises its engineering expertise to help address challenges at the design stage. This enables clients to bring high-quality products to market faster while meeting stringent industry standards. Trelleborg’s Rapid Development Center (RDC) helps customers design new components and build prototypes for testing purposes. The RDC team also quickly redesigns and rebuilds prototypes in case of a failed iteration. “In the last 12 months, we have realized the importance of getting involved earlier in the design phase of a project. It enables us to focus more on long-term production and ensure our customers succeed in producing effective devices,” says Andrew Gaillard, Senior Global Commercial Director, Trelleborg Healthcare & Medical. “Our Rapid Development Center makes it quicker and easier for us to practice design for manufacturability (DfM) and scale designs to full-scale production.”
What sets Trelleborg apart from the rest of the industry is its vertical integration capability, which refers to the company’s ability to do everything from product design to high-volume, long-term manufacturing. “We have vertically integrated into our Rapid Development Center several core competencies that are critical to the medical device industry, including prototyping, 3D printing, design, consultation, high-precision machining, silicone molding, thermoplastic molding, automation, and secondary operations,” says Chris Tellers, Director of the Trelleborg Healthcare & Medical Rapid Development Center. “Our team of experts can help customers make simple design changes to a part that has no impact on part performance but can have significant impact on long term part quality and cost. ”
Our Rapid Development Center makes it quicker and easier for us to practice design for manufacturability (DfM) and progress designs to full-scale production
To further assist customers with development and production of high-quality devices that conform to industry standards, Trelleborg also considers the compliance side of its business. “In the medical sector, the origin of raw materials is an important factor that can impact the effectiveness and quality of the end product. That’s why we provide raw material certifications for all the prototype parts we make,” explains Tellers. “The certificate provides traceability, informing customers of the origin of all materials.”
With such capabilities, Trelleborg works hand-in-hand with customers, to ensure the production of the best medical device in the market. To elucidate, Tellers recalls one instance when a renowned medical device company reached out to Trelleborg to resolve the field failures in one of its high-pressure sealing applications. Collaborating with the customer, Trelleborg reviewed the design, explored innovative engineering options, and started design development. However, the parts failed the test the first time. Having learned from what went wrong, Trelleborg made some tweaks and successfully built a prototype within a week. Currently, the client is building 400 more parts with Trelleborg to complete its internal testing. “We always aim to work handin-hand with our customers as an extension of their project teams throughout the design process,” adds Tellers.
This is just one example! Trelleborg has proven its excellence time and time again in driving exceptional results for its customers. Looking ahead, the Trelleborg team is focusing heavily on exploring capabilities that may help further reduce lead times and enable customers to accelerate time to market. The company is also probing the potential of 3D printing technology to identify additional capabilities that could augment its rapid prototyping arsenal. “We’re looking forward to becoming the go-to strategic supplier for our customers. Trelleborg is vigorously moving toward offering best-in-class solutions and an equally competitive Rapid Development Center. We’re constantly experimenting with new materials, machining, and molding processes in an effort to expand our extrusion and prototyping capabilities and are very excited about what the future holds for the Rapid Development Center,” concludes Gaillard.