Medical device design is a rigorous process in which every detail of functionality and cost is taken into consideration. However, packaging for the device is often a neglected aspect of the design. Depending on the case, medical device packaging can have a significant impact on user experience, practicality, cost, and overall success.
In this case study, we dissect how Quasar was able to save its medical device OEM customer over $1M per year, by optimizing the packaging for a single product.
When the customer approached Quasar, the initial requirement was to manufacture one thousand units per month. For the product’s packaging, the customer provided a design which consisted of a simple container with a capacity of shipping 200 catheter units per pallet.
The initial packaging design provided by the customer had not accounted for the quantities that would be needed in the future. 5 years later, after the product was successfully positioned in the market with a 25-fold production volume increase, the packaging design could no longer be overlooked. The design concept had to be revisited and optimized.
Quasar’s engineering team undertook the challenge of optimizing the medical device packaging. Taking key considerations into account and industry best practices underlined below, an optimal solution was created. However, the team began by analyzing points for modification on the initial packaging. We take a look at some of those findings below.
The new packaging had to be as lightweight and as small as possible. When hundreds of units are shipped, the impact that packaging has on shipping costs is marginal. But when quantities increase, the impact of volume and weight of a product’s packaging can add up to a significant amount.
The initial packaging contained many voids in order to protect the product during shipping. These voids caused significant increase in the overall packaging volume.
Another issue that came to light was a plastic tubing used to protect the product’s internal components. This tubing added to material’s cost and the product size. What’s more, it was non-essential to the purpose of the device itself and meant to be disposed of upon product delivery. The new packaging had to guarantee cost savings without compromising the safety and overall protection of the medical device during transportation and shipping.
Aside from protection and shipping, the new medical device packaging can also serve as an integrated working platform, which fits into the device’s production assembly process. The initial packaging required several additional manufacturing steps and was carried out only at the end of the production process. Without adding any value to earlier stages.
A major optimization required was to design the packaging in a way that incorporated the existing assembly steps of the production process. For example, the device consisted of a two-meter wire which could be incorporated earlier in the process and potentially save a number of additional steps in later stages.
In summary, the new design called for removing non essential protection materials, reducing in volume of material where possible. and reduction in the overall weight of the fully packaged product. Lastly, incorporating the packaging into the assembly process to reduce production time. The ground was now set for the new packaging to be launched, with the high expectation to see the result in lower manufacturing costs.
With the above considerations in mind, Quasar’s team completely redesigned the device’s packaging, achieving significant improvements in all critical aspects:
The medical device packaging optimization resulted in overall annual savings of more than $1M dollars for the
customer, all while improving product protection, production speed and effectively maximizing the customer’s profits. But equally important, this redesign also future-proofed the device in terms of manufacturing capability. Allowing the customer to easily expand and increase sales and number of units sold annually.
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