One thing is for certain, the world was caught off-guard with the Coronavirus outbreak at the end of 2019. And while it is important to uncover the things that went wrong and correct them so that they don’t happen again, there were also a number of things that happened that went well. One of those is how fast the industry moved in order to manufacture new equipment to supply the needs of the health industry. Automobile makers suddenly started producing ventilators, and just about everyone with a sewing machine was making masks.
In addition to this industrial surge, many new medical technology innovations appeared in response to the crisis in record time. Everything from drugs and therapies to new medical equipment quickly went from development to production, including new systems for the detection and treatment of COVID-19. This is hardly surprising though, for those who are in the business of creating cutting edge technology in healthcare have been routinely doing this all along. Let’s take a look at some of this technology and what it takes to get it manufactured.
The Need for Continually Improving Technology in Today’s Health Care
COVID-19 certainly demonstrated to the world the need for new and cutting edge health care equipment. Detection devices, along with all of their accompanying hardware and support systems, had to be developed quickly. But that isn’t the only medical equipment that is being continually developed and manufactured. There are many other systems being produced regularly to assist medical professionals with surgeries, patient care, as well as many other applications.
Some of this equipment being produced includes various other types of medical diagnostic systems. Devices like these are available in both portable units so that health care providers can evaluate patients while on the scene, and more permanent systems that provide real-time results during surgical procedures. Whether for diagnostics, surgical tools, or other systems, the need for medical equipment is growing, as is the need for expertise in the manufacturing of this equipment.
PCB Manufacturing for the Cutting Edge Technology in Healthcare
To create the printed circuit board assemblies needed for new medical technology development, local contract PCB manufacturers need to be specialized in the following:
To best do the job, local PCB contract manufacturers need to be highly adaptable in order to respond to the needs of the medical equipment market. This includes the ability to make changes to an existing design to repurpose it for changing specifications or adapt it to new market targets. Next, let’s take a look at some specific ways a local PCB contract manufacturer like VSE has been able to help in building medical equipment.
How a Local PCB CM Like VSE can Help
VSE is a low-volume high-mix PCB contract manufacturer located in Silicon Valley. They specialize in building electronics for a number of industries including the medical market. Here are 3 of their success stories to show how a local CM like VSE can help with manufacturing cutting edge medical technology:
|1. COVID-19 Testing: This customer develops testing and analysis equipment, and is on the front-lines of the fight against the current pandemic. Their assembly needs doubled overnight while most of the manufacturers were reducing their output. VSE was able to help however by engineering and creating custom manufacturing fixtures. Not only did this increase the assembly throughput by a considerable percentage, but it also increased the reliability and quality of the intricate assembly process.|
|2. COVID-19 Antibody Testing: One of the tools in the fight against the global pandemic is testing for COVID-19 antibodies. This will help to relieve pressure on the healthcare system as well as reduce the social and economic impacts of the virus by identifying those who have COVID-19 antibodies from a prior infection (asymptomatic or symptomatic). VSE is partnering with a manufacturer who specializes in products that automates complex biomedical testing processes to build antibody analysis equipment.|
|3. Radiological technology: VSE was able to help this customer’s box build with the following:|
a. Improving their documentation by making it more assembly ready.
b. Identifying a specification margin problem and sharing their analysis with the customer for future corrections.
c. Developed a test fixture and protocols to cover portions of the box build sub-system that hadn’t been tested before.
By communicating these issues back to the customer, VSE was able to help uncover potential problems that would have affected the operation and performance of the finished system. Although VSE was able to complete the initial builds on time with workarounds, their engineering commitment to this customer allowed the customer to make the corrections needed for future builds.
|4. Radiotherapy technology: VSE was able to help this customer by examining the initial unit provided to them, and identifying and reconciling hundreds of documentation discrepancies in order to create a new documentation package for manufacturing. From there they were able to improve the overall manufacturability of the product to increase quality and reduce production time. This included engineering new wiring harnesses that were easier to install, test, and inspect, which also helped the overall look and operation of the unit.|
In all of these cases, VSE was able to help the customers improve their quality while decreasing their production time in order to get this medical technology built and ready for use.
If you are looking for a CM that prides itself on its experience and capabilities to ensure that each medical equipment assembly is built to the highest standards, look no further than VSE. Contact us today to learn more about partnering with us for your next project.