Integrate Validated Off-the-Shelf Components

December 9, 2016 Rachel Pilgren-Kane

Jim Ford, Director of Global Product Management, Southco, Inc.

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Q: The mantra of today's medical device development environment is to "cut costs." What is your suggestion to help achieve this goal?

In a rapidly consolidating medical device market, the need to quickly release cost effective designs is greater than ever. When considering design options, keeping a focus on the total cost of each design option is essential. Choices between integrating off-the-shelf sub-systems and in-house development can have major implications on the ultimate success of the overall design. Engineers should avoid chasing unit price at the expense of increased tooling and development costs, or compromises in long-term product reliability. The use of custom solutions, while sometimes required, can dramatically increase the risk of failures during the validation process, resulting in weeks of budget breaking redesign and testing, as well as the costs of lost time to market.

Integrating validated, off-the-shelf components at the beginning of the design process is often more cost-effective over time because it reduces the likelihood that additional engineering resources are needed for system design integration and product testing. By partnering with the right component supplier, designers can leverage the supplier’s specialized engineering expertise and experience, while easing the burden of performance validation. Using solutions that have been proven in similar applications can also help to ensure reliability and consistent performance throughout the product life cycle.

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