Imagine if a medical implant were to arrive at a physician’s office in a package with tears and broken seals. Or let’s say that the same package arrives in good condition, but when it is brought out of storage a month later for use, it appears to have deteriorated along its sides.
In either scenario, the concern is the same: the quality of the medical device comes into question when the packaging is compromised. And when that happens, medical device recalls and a loss of trust in the manufacturer can often result.
The good news is that it doesn’t have to come to this. With the right process in place, you can create medical device packaging that not only withstands the harshest of conditions, but offers ease of use to avoid further complications. Here’s the type of approach that gets good results.
Invest Time Upfront, See Benefits Later On
In some cases, it’s the pressure to cut costs and get products to the market faster. In other cases, it’s a lack of awareness around industry testing standards. No matter the reason, these shortcuts translate into potential packaging issues that can put product quality at risk and result in significant cost overruns in the long-term.
That’s why it’s so important to plan ahead. At the outset, gather internal stakeholders to define the vision for the medical device packaging and any specific needs, from the materials used to temperature constraints. Integrate performance and aging tests into your packaging timeline, so you can do a preliminary evaluation of compatibility between the product and package in transit.
Proper medical device packaging should provide physical protection, keep devices sterile until use and preserve its appearance over time. Through testing capabilities, you can define these attributes before final approval and production — and feel confident about how your medical device will ship and be stored.
Understand Potential Limitations
While certain packaging materials may be of interest based on their rigid nature and aesthetics, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are suitable for your medical device packaging. Let’s use the example of plastic for thermoformed trays. If the plastic has a low-impact resistance compared to the product mass, it’s likely that the trays will fracture while they are handled or in transit.
In other cases, you may have defined the right package materials, but you’re concerned about budget. This is a natural hesitation for medical device manufacturers who are under pressure to deliver packaging solutions that add value to the product, not cost. To spend less, the common solution is to opt for a lower cost material — one that may not be as suitable for your device.
Recognizing the need to balance quality and cost, the team at Cases By Source leverages a design for manufacturing (DFM) approach. As a design technique built for the manufacturing process, DFM helps identify the most economical way to manufacture your product, without the need for any design revisions. These cost savings offer greater flexibility to spend on the right materials and design to keep your medical device safe and easy to use.
Consider Every Stage of the Distribution Pipeline
A medical device will likely end up in many hands from the time it leaves the production table until it arrives at the end-user. And a lot can happen in this in-between time — packages can be temporarily set on the ground while being reloaded, or a misstep could cause a package to land roughly on the ground. Medical device packaging should be prepared for these situations based on the mechanical elements involved in their shipment.
Then, there’s the need to think about your users. Is your device clearly labeled? Does it provide clear instructions on its use? Are all components presented in an intuitive way? Beyond keeping your device sterile and safe, medical device packaging can simplify how users interact with your device and create a more positive experience for them.
Your medical device packaging can be sensible and safe — and Cases By Source is here to help turn this vision into a reality. As a provider of custom packaging solutions, we’ll design, engineer and manufacture a solution that supports your needs, from product requirements to budgetary restraints. Learn more about our process here.