Tony Wong, Industrial Design Engineering Manager
Years ago, the industrial designer’s impact was not a well-recognized element of the overall product development process. Today it is! Initially, an industrial designer’s primary contributions to a product development program were in human factors, overall product styling, color, and user interface. With the evolution of technology in the past 25 years of my career, I have personally seen the role of the industrial designer now contributing in nearly every phase of product development, from the very early process of research, through human factors and usability, architectural component layout, manufacturing, serviceability, and more. This is, of course, in addition to creating appealing cosmetics and lasting brand identities.
Medical device product development today requires the industrial designer to navigate through critical IEC 60601 and ISO 13485 Medical Device Standards. The designer needs to be able to adapt and solve challenges beyond the cosmetic appearance of the product. Contributing very early in any new product development effort ensures that the overall product is efficiently designed for cost-effective manufacturing. For example, an industrial designer should have the capability to design in a manner that the assembly of a handheld medical device is fully populated on the “load side” of the cover assembly. This allows the handpiece to be tested, programmed and serviced without a cover attached or leashed for component access or optical alignment.
In many cases, medical capital equipment requires an architectural layout that is assembled in sub-modules for improved manufacturing efficiency. This methodology allows complex equipment to be assembled in parallel modules that can be independently tested prior to final assembly and test. These smaller sub-assemblies may also be easier for a service technician to troubleshoot, test and replace in the field.
After all of these architectural efficiencies have been reviewed and approved, the traditional industrial design styling starts to be explored. This early phase of the styling process is used to establish a design language with the client. Does the new product belong to a current family line, or is this the next generation? Is it open for a significant styling change? This is the opportunity to define a styling language for the next generation of innovative, sleek and streamlined products. The new design language will complement the product to efficiently fit-function in any medical suite, salon or hospital.
The involvement of an experienced industrial designer with a solid mechanical engineering foundation at the very early phases of a development program improves the overall finished product for manufacturing, assembly, service, and the end user, at WARP SPEED. Cogmedix has the design expertise to help our customers at any phase of the product development process with exceptional quality, compliance and customer experience.