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White Paper

Design Optimisation in Medical Devices: Materials Matter

The development of revolutionary products, the meeting of legislative requirements or the replacement of raw materials phased out by third party suppliers are just some of the critical reasons that device engineers may seek new or alternative materials. 

The unique and immeasurably diverse range of materials available for medical devices (from metals, ceramics, and polymers, each with their own individual set of inherent properties, to classes of hybrid materials that marry the best characteristics of both worlds) offers many possibilities for design and function. It is, therefore, completely reasonable that material selection for a specific application can be one of the most daunting tasks encountered by medical device designers and engineers - there are seemingly, infinite options to choose from.

The biggest risk is sticking with what you know from previous experience or performing unstructured searches to potentially save time and money instead of trying something better. The consequences can leave you with a bigger problem than that which you started with since materials selection drives device design and manufacturing efficiencies. In reality, sticking with what you know can also mean missing out on a competitive advantage or worse still, lead to delays in production, regulatory approval and market adoption.

The goal of this white paper is to demonstrate the risk of working with the wrong material, to highlight the upside when the right material is selected, and to outline what the selection process looks like. Along the way, we will uncover examples of where materials selection has resulted in underperformance; these will be contrasted with situations where material selection has resulted in surprising, yet positive outcomes. 

Finally, we emphasise that the process does not end with material selection - this is just one part of the puzzle. Successively, knowing how to process that material, and understanding how the two are unified in the actual design and function of the product, is the ultimate key to success.

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