If you don’t have a background in engineering — or if you do, but went pre-med because all the cute women on campus were doing it — you might be interested in a new website. It’s called Product Design & Development, and they’re full of features like this one on the engineering rigors that medical devices are subjected to. Here’s an excerpt from their story on GE Healthcare’s new Pulse Oximeter:
To complete initial testing and finalize their design, GE Healthcare engineers worked with Protomold during the next few weeks to order three sets of parts, each with a different combination of material and design specifications. The team had their first set of parts in hand for testing within 10 days from placing the initial order. After the initial combination of a resin and chemical additive failed GE Healthcare’s internal flammability testing requirements, a second order was placed to create prototypes in a different flame-retardant chemistry.
Successfully passing flammability tests with the second batch of parts, GE Healthcare engineers placed a third order, incorporating final design adjustments and color specifications. Because the last batch of parts used production-grade materials, the engineers were able to begin final product testing to ensure the parts would be ready for external approval and certification.
The rapid injection-molded parts proved strong enough to withstand strenuous tests, such as chemical resistance, where the bumper is cut into sections and each section is soaked in cleaners and antiseptics regularly used in hospitals. The ability to test for such conditions enabled GE Healthcare engineers to draw reliable conclusions regarding the product’s properties.