Innovation in medical device manufacturing has generated some of the most exciting inventions of the past century.  While medical devices have changed considerably, the pioneering spirit lives on and benefits from the increasing pace of technological change, resulting in some fascinating recent developments.

The X-ray allowed us to see deep inside the body without the need for intrusive and often risky surgical procedures.  In the past 50 years, we have begun to see the impact that computers have had on healthcare, monitoring patients 24/7, for example, or producing drugs on a mass-scale so that effective pain relief is available and affordable to everyone.

An example of the latest innovations is an innovative drug delivery system developed by Dawson Shanahan, involving the design and production of specialized component parts. It has applied the precision engineering expertise it acquired working in heavier industries to great effect with medical device technology.

Many people still perceive engineering as an oily, harsh and dirty undertaking, wholly apart from the clean, sterile setting of medical and pharmaceutical science. In reality, almost all medical equipment and devices consist of engineered parts. Indeed, even plastic parts have to be engineered, with some being produced by injection molding, pressure or vacuum forming, but many being formed by more traditional methods, such as milling and turning.  Everything from syringes and surgical instruments to parts like vascular stents that are designed to be implanted in patients, are engineered for manufacturing.

Dawson Shanahan is pioneering the use of cold forming to produce high-precision, customized components for the pharmaceutical industry. In contrast to conventional component manufacturing methods, precision cold forming can be used to produce extremely high quality components with superior mechanical characteristics and a better surface finish, with considerably less scrap. In many instances, component costs can be reduced by up to 70%, while lead times can be cut by a similar amount.