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New R&D Process Supports Medical Device Engineers in Early Phases of Development
Miniature stainless steel tubing produced by K-Tube is used in medical applications that include catheters, scopes, and probes
Photo courtesy of K-Tube Technologies
POWAY, Calif.--In order to bring a device to production, engineers need support, information, and resources during the early phases of R&D. K-Tube Technologies, a producer of miniature stainless steel tubing, has introduced a new R&D process for device engineers that combines quick turnaround manufacturing with an on-site metallurgy lab and a dedicated advisory team to help new client concepts come to life. The collaborative process, K-Tube Discover, was created specifically for medical device engineers--as well as engineers in other highly regulated industries--who are in the early phases of design and development.
"We've set it up where the medical device engineer is working directly with our application engineers to develop the right material for their specific application," said K-Tube Business Development Manager Kevin Shutes. "It's better for everybody because they're getting product a lot faster, direct service, and technical feedback. And we're getting exposure to new ideas, new alloys, and hopefully getting in right at the beginning of the product life cycle."
A dedicated team of experienced engineers and quality control experts operates the K-Tube Discovery Center, which provides metallurgical knowledge and industry expertise to help shepherd highly customized concepts through the development cycle and into a prototype.
"The K-Tube Discovery Center is a conceptual playground where great ideas come to life," said Greg May, president of K-Tube Technologies, in a statement. "We're happy to partner with medical device engineers to provide metallurgical expertise, deep knowledge of device design, and commitment to quick turnaround essential for product development. K-Tube Discover is a unique direct source for medical engineers who need to buy and develop tubing from concept to prototype and beyond."
K-Tube's metallurgical expertise comes into play when partnering with medical device engineers by enabling the control of the metallurgy to give it certain performance characteristics, Shutes said. "We can control what the temper would be, how it can spring back if going through a certain part of the anatomy, or how to design it to be rigid if going through something that's difficult to get through. So we're actually cross-sectioning the materials, putting it under really high magnification, and analyzing the grain structure."
Engineers can submit a concept for consideration by visiting www.k-tube.com/discover. Submissions are evaluated daily, and concepts that are accepted are assigned to the discovery team. By collaborating with device engineers and supply chain experts from ideation to full-scale production, K-Tube Discover provides a single source for the entire life cycle of the device.
K-Tube works to provide its customers with custom manufacturing, online ordering, and state-of-the-art engineered tubing. The company provides full raw material traceability to ensure optimal design performance and regulatory compliance. "What we're seeing is customers want a lot of assurance to be able to go where the tubing is actually being produced instead of trying to go through a bunch of middle men," Shutes said. "What we're saying is we're the ones who actually make it, so if you're designing something new with us, you're dealing directly with the source." Founded in 1974, K-Tube is known for developing a laser weld technology that would eventually help bring a lower cost needle to the medical device market. Today, the company claims to be the largest U.S.-based manufacturer of small-diameter tubing and the only manufacturer to offer stock and custom tubing direct from the source. Customers can use the company's e-commerce website, K-Tube Direct (www.k-tube.com/direct/), for online ordering of stock tubing to be shipped overnight for prototyping.
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