Driving Innovation: An Inside Look at Prototyping and NPI Excellence at ICS Medical with Gonçalo Santos

June 19, 2024 / Leadership Insights

At ICS Medical Devices, we pride ourselves on our commitment to excellence in prototyping and new product introduction (NPI). We recently sat down with Gonçalo Santos, our Senior Manager of Prototypes and NPI, to discuss what sets ICS apart in the industry. Here are some insights into how we achieve fast prototype turnaround, deliver outstanding customer service, leverage top-of-the-range technology, and support early-stage start-ups.

Briefly describe your role at ICS Medical Devices.

  • My role at ICS Medical Devices is Senior Manager of Prototypes and NPI. In this role, I oversee all prototyping projects undertaken here at ICS, ensuring projects are completed on time, to the highest standards, and to optimal design specifications. Our team engages closely with our customers, managing design and development, and ensuring rigorous testing and validation for quality and safety. My role involves optimizing processes, selecting materials and technologies, and maintaining regulatory documentation. By fostering collaboration and innovation, ICS aligns final products with customer visions and facilitates a smooth transition from prototype to full-scale production.

How does the prototype process work at ICS Medical Devices?

  • At ICS Medical Devices, our prototype process is designed for efficiency, precision, and customer satisfaction.
  • We begin with an in-depth engineer-to-engineer consultation to understand the customers’ needs and project requirements. We translate these requirements to assembly and component specifications. Throughout the process we collaborate with our internal and external supply chain to source materials efficiently and employ our industry-leading technology and methods to fabricate the prototype.
  • We then challenge the prototype through rigorous testing to ensure it meets all appropriate performance, functional and safety requirements. Through every project at ICS, we are in constant communication with the customer to ensure changes are made where needed, ensuring the prototype aligns with their vision and expectations. Comprehensive documentation is prepared and maintained throughout the process for regulatory compliance and design history, in line with ISO13485.
  • Our systematic approach ensures we deliver high-quality, reliable prototypes that meet the unique needs of each project, emphasizing our commitment to innovation, precision, and customer satisfaction.
  • When our customers reach a funtional design freeze, we support the transition from prototype scale to pilot scale manufacturing via our NPI process. This ensures our customers recieve a consistant, reliable product ready for their Design Verification/ Validation, First in Human and clinical studies. Upon successful validation in the market, we support our customers full-scale manufacturing requirements.

What technologies and equipment does ICS Medical Devices use in the prototyping and new product introduction (NPI) phases?

  • Our dedicated prototypes area in ICS Medical Devices is completely fitted with all technology and equipment required to turn around high-quality devices in a short space of time. Some technology and equipment found in this space includes braiding, coiling, reflow, extrusion, laser welding, soldering, thermal bonding, tipping, PAD Printing and more. We also have our dedicated prototypes team on hand, along with 50 other technical staff with over 400+ years of experience in the industry, so you know your project is in the right hands!
  • Should our customers want to talk with our team, we also have a dedicated Customer Collaboration Centre adjecent to the prototypes area to facilitate this.

-Prototype Innovation Centre at ICS Medical Devices

How does ICS Medical Devices tailor its services to meet the unique needs of early-stage start-ups, and what kind of support can these companies expect when partnering with ICS?

  • At ICS Medical Devices, we tailor our services to meet the unique requirements of each customer by offering collaborative support and flexible solutions. Based on our 400 years of experience, we have modeled our business and processes to align with our customer needs during their early stages. Our business strategy is based around commitment to customers success and we help them transform their ideas into successful medical devices. If our customer is successful, we are successful!
  • We implement lean manufacturing principles and utilize advanced project management tools, to drive our service levels for our customers.

Can you share examples of how ICS Medical Devices has integrated customer feedback into the prototyping process to improve the final product outcome?

  • At ICS Medical Devices, customer feedback is integral to our prototyping process, driving continuous improvement and ensuring the final product meets and exceeds our customers’ expectations. One example of how we integrate customer feedback is through iterative design reviews. We actively solicit input from our customers at key stages of the prototyping process, allowing them to provide insights and suggestions for refinement.
  • For instance, in a recent project, a customer expressed the need for a more robust steerable section to maintain the required curvature radius while other devices tracked through it. In response, our prototyping team redesigned the shaft using a novel combination of braid/coiled constructions and jacket materials which significantly improved steering performance.
  • Additionally, we conduct post-testing feedback sessions where customers have the opportunity to evaluate the performance of the prototypes and our service and provide insights for further optimization. By prioritizing customer input and actively seeking ways to address their needs and preferences, we ensure that our prototypes and service levels evolve iteratively to deliver the best possible outcomes.
  • If you would like to know more about ICS Medical Devices or the services we offer, get in touch today by emailing info@icsmedical.com.

Goncalo Santos | Prototype & NPI Manager | ICS Medical Devices

-Goncalo Santos, Senior NPI and Prototype Manager

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