Screentec has over ten years’ worth of experience and knowledge when it comes to the printing and manufacturing of custom disposable medical electrodes. Whatever the client’s needs, we offer reliable, high-quality electrodes for any field or use. Our production process is designed to include and involve the client as much as possible. This article will introduce our manufacturing process for medical electrodes for those interested in manufacturing their products.
The contract manufacturing process begins with the client contacting us or by us contacting the potential client. We’ll have a conversation about the product they want to manufacture and chart out the properties it should have. We don’t expect the client to have a perfectly laid-out plan and design prepared, but we’re also happy to work with specific layouts if the client has them ready.
During the conversation, we need to get the basics of the product down, for example, what it’s going to be used for, who the end-user is, and how long it has to stay on the skin. Usually, the electrodes will be connected to the client’s own devices, which we also need details for to ensure compatibility.
When we have all the information we need from the client, we make an offer, and if the client accepts it, the product is added to the ERP system. Materials are picked out or ordered if they’re not available in-house. Our designer then draws up the visual and structural layout of the product, which the client needs to give the green light for before the production of the pilot begins.
From the first pilot to the production stage
When the client has affirmed the design and materials, all information and screens are prepared for production, and the printing begins. The printing is followed by converting processes like laminating, cutting, assembly, and adding the hydrogel. Hydrogel, similar to gels used in ultrasounds, is placed between the skin and conductive parts of the electrode to improve the transitions of signals from the body to the sensors.
Based on the client’s needs, different variants for the product are made in the prototype- or pilot run. In cases where the client isn’t sure what the structure or materials of the product should be like, we can make different variants so that the client can test them with different materials, glues, or hydrogels. We get back in touch with the customer when they have tested the prototypes, and choose the best one to continue with. From there, the next step is to either do another prototype run, to improve the product or its scalability for larger manufacturing volumes or if the client is satisfied with the prototype we start the manufacturing itself.
The manufactured products go through visual and electrical inspections to ensure quality and functionality. The manufacturing process is the same whether the electrodes are for health care, sports, or beauty industry purposes. Some things, like the materials used or their durability, may vary depending on the intended use. The finished electrodes are sealed in foil pouches that protect them from dust and drying during shipping and storage.
How to prepare for the manufacturing process
The one common thing that every potential client asks about is, of course, the cost. With the amount of experience we have, we can give a ballpark estimate even after one conversation, depending on how sure the client is of their needs.
Some key factors that affect the costs are materials, layouts, and assembly requirements. Some clients might have the visual layouts ready for the designer, which speeds up the process. If the client wants certain materials that we don’t have in-house, they need to be ordered in, which can affect the cost and delivery time. Some other aspects that we consider when estimating the cost are how well the product scales when the supply sizes rise to ten thousand and over, how automated the manufacturing is, and how much handmade assembly is involved.
Our clients aren’t the only ones with some frequently asked questions. Some of the questions that we ask from most clients include where the electrode will go on the skin, how long it should stick for, what kind of conditions it should work in, should it endure sweat, water, cold, or heat, and what materials we can use. The client doesn’t need to worry about having an answer for every single question, and we are there to give recommendations and find the best solutions. Whether the client has their product and layout planned inside out – or arrives with a rough layout drawn on a napkin, we will do our part to get the product from the design phases all the way to the final production line.