What Does Your Device Cost?
You are looking for a manufacturer for your medical electrodes and obviously, you want to know how much the production will cost you. Especially for companies who are looking to manufacture their first product, finding information about the cost of manufacturing is difficult at best since so much depends on the product itself.
The cost of manufacturing your product is built up from a few different things, which we’ll go over below.
Non-Recurring Engineering Process
With new products, one part of the expenses is for the NRE process. The NRE process is part of the product design phase; we get a vast variety of materials to work from, and everything needs to be drawn up and filed in the right format so that they are compatible with our production. NRE also includes all the documentation we need for making prototypes, and files for processing machines, like the silk press or laser cutting. This is covered with a one-time payment which is more or less the same amount for our clients. Complex products increase the NRE costs and simple products reduce them.
Cost per Product
We make products in many sizes, and the bigger the size, the more it will typically cost per unit, due to higher material consumption. We will make anywhere from one to over a hundred prototypes according to client needs, however, gathering materials and beginning the process has its own expenses, no matter how many units are ordered by the client. Generally, a larger batch will have a smaller price per product.
If the client wants, we can make just one prototype for them to test out, but we tend to recommend getting at least five units made. We do this so that the client has more opportunities to try out the prototype, and so that we can get a better insight into how the production progresses with larger volumes and how much processing times can be expected to grow.
Another thing we recommend doing when planning the first prototype batch is different variations of the product. If we make a batch of for example 50 prototypes, we can make several different variants by changing substrates or adhesives used, or by changing the design a little. This way the client has a chance to try out all the different variations and pick out the combinations that perform best for their purposes. Doing different variations of the prototype doesn’t usually affect the costs, saves time, and takes our client and us one step ahead in the product’s development.
In a typical medical electrode, three materials or parts make up a notable amount of the expenses. First of these is the silver paste that works as the conductor in the electrodes. Silver world market price has been quite high in recent years, thus when we are working out the costs and budget, one of the ways to bring down the price to fit the client’s budget is to use a thinner layer of silver than normal. A thinner layer of silver means higher resistivity in the conductive lines which may be critical for some electrodes.
The second big expense is the connector where the electronic device, like the measuring unit, is attached to the electrode. Similarly, other electronics that are attached to the electrode, like circuit boards or batteries, will bring up the price.
The third, often one of the most expensive materials in small quantities, is the aluminum and PET foil pouch in which the finished electrodes are stored until use. The pouches are a big but essential expense because they keep the hydrogel on the electrode from drying out. If the pouch were not properly airtight, it would make the electrode inside unusable. To keep their price reasonable and avoid spending extra resources to make individual ones, we stock pouches in a size that would fit as many different-sized products as possible.
Automation and the NPI Process
When the production volumes are in thousands or more, some production phases can be automated which brings down some of the production expenses, like those of hydrogel dispensing or laser cutting of thicker materials. The use of automated tools also speeds up the manufacturing process. It cuts down the time needed for processing a single unit, and we can process units in bigger batches on a larger sheet.
After we’ve done the prototypes and the client has tested out the different variations, found what works best for their needs, and is ready to start producing it weekly or monthly in larger and more automated batches, we transfer the product from a sheet or individual production to roll-to-roll processing. This transfer includes the NPI process, and similar to the NRE process, it has its own expenses based on the number of hours it takes to gather and prepare tools and finish production testing and validation. The transfer optimizes the process and comes with notable savings in production costs.
In the case where it’s time to move on to extremely large volumes, it is possible to have production lines tailored and made for your product only. These lines deal with one specific part of the production process or even produce the product from beginning to end. These investments require a certain level of commitment, but will ultimately lower the production costs and processing time of your product.
Clearly, we have not discussed numbers in this article. That is because all of our clients have different needs for their medical electrodes, different materials they require, and different conditions in which their electrodes must be able to function. The best way to know how much the production of your product will cost is to get in contact with us, so we can exchange ideas on the design and find the materials, tools, and processes that would best fit your needs. Our turnover is made from large production volumes, thus we want to enable a long and successful lifecycle for our client’s products. It is not in our interest to take the maximum coverage on products. Instead, we ask for coverage with which we manage. Our priority is that the client can do business and that their product can compete in its field.
If you want your products out and on the market, or want to know how much your project might cost, contact us for a meeting now!