Challenge: Develop an electronic, battery powered handheld topical drug delivery device. The product was to be sold over the counter with Initial sales volume of 500,000 to 1 million units per year and the design had to allow for ease of use and low cost manufacture.
Design Concept: The device was to efficiently incorporate Electromotive Drug Administration to enhance the effectiveness of a prescribed pharmaceutical. The design required a human factors analysis to determine forms that allowed for ease of use. The chosen design became a plastic molded single finger applicator with a front mounted application disc. The drug was to be loaded into the front end of the device at the time of manufacture to simplify use, and then a patient would slide a finger into the rear of the enclosure and apply the drug to the affected areas while the electronics applied a controlled electrical charge to the pharmaceutical. The end product was to be manufactured on highly automated, high speed assembly machines so that cost targets could be met.
Solution: The engineering group at NextPhase designed feasibility and prototype units enhancing, at each iteration, the disposable and ergonomic functions of the device. The engineering team also investigated the high-speed assembly process to optimize the design for manufacture. NextPhase electronic engineers assisted in the development of the low-cost circuitry, refining the layout to meet cost and size requirements. Successive device development was accomplished through a series of 3D model iterations, SLA prototypes and initial run of soft mold options for cost savings. Tooling designs were optimized and hardened molds were machined in preparation for full production. Enclosure components were to be assembled utilizing a combination of snap-fits and ultrasonic welding designed purposefully for automated manufacture on the production line of our collaborating offshore assembly partner.