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Why Are Medical Cart Prototypes Necessary?

Posted by Brittany Beckmann on November 2, 2015

Medical cart prototypes provide a wide range of benefits that prove their necessity to both design engineers and customers. Prototypes allow the manufacturer to test functionality and scale the product correctly.

There are two types of prototypes:

1. Functional

A functional prototype tests an ideal design and may be restricted to a skeleton or a portion of the medical cart.

2. Production-Grade

A production-grade prototype is a functioning replica of the desired product constructed at production-grade. This is used to test functionality, mobility, and eventually the prototype is sent to ISTA to test for secure packaging.

For example, a medical cart may have an extended arm. A production-grade prototype gives engineers an idea of how to design the cart so that it doesn’t tip over if someone or something puts pressure on the arm. Similarly, squeaky wheels, shifting drawers, and the cart’s ability to start and stop are taken into consideration.

Preventing Over-design, Ensuring Functionality

“There’s a famous saying among engineers,” said HUI design engineer, Mark Collins. “A prototype is worth a thousand expert opinions.” That is to say, prototypes inspire engineers and customers to question, test, and adjust multiple characteristics of a prototype. “We always learn something from prototypes, and it always results in cart changes or improvements,” Collins said. This ultimately saves everyone money.

Some customers come to HUI with a medical cart that has been over-designed by another company. When we make a prototype, we focus on constructing a medical cart that is cost-efficient and at its highest functionality.

To avoid over-designing, we make a full-scale, two-dimensional print of the product. These prints lead to design alterations before the prototype is made which reduces the cost and provides quicker, more accurate quotes.

After the prints have been made and approved, functional production-grade prototypes are assembled. For every new medical cart, we make two production grade prototypes: one for the customer and one for us. This way, customers are able to test and evaluate the cart at their site and more accurately communicate their thoughts and desired changes.

Part of HUI’s Standard Process

Medical cart prototypes have been an essential step in HUI’s standard procedure for years. After the first prototype has been made and changes noted, it takes one to two weeks to finish the second round of prototypes. This repetition familiarizes the production floor with the medical cart, and they are able to communicate and fix issues related to production flow or assembly with the design engineers.

Due to our production methods, we are able to specialize in small prototype runs. Whereas some companies will make up to 300 prototypes in one run, we are able to make one or two, allowing products to be shipped out faster and making it easier to implement required changes between runs. These medical cart prototypes result in cost-efficient, high-functioning products that are delivered in a safe and timely manner.

Ready to start developing a concept for your next medical cart project? Contact us today!

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