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Anodized Device Delivery: The New Face of Medical Packaging

Wed, 11/09/2011 - 11:12am
Steven Rusch

Traditionally, the appearance of medical devices was an afterthought and not considered a critical element of design. However, with more devices being used directly by the patient, aesthetics have come to the forefront. This article looks at a technology that helps maintain a high level of functionality in the packaging of a device and couples it with a great appearance.

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Anomatic’s technologies and capabilities in the medical and pharmaceutical categories bring the durability and sustainability to global manufacturers and patients alike.

Advances in device delivery technology are significantly shifting the focus from strictly functional to a more subjective aesthetic that not only meets the needs of medical applications, but is also visually appealing. Whether handled by medical professionals or the individual patient, these tools—and more importantly, the materials comprising them—must step up to meet current industry needs. One specialized finishing process, anodizing, is leading the way from both a design appeal and engineering function perspective.

Anodizing, the electrochemical process of oxidation of aluminum, is widely used throughout the world for a variety of functional and decorative applications, such as beauty and cosmetic packages, cell phones, spirits closures, aerospace components, and now, medical devices. Known as green chemistry (and an FDA-approved technology), the anodized finish is proving to be an increasingly innovative, valuable application for inhalers, injection devices, surgical instruments, medical implants, and more. Following are two common questions and subsequent answers that systematically develop when considering the integration of any new medical packaging or application. These insights can be used to determine if anodizing is the right fit for a particular application’s needs.

Does It Meet My Operational Needs?
Commonly selected due to its inherent sterilization properties, anodized components eliminate the risk of contamination for both medical professional and patient. In addition, anodizing serves to function as a protective barrier that ensures durability, safety, and optimal performance in device delivery. Apparatus, such as IV componentry, surgical instruments, and even spinal implants, rely upon the anodizing benefits such as these in the medical world, where safety is critical.

Does It Meet My Design Needs?
In our highly mobile and visual society, medical devices for drug delivery, such as insulin pens and pumps, are always at the patient’s fingertips. Methods for delivery are being designed so that the user is uninhibited with regard to carrying and operating the device in public, making functional design and style more important than ever before. Anodizing’s benefits are twofold—it provides the rigidity and robust package a consumer needs for everyday use and is the premier finish for design and color offerings.

Anomatic’s proprietary anodizing process provides industry leading color and finish consistency for easily identifiable medical color coding. This finished metal feature plays a key role in adeptly differentiating instruments when physicians and surgeons are working under constraints and time is of the essence. Additionally, anodized components are capable of being sealed with a lubricious coating for downstream automation, assembly, and enhanced scuff resistance.

Conclusion
In the end, medical packaging and device delivery boils down to managing design and engineering. Thanks to advanced technologies, medical devices are more functional and visually appealing than ever before.

Steven Rusch is the marketing director for Anomatic Corp. He is responsible for bringing innovation and new solutions to global customers in the medical design community as well as many others. Rusch can be reached at srusch@anomatic.com.

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