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Courtesy of Siemens
Six Things to Tell
Maintaining clear communication with all suppliers is paramount not
only to the overall success of a device, but also to keeping costs
controlled and hitting the market on schedule. This article identifies
six topic areas medical device manufacturers specifying piezoceramic
components need to consider to fully inform their supplier.
By Russell Petrucci, Director of Business
Development, and Roger Nessen, Senior Business
Development Manager; Exelis Electronic Systems
Any technology that supports the deliv- ery of medical care must be designed to the highest possible standards of quality
and efficacy. To device makers, this is obvious.
What is often less obvious is just how challenging it can be for a company to achieve this
while also ensuring the design and production
process is smooth, low-risk, and cost-effective.
A major contributor to difficulties in this
area is a lack of communication between
customer and supplier; a little bit of extra information in the early stages of device design
and material sourcing can go a long way to
mitigating setbacks further down the line, and
it starts with having the right conversation.
Exelis ( www.exelispzt.com) has been
designing and supplying piezoceramic components and transducers for military applications for nearly 60 years. This expertise in the
science and engineering applications of this
technology have helped make the company
a leading supplier of piezoceramics for the
medical device industry as well.
Piezoceramics are a class of materials capable
of producing an electrical charge in response to
applied mechanical stress and exhibit mechan-
ical strain when subjected to an applied electri-
cal field. They have a wide range of commercial
and medical applications, including imaging,
wound care, drug delivery, suture welding, flaw
detection, and micropositioning. They can be
found in devices as varied as medical and dental
handpieces, aspirators, nebulizers, and ultrason-
ic cleaners, to name only a few.
Unfortunately, in the medical device in-
dustry, device makers with designs at various
stages of development do not always know
what they are seeking, or even what infor-
mation their suppliers need to know to serve
them most effectively. A supplier’s job is to
work with these potential customers to come
up with the best combination of properties
and performance to meet their requirements.
Each piezoceramic material has electrical
and acoustic characteristics formulated in a way
to enhance performance for specific transducer
attributes. Understanding the application and
the desired measurement outcome is essential.
When evaluating transducer applications for
specialized engineered solutions, it is important
to ask several key questions that lead to a suc-
cessful design and a high-performance product.
This conversation touches on six themes:
Piezoceramic materials exhibit a range of
properties suited to a variety of medical applications. Creating a high performance product
requires the right transducers. To help achieve
this, a piezoceramic supplier needs to know
as much as possible about the device and its