RUSS FARN, GROUP LEAD AT EG TECHNOLOGY, TELLS WHY INDUSTRIAL DESIGN IS THE GOLDEN THREAD THAT RUNS THROUGH THE DESIGN PROCESS
The development of medical devices is both exciting and daunting. It is hard to think of a more rewarding industry for which to develop products, than one where the sole purpose is to improve health. Be it emergency trauma treatment, hospital equipment, diagnostics devices or peripherals to analyse medical data, the end goal of helping people is ever-present. Understandably, there are many regulations and restrictions to identify, understand and comply with along the way. Add short time scales and a plethora of competitors into the mix and developing any device in the industry is a mammoth task, particularly when you are doing it for the first time.
Exceptional industrial design throughout the development process of a medical device could give you the edge. You will not only understand user and product requirements, but you will have thought about how to design a product that is intuitive to use and one that offers the best possible user experience. You will not only meet the product requirements of performance, reliability, and safety, but you will offer a look and feel that make the product truly desirable. Understanding the design opportunities, as well as the restrictions and constraints, means you can flex a bit more creative freedom and develop something a bit special.
I head the industrial design and mechanical engineering group at eg technology. Over the last decade, we have designed devices and products in the medical, biotech, consumer, food and drink, and lab equipment markets. The golden thread that runs through the design process for all great products in these sectors is excellent industrial design.
Our industrial designers, human factors engineers and mechanical engineers operate as one group at eg, working closely on projects to share knowledge and skills. Industrial design in a consultancy environment, where project timescales and budgets are always critical, is a balance between design skill, theory, experience, and intuition. Working closely with our human factors and mechanical engineers ensures that we can make products that have the best visual impact, user experience and physical design, whilst working efficiently to offer our clients maximum value.
Many of the products that eg develop are complex electromechanical machines, performing multiple processes under close analysis and control. It’s easy to see how industrial design input is essential to making these large complicated devices intuitive and appealing to use, but some projects that are much simpler on the surface are often when good industrial design can have the biggest impact.
eg technology were asked to model the thermal efficiency of transporting antibodies around the world in different standard package volumes; the client wanted to strike the perfect balance between thermal performance and shipping costs. Following the thermal simulation work, the industrial designers started to explore how we could add value to the offering; how could we transform a standard card, polystyrene box into something better. After lots of thinking, sketching, developing and experimenting, we created building blocks that could be reused as vial holders around the lab and assembled into infinite constructions and contraptions. The result was a more robust, reusable and playful product, which was also a fantastic promotion of the client’s brand.
I think that this project captures the essence of industrial design; taking a product that performs adequately and making it exceptional. This is a brief example of a simple product, but eg’s industrial designers exercise the same creative thinking to tackle design opportunities for more complicated medical devices within a heavily regulated industry. We have vast experience in this vertical and have optimised our approach to ensure each and every project is managed with consistent expertise and innovation.
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