We were contacted by a medical device company that was developing an implantable electronic device, similar to a pacemaker, which would be used to treat obesity.
They wondered if we might be able to provide a solution for an application
they had where they needed to enclose an electro-magnetic charging coil
for the device, in materials
that needed to be comfortable and safe when in contact with a patient’s body. When working on the development of a new foam component, Flextech encourages early involvement at the project’s onset. This customer understood the value of collaborating with a manufacturing partner early in the design and development process.
In an effort to fully understand the functional and aesthetic requirements of the coil application, one of our technical sales representatives met with our customer’s product managers and engineers. Our sales person learned that the implantable device would stimulate the vagus nerve and cause the patient to feel less hungry. Because the device is implanted in the body, it would need to be charged regularly using a process called inductive or “wireless” charging. An inductive electromagnetic coil would be worn by the patient over the location of the device for a required period of time in order to charge the device.
The coil would need to be covered by a material that was comfortable to the patient, biocompatible and non-cytotoxic (safe for contact with human skin). It also required some method of securing it to the patient for the duration of the charging cycle. In addition, because it is a medical device, the coil assembly would have to have a clean, finished appearance. We were challenged by our customer to develop a process, suggest appropriate materials, and to manufacture a part to meet all of these functional and aesthetic requirements.