Occasionally, our team at Reata Engineering has the chance to collaborate on something so special that it really drives home why we do what we do. In a recent partnership with LINK Project Development (LINK), we had the opportunity to bring our collective abilities in solving complex design, manufacturing, and assembly challenges to the table.
After all, it’s not every day you get to make equipment that helps save lives.
The Project Brief: TITAN CSR™ Retractor System
Advanced Surgical Retractor Systems (ASR Systems) is a medical device startup dedicated to the design, development, and commercialization of innovative surgical retractor systems.
When surgeons need a retractor system to hold a patient open during surgery, they’re typically forced to choose between speed or functionality.
ASR Systems set out to develop a lightweight surgical retractor that would combine the speed of self-retaining retractors and the exposure of traditional table-mounted systems—all without a table attachment.
The company partnered with LINK, a design and product development firm here in Denver, to design the product. LINK recommended Reata Engineering as a contract manufacturing partner, and we came on during the Design for Manufacturing (DFM) phase of the project.
The three companies worked together to design and manufacture the innovative TITAN CSR™ Retractor System, which is positioned to become an invaluable product for surgeons including those working in the U.S. military.
Benefits of the TITAN CSR™ Retractor System
In addition to combining speed and functionality into one novel device, the TITAN CSR™ Retractor System offers key advantages over prior retractor systems:
- Lightweight: When a surgeon is in combat, there are inevitable weight restrictions dictating what they can and cannot bring onto a helicopter. Prior retractor systems were too heavy for them to bring on all missions. LINK designed and Reata machined the TITAN CSR™ Retractor System from titanium for weight reduction purposes.
- Easier to operate: When someone’s life is on the line, every last second matters. Surgeons must be able to set up a device quickly in these critical situations. LINK and Reata worked with ASR Systems through multiple iterations to get exactly what they needed.
How LINK and Reata Engineering Solved Complex Manufacturing Challenges
LINK provides product development through integration, collaboration and co-development. Reata provides support in each step of the manufacturing process with our proven approach to innovative product realization and supply chain management. Here’s how LINK and Reata solved design, manufacturing, and assembly challenges for the TITAN CSR™ Retractor System:
Design for Manufacturing
During product development of any kind, we always consider the fit, feel, and function of a product. These considerations are especially important for medical devices.
We worked closely with LINK and ASR Systems to iterate on the design multiple times. Each iteration was tested under real conditions in a cadaver lab.
Reata’s flexible manufacturing approach, coupled with LINK’s innovative design team, proved invaluable during this process, providing the ability to work on different designs on the fly during proof of concept prototyping.
Once proof of concept was achieved, Reata used 5-axis machining for the majority of the components. 5-axis multi-tasking machines combine multiple processes to reduce the number of operations required to manufacture a part.
This advanced technology allowed us to machine the components’ complicated surfaces and features with a high degree of precision and accuracy.
Supply Chain Management
As a customer-focused contract manufacturing company, Reata takes on the responsibility of managing the entire supply chain so our customers don’t have to. This process involves significant coordination and problem-solving.
Due to current supply chain constraints, we couldn’t source the springs we needed for a certain component in a timely manner. Working with LINK, we came up with an alternative solution that enabled us to prove the concept before receiving the springs we had ordered.
We also coordinated with trusted suppliers for welding, laser engraving, titanium passivation, and finishing.
When it came time for assembly, we handled the entire process right here at our Denver facility. There were 18 unique parts per product and 82 total parts for each assembly. When all was said and done, we assembled 820 machined components for the first 10 devices.
Together with LINK, we relied on robust quality systems to check and measure all assemblies. We prepared the TITAN CSR™ Retractor System to meet all FDA requirements for a Class 1 medical device.
Our team-based work style and collaborative project management approach allowed us to integrate seamlessly with LINK and ASR Systems. We aligned with LINK to co-manage the entire project so that the customer didn’t have to.
Customer Testimonial: “The TITAN CSR™ has saved lives!”
ASR Systems was so thrilled with the finished product that the company’s CEO and President Mike Girouard said:
“I just want you to know how proud I am of this team! In 15 months, you have taken a crude prototype and produced a work of art!”
LINK and Reata are honored beyond measure that we could contribute to such a critical life-saving device.
Curious how our contract manufacturing firm (Reata) and design team (LINK) can help with your product development? Request a quote and let’s bring your vision to life.