Developing a healthcare device
They wanted to design a brand new nebulisation system for an aerosol device used with babies.
Developing a healthcare device that’s user-friendly was at the heart of the brief from this client, a major healthcare manufacturer. They wanted to design a brand new nebulisation system for an aerosol device used with babies. In addition, the key objective was not only to improve performance, but also to have less component parts overall.
By reducing the number of components, deployment of the nebuliser at point of use would become quicker and easier. To achieve this, key components of the mixing chamber would need modifying, which could affect both production capabilities and compliance. The BlueThink experts were asked to explore and test the key design parameters to identify the optimum solution.
A connection between efficiency and the interaction/distance between key parts.
Literature based research was conducted to understand the physical principles of nebulisation and flow mixing inside the chamber of an aerosol device. This highlighted a connection between efficiency and the interaction/distance between key parts, alongside the inlet pressure and flow rate. Additionally, the Venturi injector that creates the mixed air-liquid flow was studied to explore which design parameters could be adjusted.
It became clear that numerical analysis was required in order to simulate and test the multiple factors effectively. In this case, Finite Element analysis was used to observe the flow pattern and its sensitivity to different geometry variations. Significantly, the fluid dynamics inside the nebuliser had never been studied numerically, so this exercise generated new and vital data.
More user-friendly and reliable. Also deliverable within existing production capabilities.
Developing a healthcare device that’s effective, robust and user-friendly is a multi-layered challenge. With many different variables in the product construction, maintaining the focus on user-centred simplicity throughout was vital. Design changes had to make the product more user-friendly and reliable, but also be deliverable within existing production capabilities.
Numerical simulations allowed the client to quickly identify the optimum way to maximise the mixing efficiency. This optimisation of the product performance could not have been achieved in the same way with a recursive experimental approach. The resulting solution also offered the client added value in the form of a reduction in development time and cost.