SonaCare Medical’s strategic vision is to apply High Intensity Focused Ultrasound technology to a range of medical indications that are clinically effective and have a direct impact on patient quality of life. So, when SonaCare Medical needed a design team with a proven track record of developing plastic products for real life applications, they called Catalyst. Sonacare relied on Catalyst to design injection mold tooling for the Sonablate, the first FDA approved focused ultrasound device for the ablation of prostate tissue.
Why did you choose Catalyst for this project?
We engaged Catalyst to design and build injection mold tooling and to produce the molded components for our new product, the Sonablate. This product is designed to be a minimally invasive, radiation free robotic device designed to deliver precise and focused ablative energy.
Have you worked with a plastics manufacturer before? If so, what differentiates Catalyst from competing plastics companies?
Yes, SonaCare has worked with several plastics manufacturers before, but there were several main differentiators that separate Catalyst from the competition:
- Catalyst is local, which makes it easy to set up meetings on-site and review or receive parts at either facility.
- Typically, our production volumes run in low 100’s per year, so most companies doing injection molding require higher production volumes than SonaCare requires. Catalyst’s capabilities in manufacturing low volume production quantities compared to most companies that will only produce extremely high volumes was a major difference. Catalyst also offers flexibility in their options of injection mold tooling and molding production quantities.
- Catalyst’s cost from design to production is competitive and in-line with the industry, which is uncommon for low volume production.
- Another differentiator is the engineering capabilities of Catalyst. To be more specific, the Catalyst engineering team was capable of designing and collaborating with the tooling and molding department on-site.
- Lastly, Catalyst also provides many secondary operations such as engravings, machining operations, etc. This was very helpful during the post-molding process.
How would you describe the Catalyst team?
The Catalyst team was competent and responsive. From their designers to their engineers, everything was timely and done well.
What did you think about the process?
Overall, we had a good experience. Catalyst is methodical and logical in everything that they do. We always communicate any requests we have with their engineers and ensure they understand what we’re asking for. And, they never miss a thing.
Has their work helped your organization, and if so, how?
Yes. Catalyst’s capability to support the low volumes we require ensured our product designs could reach the market quickly. Even with aggressive schedules, their team has mostly been able to meet our timelines for projects which is uncommon. Furthermore, their molded plastic part prices are competitive in the market. Additionally, some of the materials we needed during the Sonablate project were difficult to source and had long lead times. Catalyst utilized various resources to successfully source those materials quickly.
Also, we typically utilize a service department that works with our customers to maintain the products we sell. The SonaCare service team performs annual and semi-annual inspections to assess wear and tear on our products. This process is time consuming and involves a lot of travel for the engineers. Catalyst has assisted with design refinements so that our products were easier to assemble and to maintain during these service visits.
The people at Catalyst are very friendly and responsive to our needs. It is evident that they want to help solve your problems. Even when I know they are busy, they react quickly on getting answers to us.
For more information on Sonablate and other SonaCare products, click here.