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Medical device cases – 7 important considerations when sourcing

Ian Heskins: Last Updated 16th May 2024
Posted In: Guides and Advice | Transit Protection
https://www.gwp.co.uk/author/Ian-Heskins/ xx 31628

Protective cases

Considerations for sourcing medical device cases

If you supply handheld equipment to medical and healthcare providers, you are likely already aware of the importance of medical device cases.

Medical device cases are typically lightweight plastic cases with foam inserts. They protect small equipment and handheld devices during storage and transportation. Besides protection, they can also help organise equipment and feature important information and instructions. They are commonly used to protect diagnostic, therapeutic, monitoring, and surgical devices.

This guide details the seven vital points to consider when sourcing medical device cases. It covers:

  • The types of handheld medical devices that require protection.
  • The various ways in which cases and foam can prevent damage.
  • How to source the right case for your equipment.
  • Additional benefits to end users.
A medical device case in a hospital with a nurse and baby.
There are number of advantages to choosing the right medical device case for your business.

Contents

Introduction

Types of handheld medical devices

Handheld medical devices come in various types, designed for different purposes and applications.

Common equipment includes devices for diagnosing medical conditions, continuous or intermittent monitoring of vital signs and other health parameters, or therapeutic devices for delivering treatments or therapies directly to patients.

As such, handheld medical devices typically requiring a case include handheld ultrasound scanners, portable ECG monitors, nebulisers, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units for pain management, handheld glucose meters for diabetes management and many more.

Specialist surgical equipment may also require protection offered by plastic carry cases.

A person taking a device out of medical case.
There are a number of different options when sourcing medical device cases.

Medical device protection

Why do medical devices need protection?

There are several reasons why it is vital to protect medical devices.

Firstly, medical devices can often significantly improve a patient’s quality of life. However, this could be negatively affected if a medical device is damaged and not available for use.

More seriously, damaged equipment could potentially result in loss of life if, for example, monitoring equipment was broken, which meant important information about a patient’s health was missed or unavailable.

Besides the risks to health (and potentially life), damaged medical devices are typically expensive to replace. Their specialist nature may also make it difficult to quickly and easily source a direct replacement.

Finally, medical professionals may lose time and have to reschedule appointments if specific equipment is damaged or unavailable.

Popular medical device cases

Options available for protecting medical devices

By far the most common type of medical equipment cases are the lightweight plastic options. This includes cases by Hofbauer, WAG, Rose Plastic and Maxado.

Often referred to as carry cases, they protect from dust, moisture, splashes and debris. Combined with foam inserts, they can also protect from physical damage caused by impact, mishandling or vibration.

However, some applications may require heavier-duty, fully waterproof cases. These are particularly popular for medical equipment taken outside (for example, by first responders) or where moisture can cause significant damage to the device.

Finally, there are some applications where a bespoke Correx box is suitable. Although they provide less physical protection than plastic cases, they are made in custom sizes and designs and are ideal for clean room use (as users can sterilise them).

7 considerations when sourcing medical device cases

Essential points to consider

So, with several different medical device cases and similar medical packaging to choose from, how do you decide which is the most suitable for your product and application? These seven vital considerations can help guide you toward the best option:

  • The amount of protection required.
  • ESD sensitivity.
  • Ease of handling.
  • Organisation.
  • Instructions and branding requirements.
  • Lifespan.
  • Costs.

External protection required

How delicate your equipment is can help determine which type of medical device case to use.

Most handheld items are relatively robust, meaning lightweight plastic cases provide adequate protection. However, for particularly delicate items or those that are highly calibrated, a more durable case, such as a Peli or Explorer case, may be more suitable.

Likewise, if your equipment could become damaged by moisture or is likely to be used or left outside, you should strongly consider waterproof cases.

It is also worth thinking about how end users will handle your case. If they are constantly being transported, loaded into vehicles, and so on, they will likely need to be more durable than if they are kept at a single location.

Regardless, it is almost always worth incorporating foam inserts into your case, as they can prevent different items within the case from colliding and damaging each other. And for more fragile equipment, precise levels of cushioning from shock can be calculated, virtually eliminating the potential for damage.

Various handheld medical devices and equipment inside a protective case.
Handheld medical device cases need to protect their contents from physical damage.

ESD protection

It may be surprising to discover that many medical devices can suffer damage caused by static electricity or, to use the technical term, electrostatic discharge (ESD).

ESD can cause catastrophic damage to the microchips, circuit boards and other electronic components used in medical devices. Even if the device does not break immediately, ESD can also significantly reduce its lifetime.

There are several conductive packaging options for protecting medical devices. You can also choose to use anti-static foam within your chosen outer case.

ESD packaging with yellow logo
ESD packaging can be vital in protecting static sensitive items

Ease of handling

If handheld medical devices are transported from place to place, a protective case that makes handling easy can be a significant benefit. This is particularly true for heavier, bulkier items.

As such, medical device cases that include handles, feet (so the case can stand up on end), easy-to-use catches, and even shoulder straps can all make life easier for the medical professional using your device.

A medical professional carrying a red plastic device case.
Integral handles, catches, feet and other features aid usability.

Organisation

Many medical devices come with an array of peripherals, extensions, and components. Having these loose in a case can not only make finding them difficult but also lead to items being lost.

As such, medical device cases can benefit from foam inserts that feature different-coloured foam recesses. Tailored to the specific equipment, the contrasting colour of the recessed area helps users quickly identify if a part or piece of equipment has not been put back in the case.

Known as shadow boards, this type of foam significantly improves efficiency for the end user while preventing costly items from becoming lost.

Instructions and branding

Often, there may be very specific instructions for the correct (and safe) use of a specific medical device.

While these will always be printed on an accompanying leaflet, it can be wise to print the most important instructions directly on the case itself.

You can also include other important information, such as model numbers or handling symbols (which can have a surprising impact on the protection a case provides).

Finally, you can add your branding and logo to your medical device cases, advertising your business to the healthcare professionals who use it.

A white plastic medical device case with printed branding.
Medical device cases are easily printed with logos, branding and instructions.

Lifespan

In addition to the longevity of your case, you should also consider the expected lifespan of your device.

If, for example, your equipment has an expected lifespan of two years before it becomes obsolete or unserviceable, then it makes sense to source a lighter-weight, less costly case.

However, if your medical device case needs to last indefinitely, one of the more durable, robust options would be a better choice.

Costs

Finally, it is of course vital to consider the costs of your case.

However, it is essential to remember that cheap cases can be a false economy.

If replacing a damaged piece of equipment would cost thousands of pounds, it is worth specifying a higher-performance case that may be more expensive initially but helps prevent costly damage to your equipment.

Similarly, although a more durable medical device case costs more initially, its improved longevity means that it has lower lifetime costs than a cheaper one that may need replacing every couple of years.

And if your case is carrying lifesaving equipment, it is impossible to put a price on being able to save a life thanks to the required equipment being well protected and in full working order.

2 people looking at products within a medical case with foam.
It is also vital to consider overall costs when sourcing medical device cases.

Summary

Sourcing medical device cases

Sourcing medical device cases is often difficult. With so many factors and points to consider, added to the range of options, it can seem a daunting task.

GWP’s team of medical device case experts can help. We have over 30 years of experience supplying protective cases with foam inserts to medical equipment manufacturers. This means we understand the nuances of successful packaging in this industry, but our range of options also means we can offer you impartial, trustworthy advice on the best option for your specific application.

So, if you need advice on any medical device cases, please contact our team today to discuss your requirements.

Further reading

About the author

Ian Heskins

Ian Heskins

Business Development Director | GWP Group

Ian is one of the founding Directors of GWP, using his broad knowledge acquired over more than 30 years to oversee new business strategy.
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