VitalTech VitalBand


a flexible, cost-effective manufacturing process


a way forward, from concept to production


a viable, competitive product ready for market

The executive team at VitalTech approached us about the manufacturing, assembly, testing, and distribution of their inaugural product: a monitored medical alert wristband.

With nearly six months’ worth of resources invested in VitalBand to date, the company had a hybrid prototype made from tooled and handmade parts. We agreed to build a few devices and assess the feasibility of the current design.

During the initial evaluation, we looked at the functional requirements—which included a failure analysis and testing for water resistance. We also calculated the cost-of-goods-sold (COGS) and assembly time needed for volume production.

Only a few days in, we found serious issues. So, in our second meeting with the VitalTech team, we had a frank discussion about the product’s viability. “This product can’t be built as designed,” we explained. “The feature set and assembly are too complex—so the yield will be low—and it will fail the water-resistance test.”

Recognizing their product and their investment were in jeopardy, VitalTech leadership authorized a complete redesign of the VitalBand prototype.

Product development is all about tradeoffs. In the case of VitalBand 1.0, a communication gap between the client’s design engineering and manufacturing teams resulted in conflicting, contradictory specifications.

But rather than compromising the user experience, we led both teams through Design for Manufacturing & Assembly (DFMA) and arrived at practical, efficient solutions.

Optimizing DFMA helped us set a realistic assembly line goal of 500 units in an 8.0-hour shift—using minimal resources. The mechanical design team divided assembly into multiple subassemblies: the housing, a testable/programmable electronics assembly, an integration operation, a final test, and a laser serialization procedure.

To ensure the housing met the required IP67 rating for water ingress, we specified a UV-curable adhesive to seal the contact pins protruding from the case. For the initial prototypes, we used a handheld adhesive dispenser to apply the sealant. We realized, however, that the potential for operator error was high.

Our solution was to automate the application of the adhesive. We designed, built, and programmed a customized X-Y dispensing station that not only minimized assembly time, but also virtually eliminated operator defects.

We found another opportunity to reduce overall assembly time by focusing on the electronics subassembly. The design called for a main electronic board, two separate boards for additional functions, and an antenna oriented at 90 degrees from the main board.

The challenge: How can we connect four PCBs at right angles to each other? Soldering would be time-consuming and inconsistent. Mechanical interconnects would be costly, and would take up precious space inside the housing.

Our solution: Create a single PCB subassembly with four rigid boards connected by flex circuitry. In the final design, we attached the PCB assembly to an injection molded frame—cutting even more time off the assembly process and maximizing the real estate inside the case.

The modular electronics assembly meant that we could program or reprogram the firmware as needed—and then complete the initial testing before moving to the next operation.

Technically, financially, and culturally, IDM was the right partner to help VitalTech get their idea to market. Our design engineering and manufacturing teams created an assembly line that not only produced the required 500 units per day—but also scaled to meet increased demand.

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Anne Lewis
Quality Assurance

Anne likes things neat and tidy. As an avid gardener, she knows a pristine landscape doesn’t happen by chance—there’s always someone pruning, watering, and tending to the details. Anne is that person for IDM. “I shape things,” she says, “often behind the scenes, to make sure we deliver what we promise.”

At IDM, Anne works to “make excellence a habit” by overseeing our ISO certification program. She also helps cultivate a culture focused on customer satisfaction—whether that “customer” is internal or external. With her self-described “relentless smile” and what Frank Lloyd Wright calls “an unremitting devotion to the things you want to see happen,” Anne keeps us alert, on our toes, and bringing our very best each day. “I love working with bright people who are passionate about what they do,” she says.

When she’s not digging in the dirt, you might find Anne nurturing her love of reading at the local library.