3D prototyping in advanced manufacturing with Medtronic

3D prototyping in advanced manufacturing with Medtronic

Creating AR prototypes of medical devices with CAD-level detail within hours, not weeks; made possible with JigSpace 3D prototyping software.

3D prototyping software meets Augmented Reality

Medtronic is the world’s largest manufacturer of medical devices, saving lives by bringing groundbreaking healthcare technology solutions to some of the most complex and challenging conditions in the world. 

The challenge

Prototyping new medical devices often requires traditional Six-Sigma ‘Cardboard City’ simulations of hospital surgical rooms or device manufacturing environments. This process takes 2-3 weeks to construct, and requires up to 20 experts, users, and support staff on-site.

While valuable, these usability simulations are extremely expensive and time-consuming. In fact, simulations typically go through 4-5 iterations, with each update costing around $30,000. 

Medtronic was in desperate need of a solution that would deliver the same 3D medical visualization capacity while speeding up the process and slashing costs. 

They turned to JigSpace.

Example of a Medtronic Six-Sigma Cardboard City Process Station used in prototyping a manufacturing assembly

The solution

Now, Medtronic engineers use JigSpace as a 3D medical visualization app. The app runs on iPad in conjunction with ARKit in a closed-loop manufacturing domain. This empowers Medtronic to bring life-saving products to market faster and with minimal design and prototyping costs. 

With JigSpace, Medtronic staff can create 3D scenes of their medical devices in CAD-level detail within just hours, a vast improvement on the weeks-long process of creating cardboard mockups. These 3D medical prototypes can then easily be shared in-app or via a link, and then presented in Augmented Reality on the iPad for real-world visualization, and rapid iteration.

The results

Experts in offices around the world can now view and collaborate without having to travel to the sites. This reduces both interruptions and costs.

“Using JigSpace as part of our lean manufacturing development efforts has enabled Medtronic to create and test solutions in a matter of hours versus weeks. The savings associated with the tool’s usage, at just one of hundreds of facilities, is an estimated $30k per model developed.”
William Harding
Distinguished Technical Fellow, Medtronic

Video recordings of the AR medical visualization presentations can be saved directly onto the app as artifacts for internal reference.

Medtronic has used JigSpace to scale across multiple divisions, geographies, and use cases. Features like secure-sharing allow intellectual property and trade-secrets to be safely shared. The ability to upload CAD files from SolidWorks, and create content on a desktop, has also vastly sped up authoring times.

“As a solution that has enabled Medtronic to conceptualize new cell operating system (COS) designs, as well as assisting us in the development of new medical devices, I have found JigSpace to be a critical solution that aligns with our innovative strategy.”
William Harding
Distinguished Technical Fellow, Medtronic

In 2020, Medtronic partnered with JigSpace to deliver a series of 3D assembly and maintenance training guides for the PB560 Ventilator. This was in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and the subsequent surge in global demand for ventilator products. Since its release, over 7,000 manufacturers have accessed the 3D guides over 20,000 times, demonstrating the scale of deployments that are possible with JigSpace.

Sam Granleese
Sam Granleese
Sam Granleese
Head of Product