Technical challenges with a product lie not only in the design of the product itself, but also the means and methods to achieve the intended form in production. PATH, the international non-profit focusing on innovation in global health, developed an innovative, reproductive health product designed to prevent the transmission of STD's and provide an effective means of birth control for women -- specifically in the developing world. Due to the requirements for the device to be mass produced and distributed in low-resource settings, every assembly step had to be scrutinized to reduce cost and waste of materials. 3rd Stone Design Inc. developed a manufacturing plan, detailing the full cost of materials and production stages.
Further steps were then taken to mechanize key assembly points in prototype production so that the quality of devices used in clinical trials could remain consistent, while modeling steps toward full automation. We designed and built aspects of the assembly and testing stations as part of this effort. By utilizing these production stations, PATH was able to increase their product output dramatically, while maintaining quality and reducing the occurrence of unacceptable product. These stations were ultimately transferred to an in-country manufacturing company that now makes the Woman's Condom product and distributes it in Asia.
This project also included a detailed materials study involving the characterization of polymer foams. 3rd Stone Design Inc. facilitated this study by partnering with a local engineering department at an academic institution. This materials research work fed directly into the product development process for the woman's condom, while simultaneously providing young engineering students real world challenges for their research work.