President of Medtronic's cardiovascular diagnostics and services business, Julie Brewer, has revealed that Medtronic chose an untraditional path to manufacture its Linq II insertable cardiac monitor. The product was awarded best in show at the Medical Device Excellence Awards, leading to the announcement that the company used wafer manufacturing to develop the product.
Medtronic's Linq II insertable cardiac monitor offers long-term monitoring for patients with infrequent symptoms. It can detect cardiac arrhythmias including atrial fibrillation, providing patients with remote monitoring and two patient monitoring options through the MyCareLink Heart mobile app.
Brewer admits that wafer scale manufacturing is a fairly complicated process, but she believes that it will allow the company to add future capabilities to the device. Choosing this complex process is believed to actually simplify and quicken the process for innovation. Wafer manufacturing consists of multiple steps including ingot growth, slicing, cleaning, polishing, and packaging.
During a panel discussion Brewer stated, “With the Linq II technology, we really took a bold move to incorporate a completely new manufacturing process with this technology…we have gone forward with a wafer-scale manufacturing process, which really takes what they do in integrative circuits and applies wafer-scale technology — for the first time that we know of — to medical devices. Really the goal is to automate the manufacturing process, and also to provide a platform that we can more easily add future sensors and capabilities to, as well as fully maximize the space for improved longevity."
Wafer manufacturing has previously been used in the semiconductor industry, and Medtronic believes it is the first medical technology company to incorporate it into its manufacturing process. The use of wafer-scale manufacturing will reduce the costs and size of products and the Linq II is one of the initial devices to see this effect.
Medtronic has found a way to speed up innovation in the medical technology and device manufacturing fields. Through the automated manufacturing process and advanced platform, future changes to the Linq II and other devices will help meet the demand for speed and efficiency in the medical device sector.