QuesTek Innovations has used advanced computer modeling to produce innovative materials in the aerospace sector. Now it’s looking to recreate the same magic in the medical device space.
Medical device developers typically turn to off-the-shelf materials and then design based on the properties of the materials. But does it have to be this way? What if it was possible to simply design and then choose and validate materials that meet the design’s criteria when it comes to strength, fatigue life and corrosion resistance?
That’s the tantalizing concept proposed by officials at QuesTek Innovations (Evanston, Ill.). The idea is nothing new, either. QuesTek has years of success in using computer modeling to create innovative alloys for the aerospace sector. The 20-year-old company has managed the creation of Ferrium M54 steel for U.S. Navy aircraft hook shanks, Ferrium C64 steel for the transmission gear boxes in next-generation Bell and Sikorsky helicopters, Ferrium S53 steel for critical components on SpaceX’s Falcon rocket, and Ferrium C61 steel for a robotic rover destined for Venus.
Company officials say they doubled annual revenue over the past three years after a technology transfer deal with an undisclosed Silicon Valley company, which saw the potential for QuesTek’s materials modeling. (ChicagoInno says Apple bought the technology. QuesTek declined to comment.)
“What QuesTek has enabled is that people can come to us and say, ‘We want a material with this set of properties, and this material does not exist. Can you design it?’ It’s whatever is important to them,” explained Jeff Grabowski, manager of applications and product commercialization at QuesTek.
Grabowski and others at QuesTek think the same could be done in the medical device space: “This is about getting the medical device community to stop using off-the