medical device upgrade using Bal Spring

Medical Device Upgrades to Minimize Risk of Contamination

When a medical device is profitable, popular, and meeting all regulatory requirements, it can be tempting to leave it alone and focus on new product development. Why fix what isn’t broken?

In this article, we’ll take a look at how Innomed Inc. did the opposite and proactively improved their already high-performing products using Bal Seal’s canted coil springs. By upgrading these medical devices, our custom springs helped improve cleanability and minimize contamination.

Medical Device Upgrade with Custom Springs

Seeking to eliminate (or at least minimize) the inherent potential for contamination in reusable instruments, Innomed began investigating alternative locking mechanisms for two of its best-selling instruments—the CupX Acetabular Cup Extraction System and the Kolbel Self-Retaining Glenoid Retractor.

medical device upgrade to improve cleanabilitymedical device retinoid retractor upgrade using custom springs


Founder and president Jim Anderson approached Innomed’s manufacturing partner, Instrumental Machine & Development Inc. (IMD), seeking a solution that could replace the ball plunger utilized in both products without requiring instrument redesign.

Innomed and IMD began investigating alternatives with comparable mechanical holding capability and superior cleanability. While both products have been on the market for years with no complaints about contamination, Innomed was committed to upgrading the instruments so they could be cleaned with no chance of contamination. With the Kolbel, the system would have to accommodate all existing legacy instruments sold throughout the years.

IMD product engineers teamed up with the engineers at Bal Seal Engineering to develop a solution. By identifying what features could not change vs. those that could be slightly modified, as well as the insertion and removal force requirements, they customized a canted coil spring.  After prototyping, it was an immediate success in both instruments.

The Kolbel with a Bal Seal Engineering-developed retaining spring was introduced to market in December 2016. The updated CupX was introduced in January 2017.

Joe Beard, prototype/engineering manager at IMD says, “Bal Seal Engineering worked with us to develop the correct spring and groove setup we needed. In the end, it yielded great results, and the collaboration allowed us to improve functionality while being proactive about cleanability.”

Meeting Medical Device Cleanability Standards

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has noted that inadequate reprocessing can result in the retention of biological debris or soil in certain types of reusable medical devices, allowing microbes to survive disinfection or sterilization.

The original CupX and Kolbel instruments met all FDA specifications for material, cleaning, and traceability. Yet, Innomed and IMD saw opportunities for improvement.

The Bal Spring’s ability to withstand repeated cleaning and sterilization processes made it attractive. According to an independent test report released in 2017 (Cleaning Evaluation R&D Report, test report for Bal Seal Engineering, Nelson Laboratories, May 12, 2017) proved that a sampling of Bal Spring canted coil springs were cleanable and reusable, meeting medical device industry standards as well as FDA regulations.

Conducted under worst-case conditions, testing validated that a device containing a canted coil spring in various groove geometries can be properly cleaned with manual or automated processes, withstanding stringent cleaning methods from manual scrubbing to automated dishwasher systems.

Commitment to Quality Management with Medical Device Upgrades

Innomed and IMD are committed to continuous product improvement, meeting or exceeding FDA regulations, and preventing issues before they occur. Because of questions about the cleanliness of the blind hole on the back side of the ball and spring setup in two surgical instruments, the designs were enhanced with Bal Spring canted coil springs, and IMD and Innomed are applying similar design concepts in developing other instruments.

Innomed says it is committed to a quality management system that endeavors “to consistently meet or exceed customer and regulatory requirements and expectations” and “to focus on exceptional customer service, quality products, and continuous improvement.”

With its integration of the Bal Spring canted coil spring in the CupX Acetabular Cup Extraction System and Kolbel Self-Retaining Glenoid Retractor, the company seems intent on fulfilling its promise.

Innomed, Inc.

Instrumental Machine & Development, Inc. (IMD)


Custom components that drive tomorrow’s technologies.®

© 2024 Bal Seal Engineering. All Rights Reserved.

Custom components that drive tomorrow’s technologies.®

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?