Surgical instrument protection trays

Surgical instrument protection trays

Features - Cover Story

InstruSafe provides original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with customizable protection tray solutions.


Surgical instruments have become increasingly delicate, complex, and expensive as the rise of minimally invasive procedures requires manufacturers to deliver new, innovative technologies to hospitals and healthcare facilities.

However, innovation doesn’t end with surgical instrument design. Hospitals need innovation to ensure that surgical instruments are effectively and consistently organized, protected, transported, and sterilized. Surgeons must receive surgical instruments in a manner that helps them achieve the highest standards of infection control and safety for patients and staff. These priorities can be handled by InstruSafe’s OEM Instrument Protection Tray Solutions.

The InstruSafe team closely collaborates with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to develop highly customized, private-label instrument-protection trays that seamlessly integrate with their brand. They configure trays to unique OEM specifications, whether a solution for fine, delicate instrumentation or large, complex instrument sets.

High-speed production

Some surgical instrument manufacturers overlook instrument protection tray design until the end of the development process. So, when a tray is needed, it is needed fast. Other instrument manufacturers include a basic tray with their instrument, but some hospitals reject products that lack an FDA-validated tray. The InstruSafe team can build a tray in weeks instead of months, helping manufacturers quickly meet FDA clearance requirements. Summit Medical has invested nearly $750,000 for testing and 510(k) clearances for InstruSafe since 2012.

InstruSafe uses various techniques to form rubber-coated metal brackets to protect surgical instruments.
Surgical instrument trays go through several design iterations before manufacturing begins.

Metal and silicone advantage

Made with anodized aluminum, metal construction provides strong, rigid protection with durability superior to plastic. Plastic trays are known for becoming brittle, warped, cracked, or broken as they repeatedly go through high temperature sterilization. All metal construction allows for large amounts of perforations providing greater sterilant penetration and water drainage. Some trays use generic shaped silicone or rubber-coated metal brackets, but InstruSafe uses custom medical-grade silicone to cushion, protect, and hold each instrument in place. Medical grade silicone provides superior protection for instruments and minimizes contact points for sterilant penetration for each instrument. InstruSafe’s custom silicone components include water jet cut, injection mold, and cast mold. For added protection, OEM trays have a quarter-turn rotary latch, offset for proper alignment and visual confirmation that a tray is open or closed.


To customize individual brands, trays can be manufactured with a company’s logo, branding, and technical specifications. Laser engraving is available on anodized aluminum, and laser annealing is available on stainless steel. Adhesive screen and digital print labeling offer more design freedom than engraving with finer detail, color variety, custom shapes, and dimensions.


About the authors: Aaron Lieberman is the group product manager for the InstruSafe Instrument Protection Line at Summit Medical. He can be reached at Mark Hagerty is the InstruSafe business development specialist for Summit Medical. He manages the tray development process for all InstruSafe OEM clients. He can be reached at