Explore North America’s Largest Annual Medtech Event

What are you doing February 6-8, 2018? How about coming by to visit with people from Creation Technologies manufacturing and design teams at Booth 546 at Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) West ?

It’s going to be quite an event this year, and we’re really looking forward to reconnecting with industry friends as well as meeting new people. MD&M West is always a great place to solve existing challenges and be inspired by everything new in the MedTech industry.

At MD&M West you’ll find the largest showcase of MedTech suppliers in the country, plus a full spectrum of solutions across the advanced design and manufacturing supply chain. Whether you’re interested in product design, new materials, intelligent sensors, testing solutions, components, packaging, or anything else needed to bring your concept to market, you can source from more than 2,000 cutting-edge suppliers in a time-saving format. Free presentations, interactive events, and fun activities throughout the expo make this a can’t-miss event.

Featuring its biggest program yet, the MD&M West conference will deliver four tracks of expert-led MedTech education you won’t find anywhere else — plus additional smart manufacturing and 3D printing programs — all with unlimited track hopping.   This year MD&M offers a full day of conferences focused on Medical Device Security.  This rigorous conference program will address security and privacy challenges for connected healthcare devices.

This is your chance to get up to speed with the strategies and techniques that turn concepts into competitive products. Curated with the help of an expert advisory team, this unmatched program is made by the industry for the industry and packed with information crucial to every stage in the development process.

Learn about Creation Technologies’ flexible model, integrated solutions and dedicated Customer-Focused Teams and how we offer a complete customized solution that delivers what our customers need…their way. Creation’s experience and robust systems help OEMs avoid costly surprises, get to market faster and scalability to achieve your business goals.

We would love to meet you and learn more about how we can help you meet your future goals. Drop by Booth #546 and learn how we do it.

You can use our Promo Code:  Special when registering and receive a free Expo Pass or 20% off Conference Pricing

Hope to see you there!

 

5 Questions to Ask a Potential Design Partner

With institutions like Harvard University and MIT in its backyard, the city of Boston has a storied tradition for academic and research excellence. It should come as no surprise that the New England region also possesses a thriving medical technology and manufacturing sector.

Last week, Creation Technologies was one of over 400 suppliers that attended the BIOMEDevice Boston event. For two days, engineers, innovators, and suppliers connected and collaborated on projects that will transcend the health care industry.

For medical device OEMs that attended the show, filtering through the many design firm options can be a daunting task – with cost, quality, experience, and location all considerations.

In order to identify the right fit for your design needs, here are 5 questions you should be asking a potential design partner.

 

1.  Is your process ISO 13485 Registered?     

ISO 13485 represents the requirements for a quality management system for the design and manufacturing of medical devices. You should not even consider any supplier that does not have a registered quality system. Many design firms may say that they have compliant processes but have not obtained ISO 13485.  While you may plan to execute the design project under your internal quality system, it is still important your partner has experience developing products within the controls of an ISO 13485 quality system.  Their estimates will be more accurate, execution will be more efficient, and your design partner maybe able to assist in the continuous improvement of your internal quality system.

 

2.  Who owns the Intellectual Property?

Your IP should be your IP. Many medical device OEMs elect to share their intellectual property with a design firm because the upfront development costs may initially appear to be less.

There are potential risks involved in co-developing your IP with a design partner such as:

  • The design partner could potentially license that IP to your competitors and charge you an ongoing royalty on your own product.
  • The design partner could get acquired by another corporation, who might leverage the IP into its products, enabling the competition.
  • The design partner could extend your joint IP, enabling future generation capability and leveling the playing field with your competitors.
  • A lack of alignment on the long-term use of the IP can actually delay the development of the IP and the product causing undue risk of missing your market window and costing many times more than the originally perceived potential savings.

It is more beneficial in the long run to own your IP and leverage a design partner to develop and transition your product into volume manufacturing.

 

3.  How do you Approach Unit Costing?

An experienced design partner will identify potential cost implications early in the development process. Many times, inexperienced design firms will adhere to demands to medical device OEMs without assessing the long-term implications. This could drive the unit costs up and delay the development program.

As a result, OEMs find out late in the process that they won’t meet their unit cost targets and their business assumptions were incorrect from the onset. If this is the situation, it is critical it is discovered as early as possible in the development cycle that product strategies can be reassessed and meaningful changes can be made to the project plan.

In order to control unit costs, it is also a good idea to partner with a design partner with strong manufacturing relationships so that accurate estimates of manufacturing costs are established. Many design-only companies struggle in the design to manufacturing transfer process because they don’t have the experience or the sophisticated tools required to execute seamlessly and are surprised when actual manufacturing cost information is available..

 

4.  How Financially Flexible are you?

High upfront costs can be a huge barrier for medical device OEMs. Many design firms may demand full advanced payment of the entire program before starting the development project. This is a red flag because it indicates a lack of trust and financial controls. Additionally, a design partner shouldn’t be using your cash for their operational liquidity needs.

Design firms that are financially strained cannot be relied upon to make your product their priority. There are many projects risk that you and your design partner will need to face together, the risk of insolvency and staffing changes are not risks a design partner should bring to your product development effort.

Partnering up with an established design firm with strong financial footing may afford you better terms and credit, allowing you to be more flexible with your resources. Larger design firms also will have proper insurance and quality processes to support you in the event of a product liability claim.

 

5.  How Far Along can you take us?

There are lots of design firms that will happily enjoy the revenue provided from developing your product for as long as they can. But to ensure program and product success, your partner’s financial motivations must be aligned with yours.  If you partner is not capable of supporting your product through transition to production manufacturing and sustaining support, it will be difficult for your organizations to remain aligned.  Invest your time with a design partner you can envision building a long-term relationship with.  One who will be able to and motivated to serve you throughout the lifecycle of your product.

Find a company that is multi-disciplinary, that can help take your concept from napkin to manufacturing to after-market services.

And lastly, make sure you work with a company and people that you like. There will be times of conflict and challenging situations, so you will want to be with a design partner that will support you and understand your needs.

 

New York State of Mind: Lessons Learned from a Thriving Health Care Region

NY-Med-montage-840

Global competition in the medical device industry is fierce and if your company is not constantly innovating and evolving, you are likely being left behind.

For medical device companies in the New York region, staying stagnant is not an option. This tight-knit community plans on being assertive in creating medical devices that will improve lives across the world.

In order to achieve this vision, the state of New York invested heavily (over $80 billion) in the local medical industry, specifically in three main areas:

  • Academic institute bioscience R&D – $3.5 billion
  • New York State bioscience economic output – $62.2 billion
  • Job earnings in New York State – $16.8 billion

In addition, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (NY), recently introduced a $650 million initiative to grow life science research in the state.

Health Care companies rank in the Top 10 Largest Private Sector Employers in each of New York’s labor market regions. There are nearly 75,000 residents in New York employed in the biosciences, and about 13,000 of which are in medical devices.

But investing significant capital is just part of the overall equation in creating a culture of innovation and thought leadership. There are several exciting ways the state is making themselves at the forefront of the medtech industry.

NY-Med-EKG-768

Connecting Community

One of the driving forces behind the multi-billion dollar local biomed industry is the MedTech Association. All year round, the association plans and participates in events like MD&M East and New York Medtech Week, designed to connect and grow the local industry. MedTech consists of more than 100 pharmaceutical, biotech and medical companies, suppliers, and academic institutions (Creation is a MedTech member).

At the annual MEDTECH Conference in October, some of the brightest minds in the state’s bioscience and medical technology space congregated for three days of idea sharing and collaborating.

I attended MEDTECH 2016 and it was inspiring to see the passion and interaction between all the attendees. Just witnessing the crossover between PHDs and innovators and suppliers showed how many people from diverse backgrounds are influencing the movement.

In addition to networking opportunities, MEDTECH is always an opportunity for me to learn and gain awareness of the infrastructure and programs in place around the state. I look forward to this year’s event.

 

Building and Collaborating

If you want to be a leader in the medical technology field, you must invest in the most advanced facilities. Part of Gov. Cuomo’s plan is making 3.2 million sq. feet of innovation space and 1,100 acres of development land available tax-free for New York colleges and universities.

The University at Albany Health Sciences Campus Tour was featured at MEDTECH 2016, and really helped demonstrate the chain reaction of thought leadership. Over the past decade, the University at Albany Foundation transformed the former 95 acre Sterling Winthrop pharmaceutical complex into a thriving, collaborative biotech campus model.

The multi-purpose facility fosters an environment where life-science technologies, highly skilled work forces, and pioneering academia can co-exist and thrive. It is an encouraging example of how various stakeholders are able to share ideas.

With all of the activity and commitment to innovation, it is easy to get excited about the future of the state. New York is an example of a proactive region, willing and able to put forward the resources necessary to develop itself into a global player in medical technology.

Helping innovative OEMs succeed is what Creation Technologies is most passionate about. With several Creation business units nearby, we are always excited about collaborating with medical OEMs in the New York region and supporting them through the evolution.

Medical Devices Innovation: LifeScience Alley & Creation Technologies

Creation Technologies Sponsors LifeScience Alley Conference for Medical Devices

For many decades, Minnesota (and indeed, the Mid-West) has been a critical hub for development in Life Sciences, Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology and Medical Devices.

For a Biomedical Engineer-cum-EMS Industry Professional like me, this era of innovation and technological advancement in the Medical industry, and Medical Devices in particular, is extremely exciting.

I wanted to write a quick post to let everyone know that Creation Technologies and Creation Design Services are this year’s Innovation Station sponsors at the LifeScience Alley, LSA 2014: The Health Technology Leadership Conference, on November 19th at the Minneapolis Convention Center!

LifeScience Alley, its members and people, are great. Much more info about the organization and its members can be found on their great new website, but here’s the overview for anyone not familiar with LSA:

With a 28-year track record of providing valuable services and results-oriented outcomes to its members, LifeScience Alley improves the life science operating environment and enables business success through educating workforces, influencing state and federal public policy, supporting advancement in research and technological innovation and fostering industry connections.

Creation Technologies is exceptionally pleased to be a partner at this year’s conference. We know it will be a great success for LifeScience Alley, as it is every year.

We’ll be sharing more about the conference and our exciting Innovation Station exhibit in the coming months. (Drum roll, please!)

Until then, I’d love to chat about the medical devices and other things that we’re designing at Creation Design Services. Give me a call at 262.501.6686 or send me an email any time.

My colleague, Katie, also loves to “talk tech” and can fill you in on exciting happenings at Creation’s manufacturing business units in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois and beyond. She can be reached at 651.242.4344 and any time by email as well.

We invite you to come to any of our Creation Design Centers or Manufacturing Business Units anytime for a visit, check us out at www.creationtech.com.

We look forward to seeing you at LSA 2014 in Minnesota in November!

10 Things You Need to Know about Manufacturing FDA-Approved Medical Devices

Manufacturing FDA-Approved Medical Devices
There are many critical elements to quality manufacturing of FDA-Approved medical devices

The purpose of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to safeguard the health of the American public through the regulation of certain products, including medical devices and food-processing equipment. Health Canada has a similar mandate.

The FDA and Health Canada have full federal authority to ban and recall any products deemed dangerous.

They can also suspend or revoke registration or licensing of an establishment, effectively shutting down manufacturing facilities. Investigations can lead as far as criminal prosecution.

As outlined in a Business Case for Quality at a recent Pharmaceutical Quality System Conference, there are many costs of non-compliance, including:

  • Direct costs (e.g. scrapped materials, production time)
  • Remediation costs (issue identification, correction and reporting)
  • Regulatory action costs (legal, logistical)
  • Market share costs (lost opportunities)
  • Reputational costs (loss of goodwill)

According to FDA regulations, “the finished device manufacturer”, or the OEM, “bears overall responsibility for the safety and effectiveness of the finished device and must control all contractors under 21 CFR 820.”

It’s obvious that a government-issued, publicly visible ‘stop-production’ order can be catastrophic to a customer base, a brand, and a bottom-line.

So how do OEMs evaluate their processes and supply chains when commercializing a new medical device?

And how can OEMs looking for a manufacturing partner for a medical device assess whether the EMS provider is compliant with the Quality System Requirements and Current Good Manufacturing Practices critical to passing an FDA audit?

We can offer some tips based on our own experience manufacturing FDA-approved medical devices and other products in highly regulated industries.

 

3 Things You Need to Know about
Manufacturing FDA-Approved Medical Devices

    1. A Gap Analysis Will Protect Your Investment

      Knowing the right way forward begins with understanding your current state.

      A Gap Analysis will require you to have an intimate understanding of the regulation and identify where you have procedural inadequacies.

      A good manufacturing partner will ultimately help you address some of these gaps.

        • Go through each step of the regulation.

       

        • Identify and size up the gaps in your documentation system first, then look at the implementation gaps.

       

      • Find an expert resource for advice, don’t reinvent the wheel. Consultants and other resources are available to help you address a particularly weak area.

 

    1. Get Your Team On Board

      Similar to many practices that stem from technical initiatives, it’s not enough if it’s only the management team that understands the implications of the regulations. We can’t stress this enough!

      Everyone with their hands on FDA-approved product needs to understand the consequences of deviating from procedure.

      For example, a production associate may not realize the full significance of a Line Clearance Procedure…until a process deviation results in product mix-up, which results in a product recall. Or maybe until two similar labels get confused, which results in a patient receiving incorrect care.

      Waiting until the “until” is not acceptable!

        • Roll out comprehensive communications programs to connect the product with the end customer.

       

      • Ensure everyone involved in building FDA-approved medical devices understands the impact of their work!

 

Good team communications and documentation are essential elements
Good team communications and documentation are essential elements
  1. Build a Robust Training Program and Keep Complete Training Records

    There’s perhaps nothing more critical than traceability to the process of manufacturing regulated products like medical devices.

    Because of product significance and legal liability, a document trail is essential.

    More importantly, should an adverse event take place, visibility of the processes and parties involved can help save lives.

      • Ensure that you have properly defined which documents constitute your Device Master Record (DMR) and Design History File (DHF) to avoid iteration.
        (Hint: if you aren’t familiar with the DMR and DHR, go back to your Gap Analysis. Alternatively, contact our Creation Design Services team who can walk you through the development process).
      • Construct a solid system for conducting and controlling training that accounts for all people that touch your product as it’s being manufactured.

     

    • Once training is completed, make sure that your training records are well-defined and available for review by an auditor or other party.

    If you need additional resources in constructing your training program, today there are many good courses available. We recommend AAMI (Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation) for a variety of programs that are taught by experienced regulatory professionals and endorsed by the FDA.

Manufacturing top-quality medical devices takes a great deal of preparation, expertise and commitment. At Creation, we know that the investment is worth it.

We are very proud to partner with medical device OEMs who do so much to employ technology to improve the lives of people around the world.

Our first blog post dedicated to this important theme outlines the first three things you should consider when deciding how to manufacture your FDA-approved medical devices. Stay tuned for the next installment!

The Changing Medical Devices Landscape: Compliance & Social Media

Medical Devices: Creation Technologies Receives FDA Registration
FDA Registration increasingly important in OEM-EMS Provider relationships

One of Creation’s fastest growing segments is the Medical Devices market, and it’s an extremely exciting one.

Compliance & Innovation

For many reasons, it’s clear that the Medical industry is being transformed. I don’t think it can be overstated that, now more than ever, strong partnerships between OEM and EMS provider are critical to innovation and time-to-market.

After all, as the demand chain goes, so must the supply.

Fundamentally, the need for compliance is at the forefront. With the recent changes in FDA requirements for medical device registration and listing, more contract manufacturers will be seeking FDA registration to prove compliance capabilities.

(A small plug: recently, Creation’s Mississauga business unit became our 4th North American manufacturing facility with FDA registration. 12 of our13 manufacturing business units are ISO 13485-certified, and Creation Design Services is both ISO 13485 and ISO 14971-certified. You can read the press release here: Creation Technologies Receives FDA Registration).

At the same time that increasingly exacting regulatory requirements are challenging Medical Device manufacturers to keep raising the Quality bar (how high is high?), technological innovation continues to drive industry innovation.

For instance, the potential of micro electromechanical systems (MEMs) and the trend toward personalization are inspiring the new era of Connected Health, or the transformation of healthcare as we’ve known it through the increasing use of new wireless technologies.

For EMS providers like Creation that have extensive Communications experience, this intersection of what were once distinct vertical markets is exhilarating. And, of this subset of EMS providers, those with sophisticated Design capabilities have the opportunity to play an absolutely vital role in design and development of new modalities.

Medical Devices & Social Media
How will innovations in communication change the Medical Devices industry?

Social Media & The FDA

At Creation, we’ve seen our Medical OEM partners taking a more holistic view of patient care, which is one of the things enabling them to outpace their competition in this environment.

But is there such a thing as too inclusive, too “customer-centric” when it comes to the Medical Devices industry?

On the subject of personalization and ‘on demand’ use, it’s fascinating from a marketing and communications standpoint to see the breadth and type of information that’s being shared today in this highly regulated industry.

There’s an interesting interview with Tom Abrams, Director of the FDA Office of Prescription Drug Promotion, about the potential impact of social media and the much-awaited FDA guidance on its use (possibly slated for summer 2014).

As someone involved with social media and digital communications strategy, I was struck by one of Abrams’ comments:

“Our objective is that when you present claim information, it should be balanced with appropriate material, such as risk information. It should not just say all good things about a product and leave out the risk.”

While the focus of the interview is primarily on how pharmaceutical companies are using social media to communicate with their consumer audience, what strikes me is that Abrams is calling for a ‘balanced approach’ to social media use in the Medical sector.

Current information consumption statistics tell us that the longer the message is, the more diminishing the returns. (On that note, I hope you’re still reading!!) Similarly, many social media platforms have a very short character limit for updates in order to maximize activity and optimize the user experience from an architecture standpoint.

While this is almost certainly a chicken-and-egg scenario, the fact remains that attention spans are dwindling and so ‘balanced’ approaches are highly uncommon. Hit ‘em hard, hit ‘em fast, and with just one key message. Not several. Not inclusive, and balanced.

I’m very curious to see what the FDA’s social media guidelines will entail, and how people and companies will respond.

What do you think? How will this increased focus on compliance – in production and communication – affect a company’s ability to innovate? Will Medical Device manufacturers be thwarted in their quest to connect with the patient to develop solutions that best fit their needs? Or will avenues like expanded at-home diagnostics revolutionize the industry?

Medical Connections Are Made at MD&M West 2013

Clippard's Awesome Air Guitar
Clippard’s Awesome Air Guitar

Medical Design & Manufacturing West 2013, along with UBM Canon’s sister shows for packaging, automation, design, plastics, electronics, aerospace and sustainability provided a cornucopia of activities this year.

With keynote speakers, live product teardowns, VIP Receptions, Innovation Briefs, an improved conference track, and of course, some networking, the aisles were bustling with attendees and the booths busy with product announcements and showcases.

A team from Creation Technologies was on hand to showcase our diverse manufacturing and design capabilities, discover some new developments in the field of Medical Devices and meet some new people along the way.

Here are some of the highlights…

The Center of Attention

The main focus of many conference sessions and corporate announcements this year was bioresorbable and bioabsorbable materials. These polymers are the future of medical devices, allowing for more instinctive and less invasive healthcare.

Bioabsorbable polymers are plastic-based materials that dissolve into compounds the body can safely absorb or eliminate. Absorbption is useful in many applications, as it enables the safe internal use of medical devices, wound care implements and drug delivery systems, without requiring removal.

One exhibitor, Lubrizol, announced a new formulation of bioabsorbable polymers, not for cardio applications but rather for orthopedic, wound-care, and hernia-mesh components. The company’s new polymer technology enables it to design customizable physical properties, including strength, rigidity, and abrasion resistance. The material can also be designed to allow tailored degradation rates to accommodate diverse healing requirements.

If you want to learn more about world-changing bioabsorbable polymers and new technology, check out the Lubrizol website at www.lubrizol.com.

Environmentally Friendly

Butler-MacDonald, Creating a Better Tomorrow
Butler-MacDonald, Creating a Better Tomorrow

I enjoy learning about any company that is working to improve the environment and create a better tomorrow, and so the Butler-MacDonald booth piqued my interest. The theme of their booth this year was “Turning Plastic Scrap into Usable Plastic.” Jars and pictures of plastic material everywhere really caught my attention.

Butler-MacDonald offers plastic recycling services that enable the recovery of high-quality polymers from plastics or parts that most companies would consider unusable. They have the technology and processes to take plastic that has been contaminated, poorly recycled or scrapped, and deliver polymers that are ready to be manufactured into a wide variety of applications.

So scrap everything you know about unusable plastics! Check out the Butler-MacDonald website: http://www.butlermacdonald.com.

 

 

Just Plain Cool

I will admit it was the ultra-cool, illuminated air guitar that really caught my attention at the Clippard booth.

http://www.youtu.be/sesQT84zMHY?rel=0

I was surprised that it was unavailable for me to take home and listen to on a regular basis!

What I discovered is that Clippard has been providing solutions for pneumatic, motion and process control devices to the scientific, medical, dental and analytical markets since 1941. The company excels in understanding OEM’s needs for precision, reliability and purity in critical applications, something at Creation we know is critical in the Medical Device industry.

At the show this year, Clippard highlighted the industry’s most robust and powerful linear actuator, the high-flow, stepper-controlled 2-way proportional SCPV valve that is unsurpassed in performance and durability. They also had some really cool tunes!! (As evidenced by the guitar).

With over 2,000 exhibitors covering nearly 350,000 square feet of space I know I didn’t see everything. However, I did meet some great people and it was interesting to see and hear about the new exciting technologies within the medical industry.

What booths caught your attention? What was the best seminar you attended? How would you rate MD&M 2013 vs. MD&M 2012?

MD&M West: Join Us in Anaheim at the World’s Largest Medical Design & Manufacturing Event!

MD&M West brings together some of hte best and the brightest minds in the Medical Industry. In 2013, the show takes place in Anaheim, CA from February 12-14.
MD&M West brings together some of the best and the brightest minds in the Medical Industry. In 2013, the show takes place in Anaheim, CA from February 12-14.

What are you doing February 12-14, 2013? How about coming by to visit with people from Creation’s manufacturing and design teams at Booth 1463 at MD&M West!?

It’s going to be quite an event this year, and we’re really looking forward to reconnecting with industry friends as well as meeting new people. MD&M is always a great place to solve existing challenges and be inspired by everything new in the MedTech industry.

Speaking of challenges, we’re also interested in learning more about how Medical Device OEMs are preparing for next summer’s compliance date for the EU’s RoHS Recast and, along with it, the end of general exemptions for the Medical market. Are your Medical and IVD Devices prepared for the 2014 deadline and its accompanying requirements for risk management? If you do attend MD&M West, please come by the Creation booth and give us your take on this latest industry shift.

New to MD&M this year are ‘bite-sized’ MedTech Innovate Seminars, offering a more personalized plan for show and conference attendees. This new ability to pick and choose from a menu of sessions is great…increased flexibility in content is always a good thing!

Hope to see you there! Please feel free to give Kirk a call at 720.936.2028 for more info or to make plans to meet.

For a recap of some of last year’s MD&M highlights, please read Jennifer’s post, here.

A Whirlwind at MD&M West: Medical Device Design & Manufacturing

Creation Technologies at Medical Design & Manufacturing
Some of the Creation Team at MD&M West: Kirk Olson, Jennifer Marsh, Dan Shepard and Joe Garcia

Medical devices galore! Product launches, new technologies, international customers, diverse exhibitors, Innovation Briefs, conferences, networking and quality business meetings were all under one roof at MD&M West 2012 at the Anaheim Convention Center earlier this year.

This was my first year at an MD&M (Medical Design & Manufacturing) tradeshow and I didn’t know what to expect. I was excited to meet up with people in the Medical industry and share Creation Technologies’ diverse manufacturing and design capabilities (especially with our recent acquisition and addition of our Design Services team), but I was just as anxious to check out all of the other exhibitors.

With all of UBM Canon’s sister shows for packaging, automation, design, plastics, sensors, electronics, aerospace and sustainability, I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for me and for all the other show-goers. I wasn’t disappointed. The atmosphere was upbeat and exciting with so much to see that I will have to go back! Here are some of the highlights….

Process Efficiency & Quality Controls

My first stop was FFD, Inc. a company whose Sequence Enterprise Software is unique for writing, managing, deploying and validating shop-floor work instructions, a process that’s very important in our high-tech electronics industry. Medical and other device manufacturers are using the tool to keep up with all the manufacturing routines and manage strict quality requirements.

Over the years I’ve heard both my husband and Creation’s engineers grumble at how writing operational instructions in a Word document can be so cumbersome, and FFD’s software seems to solve some of the typical challenges:

  • Completed work instructions can be viewed online or printed.
  • If a manufacturing step needs to be added or removed, the software can handle the change by automatically updating the instructions.

I received my CD in the mail last week but FFD offers a free version downloadable from their website: http://www.sequencesoftware.com/lockstepfree.

FANUC Robot
The amazing FANUC robot

Innovation

Then there was the Assembly/Automation Equipment, Systems, and Robotics.

Today’s cutting-edge pick and place machines, transfer robots and conveyor systems are unbelievably fast and accurate, meaning improved processing times and higher throughput. For Creation and our customers, time to market is always key and so seeing significant advances in this space is always very exciting.

I stood in awe of a particular robot produced by FANUC Robotics specifically made for food transfer. At MD&M the robot picked up chocolate covered donuts and moved them from one conveyor to another at a rate of 220 picks per minute…without even disturbing the delicious chocolate glaze! That’s a lot of donuts.

Check out the FANUC robot in action for yourself!

http://www.youtu.be/kMJgtmUKmN8?rel=0

Social Media and Strategic Marketing

It’s always great to meet up with people in your industry to benchmark and share ideas. I had some very interesting conversations at this year’s MD&M with Medical device manufacturers, analysts, Creation’s customers, competitors and partners alike.

The buzz on the show floor as well as the Innovations Briefs presentations confirm that even the Medical market is opening up to the idea of new communications tools like social media because, let’s face it, it’s here to stay. I read an article by Tricia Rodewald on Medical Device + Diagnostic Industry (MDDI) that sums this idea up really well. To quote a few of her thoughts:

“Most companies understand the importance of strategic marketing. However, the medical technology industry’s cautiousness to protect intellectual property and avoid legal ramifications can often restrict effective, innovative marketing efforts….To stay relevant—now, and in the future—medical technology companies need to reevaluate how they communicate their expertise and develop online and offline strategies for enhancing strategic partnerships.”

I think this is true not only of the Medical industry, but of the entire Electronics Manufacturing industry. The better we get at communicating the value we each bring to the table, the better we get at sharing information to overcome industry challenges, the more opportunity and growth there will be.

Now that I am back and have had a chance to reflect on the 2012 MD&M I would say it was, in a word, educational. It was a great chance to check the pulse of the medical industry.

What did you think? Did you go? Are you planning to attend any of the other MD&M shows in 2012 or 2013?

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