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!

 

3 Questions Medical Device OEMs (Should) Have for New Contract Design and Manufacturing Partners

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Today, it’s more common than ever for medical device OEMs to outsource significant portions of their design and manufacturing. The medical industry’s many regulations make this process especially complex.

As Director of Regulatory & Quality for Creation Design Services, I’m often asked about our capabilities across the product life cycle from design through after-market support. Here are a few questions I hear often.

 

1. Do You Have Proven Medical Experience?

The bottom line is, medical device OEMs want a partner with experience – especially regulatory experience.

Off the bat, they are probably going to ask about our FDA-registered product portfolio. They want to see that we have experience working with other companies in the industry.  Much of this information is actually public knowledge that can be found on the FDA website.

Medical OEMs are also looking for regulatory expertise that spans the entire product lifecycle – a partner that can take a drawing on a napkin and see it through to manufacturing transfer, all while meeting FDA requirements. That positions them for a successful 510K or PMA submission experience.

 

 2. Can You Provide Manufacturing AND Design Services?

Creation’s customers today want a full turnkey solution. They are looking for support from the minute they walk in the door with an idea, through the shipment of their first manufacturing pallet, to sustaining engineering at a product’s end-of-life.

Why?

  • Flexibility

A design partner offers medical device OEMs an immediate, expert way to supplement their product development teams.

This could mean adding capacity in existing areas to meet time and cost targets.  This could also mean adding functional expertise in product development, test fixture design, test engineering, component obsolescence redesign, value engineering, etc.

  • No Nasty Regulatory or Quality Surprises

Experienced design engineers who understand the regulatory documentation and submission process help make the transition into manufacturing seamless.

Experienced manufacturing teams who understand the regulatory requirements in a volume production environment help keep auditors and end customers satisfied and safe.

When both the design and manufacturing teams are working cohesively and have a standardized process, any issues can be easily and proactively identified, communicated and solved.

  •  Saving Time and Money

An integrated design and manufacturing team streamlines the New Product Introduction process and ensures consistency from cradle to grave.  From accelerated speed-to-market to higher-quality products, this saves medical OEMs both time and money.

 

3. Can You Support My Product Once in the Field?

Attention to a product shouldn’t end when the device leaves the manufacturing floor. Every medical OEM should target EMS providers that offer after-market services like firmware upgrades, repairs, routine calibration and service.

After all in the medical industry, an OEM can’t tell their customer, “Just put it in a box and send it back to us.”

From a regulatory standpoint, the product needs to go back through a formal process. All modifications must be documented in the DHR – Device History Record – and the provider must be able to provide a detailed record of those changes that are traceable, by serial number, back to that device.

After-market and end-of-life support processes must also take health and safety into account. For example, repair or calibration procedures may need to include decontamination or similar elimination of risk – both to the provider’s employees as well as to the ultimate end user.

At the end of the day, medical device OEMs can trust their outsourcing only to an experienced EMS provider that understands the product life cycle requirements of this highly regulated environment. Questions like these help companies qualify new outsourcing partners. 

Lucky for me that in my role at Creation, I get to say ‘Yes’ to all three.

 

To learn more about Creation Technologies, be sure to attend Getting More Bang for Your Buck: Innovating within Cost Constraints” , at BIOMEDevice in Boston, MA on April 14, 2016.

 

3 Areas for Improvement in the Medical Device Industry in 2016

smart medical doctor hand drawing network with operating room as concept

These are exciting times to work in healthcare. With advancements in research and innovation, the medical device industry continues to push the envelope, saving lives and improving the quality of living for people across the globe.

But even with all of the game-changing products that have been recently introduced such as LifeWatch’s Mobile Cardiac Telemetry (MCT) patch, or Medtronic’s new superDimension lung navigation software, there are still many barriers and process inefficiencies that are detrimental to innovation.

As Director of Regulatory & Quality for Creation Design Services, I see both the technical and business challenges of taking new medical products to market every day. As we begin the new year, I’d like to share my view of three ways we can do better.

 

1. Address the High Cost of Regulatory Requirements

Whether we’re talking about medical devices, pharmaceuticals, or veterinary medicine, medical companies are constantly challenged to keep up with the never-ending changes to regulatory requirements. As a quality and regulatory professional, I am constantly thinking about these changes and their impact.

For example, there are costs associated with allocating resources and time to understand any new legislation and standards.

There are costs associated with acquiring new certifications themselves, not to mention all of the preparation, due diligence and training that must come first.

There are costs associated with providing ongoing training for your people.

Depending on the number and type of products produced, and the number of people you employ, these costs are not trivial and can run into the millions.

And passing these costs onto the consumer, or worse, the costs of non-compliance, may take you right out of competition.

How would costs of compliance be altered if softcopy standards were public domain? Or if “eLearning” were entirely non-profit?

 

2. Reduce Lengthy Delays in FDA Premarket Notification / Premarket Approval

There are substantial delays in the process of marketing a medical product in the United States from FDA submission to approval. A device with a predicate, for instance, can take 180 days for the FDA to grant clearance to market. Class 3 devices requiring premarket approval can take even longer.

These delays can result in loss of potential revenue, leading to increased unit costs because of amortization.

And what about the loss of potential benefit to society?

Because of these costs and delays, some innovative products never get to market.  Both startups and Fortune 500s alike elect not to pursue some concepts because of this barrier to market entry.

What would happen if the FDA hired more submission reviewers?  Or if the FDA addressed existing internal administrative hurdles?

 

3. Simplify Complex and Fragmented Global Legislation

There are many quality and regulatory legislative requirements around the globe. Some of these are region-specific.  Some are industry- or product-specific.

As much as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) advocates a homogeneous approach to regulatory requirements, this harmonization is not yet a reality.

For example, the FDA 21CFR820 regulation versus the ISO 13485 standard. These two requirements are very similar, however will most likely never merge. For those wishing to market in Japan on the other hand, the requirements of the Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Law (PMDL) must be independently met.

Comprehending, executing and sustaining the in-depth requirements of multiple standards is a constant burden.

If a globally harmonized standard existed, how else could these time and resources be spent?

 

Looking Forward in 2016

In conclusion, can the industry be more Lean, while still maintaining public safety and integrity?

How can we apply the Theory of Constraints to the industry as a whole?

Without a doubt, the medical device industry matures each year and while I look forward to the advancements in 2016, there is always room for improvement. Imagine if companies did not have to worry so much about barriers, but rather, focus more time into innovation and collaboration. The possibilities could be limitless.

What are your biggest Medical design and manufacturing headaches?  Drop by
our Booth #571 at MD&M West in Anaheim, CA on February 9-11

 

 

Innovation and Manufacturing Fuel Economic Renewal

Early in my career, a big part of my job was to coordinate company involvement in various trade shows across North America. I have worked hundreds of industry and association events over the years. As a result, most tradeshows and conferences can look the same to me and I rarely get excited to attend.

However, I am truly excited to attend the MEDTECH 2015: Convergence | Building Momentum for Growth conference in Buffalo, NY on October 14th and 15th. Here’s why.

Passion for Innovation

My excitement is both personal and professional. I’ve enjoyed my career in engineering and manufacturing over the years because I enjoy seeing how things are made. You could say that innovation truly inspires me.

For Creation Technologies and so many within the electronics manufacturing industry, we believe innovation is at the core of commercialization and manufacturing success. Without new ideas driving new technologies and new products, there would be no manufacturing sector. We’d lose a big economic driver.

Economic Opportunity

Over the last 10 years, there have been significant shifts in manufacturing in North America. I’ve travelled across many provinces and states, visiting businesses in small towns and big cities. I’ve been witness to the struggle of businesses and have seen the very real impact on local economies when a company is forced to close its doors, as well as the impact on people and their families when those jobs are lost.

The entire premise of MEDTECH 2015 is to bring together brilliant minds in healthcare, sharing new ideas and technologies that will elevate the medical industry to new levels. MedTech member companies are innovative and bringing new products to market. As a result, MedTech member companies are growing and creating new employment opportunities across the New York State and beyond, which is a good thing for everyone.

Medical Industry Driving Renewal and Growth

I am excited that Creation is a member of MedTech, and we are looking forward to great discussion at the conference in Buffalo.

I look forward to hearing the thoughts of Bhawnesh Mathur, Creation’s President and CEO, as he discusses the theme of Manufacturing Innovation as part of a panel of experts.

I also look forward to learning more about the cutting-edge technologies and products in development by our OEM customers.

Creation Technologies’ mission statement is to ‘enrich lives’ and we are proud to support MedTech and its innovative member companies. There is no doubt the ideas shared at MEDTECH 2015 will spark change and revitalize communities.

And that’s something to get excited about.

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!

Proud to Build CardeaScreen’s Life-Saving Medical Device

Breakthrough Hand-Held CardeaScreen ECG Diagnostic Medical Device
Cardea Associates’ Breakthrough Hand-Held CardeaScreen ECG Diagnostic Medical Device

At Creation, a core element of our Purpose is enriching lives. Some days, we even get to save them.

A Breakthrough Medical Device

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death among adults over the age of 40. In the U.S. alone, more than 1,000 cases of SCA are reported per day, many of them in sport participants. Though the exact numbers are still undetermined, young people also suffer from SCA. The disease is fatal for 9 out of 10 people.

Thankfully, there are ways to identify risk and test for abnormal cardiac conditions.

Cardea Associates, founded by David Hadley, PhD and Victor Froelicher, MD, has developed a breakthrough, hand-held electrocardiographic (ECG) device that makes cardiac screening easier than ever before.

Developed with athletes in mind, the FDA-approved CardeaScreen ECG device provides affordable, high-quality diagnostic data that identifies life-threatening, quality of life-limiting cardiac conditions.

In other words, CardeaScreen helps save lives.

To build their ECG systems, Cardea Associates partnered with Creation Technologies. Today, we’re manufacturing these amazing medical devices in our Vancouver, Canada business unit.

In the Nick of Time

The Nick of Time Foundation has a mission to protect kids from SCA through education, legislation and free cardiac screening. Cardea Associates is a Nick of Time Foundation partner supporting this great cause.

In February, the Nick of Time Foundation used CardeaScreen devices built by the Creation team to conduct an onsite screening at Meadowdale High School in Washington State. Out of the 555 young hearts that were screened, 8 students were identified for immediate follow-up with 11 more for follow-up over the next year.

This screening helped to save the life of a 14-year old boy.

Jennifer Both shares her story and her thanks:

“I want to thank you so much for your part in bringing the Nick of Time Foundation heart screenings to MHS. I wound up bringing my two sons, ages 14 and 12 to the screening for a “routine” heart screening, thinking we would be in and out in a flash. It turned out a bit different than I had expected, but I am very grateful for this. My 14 year old wound up with three abnormal EKGs followed by an echocardiogram that showed he has a congenital heart defect!

I spoke with the cardiologist from Children’s Hospital and he explained that my son has WPW Syndrome, an electrical defect that usually doesn’t show up until adolescence or young adulthood. He has his follow up appointment for further testing this week.

I am a very proactive parent, and had seen symptoms in my son for two years. For the last two years he has complained of dizziness, light headedness and heart palpitations. I have even picked him up from his middle school because he was “sick”. The school secretary said he didn’t have a temperature, but he was lightheaded and pale. He just didn’t “seem” right, she said. I took him to his primary care physician, who listened to his heart and said it sounded fine. He suggested that he was an anxious child. From that perspective, I agreed and we went on about our business. Unfortunately, a routine doctor exam doesn’t include an EKG, and his heart defect was missed.

If it weren’t for all of you folks, I shudder to think what might have been for my family, and other families whose kids were diagnosed with heart problems that day as well.”

The Creation team is so proud to have amazing customers like Cardea Associates. The Creation–Vancouver team, in particular, is grateful to have played a part in helping the Nick of Time Foundation and CardeaScreen devices help the Both family.

Our Creation Technologies Vancouver team that builds the CardeaScreen medical device
Our Creation Technologies Vancouver team that builds the CardeaScreen medical device

A postscript for sports fans…

In addition to being used for screening in high schools in the greater Seattle region through the Nick of Time Foundation, CardeaScreen is used by a wide range of college and professional sports teams, including Stanford University, University of Washington, San Francisco 49ers, Golden State Warriors, San Jose Sharks, San Jose Earthquakes and Baycity Bandits.

Read more FAQs on the CardeaScreen website.

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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