Creation shares knowledge and resources with We Share Solar to provide engineering education for students

When Diana Ferrari, Director of Central Engineering at Creation Technologies learned about a We Share Solar suitcase building event at St Agnes of Assisi, where her daughter Julia attends school she came away with more than the excitement of seeing her daughter with a multimeter and wiring diagrams. We Share Solar organization teaches children practical engineering skills to build solar suitcases that are then delivered as lighting solutions for schools in energy poor regions of the world.

Diana was already thinking about how to help this program as part of Creation’s Making a Difference initiative. She shared photos and her thoughts with fellow team members and there was an immediate interest with ideas being bounced around as to what we could do to help.

To get the ball rolling Diana reached out to Co-Director and Co-Founder Gigi Goldman at We Share Solar to ask if Creation Technologies could sponsor some suitcase building events. Once Gigi learned more about the company and capabilities she mentioned they were struggling to find ways to cost reduce the suitcase so that they could expand their program’s reach. “When I explained to her my role in Value Add Value Engineering (VAVE-cost reducing customer designs and working with commodity management to leverage Creation spend to source material), I think she almost fell out of her chair!” Diana stated.  We realized in that conversation that we had a perfect fit! Creation’s passion for Making a Difference, our ability to add value engineering resources and leverage our supply chain to cost down the product.

The VAVE engineers at the Creation Milwaukee Business Unit have connected with Hal Aronson, Founder and Director of Technology and Education at We Share Solar and are brainstorming different avenues for cost reduction in the unit.  In addition, our commodity managers and Vice President of Commodity Management, Steve McEuen have sourced and quoted the material and found a 50+% cost savings. In the future we are looking to partner with suppliers to help supply material at cost.  Joe Garcia, VP West Region Business Development and Mark Evans, VP and General Manager in San Jose have met with team members at We Share Solar and are looking to take over contract manufacturing (CM) services from their current CM out of the Creation San Jose Business Unit.

Hal Aronson remarked, “We Share Solar inspires students to work with technology to serve humanity through building solar electric systems.  We have spent the past 4 years developing our programs and proving the concept. To date we have trained 100 + teachers who have engaged 4,000 American and Canadian students deploying several hundred solar electric systems which have lit up the schools for over 35,000 students from energy poor countries and refugee camps. People love the program both for its service to humanity and for the way in which it engages and empowers students. The limiting factor in enabling greater numbers of schools to participate in our programs is the cost of the solar suitcase kits.   Creation Technologies is generously working with We Share Solar to dramatically lower our hardware costs; this will help us clear the major hurdle to growing our programs and impact. It has been a complete pleasure to work with the Creation Technologies’ VAVE team.  We went through the process thoroughly and at a good pace.  When I put forward a date by which we needed to start shipping kits to schools the team approached it with a “can do” attitude.  This will open up great opportunities to grow and sustain our reach.  This is the beginning of a beautiful partnership”

Gigi Goldman adds, “Our mission at We Share Solar is to inspire the next generation of change-makers.  In learning to build a Solar Suitcase and then sharing it with their counterparts who live in places of energy scarcity such as rural Kenya and Uganda, young people experience making a positive impact in the world through their own work.  We are especially excited about how this opens up the world of engineering and STEM to young women who see the purpose in the work and are excited to help others.   Hal Aronson and I co-created We Share Solar 4 years ago and have become more inspired by it every year as organizations like Creation Technologies embrace it and join us to make it even better and more accessible to communities they care about.  Together we are doing more than just telling the next generation to try to make the world a better place, we are giving them the tools to actually do it…from promoting sustainable green energy education to reaching across the globe with open hands, a generous heart and clean energy.  Everybody wins.”

Learn more at: https://www.wesharesolar.org/

17 Medical Device Trends on Everybody’s Minds for 2017

The start of a new year always brings people a sense of optimism. For those in the medical technology industry, it is the prospect of new innovative devices and solutions that will better humanity.

But for all the good that medical devices bring, the industry itself is complex, filled with many regulatory requirements and barriers. It is also a very competitive field, where every OEM is looking for any advantage to differentiate itself.

In the ever-changing landscape of the medical technology industry, there will always be new threats as well as new opportunities. Being aware, equipped, and adaptable is the key for OEMs to stay ahead of the game.

These 17 medical device trends may give you a glimpse of what to expect in 2017. Which ones have already affected your team or business model?

 

  1. The Continued Rise of Wearable Tech – Wearable medical devices like glucose monitors and exercise trackers are projected to experience double the revenue growth of the overall device market. The global wearable device market was valued at over $13.2 billion in 2016.

 

  1. Solving Cybersecurity Threats – The Internet of Things (IoT) has made it possible for medical devices to be smarter and more predictive when it comes down to patient care. The downside to devices connected to the cloud is the possibility of hacking. Expect OEMs to put a higher emphasis on cybersecurity in 2017, especially around HIPAA data protocols and exchange mechanisms.

 

  1. Mergers Spur Growth – In the past few years, medical device OEMs have used mergers and acquisitions to boost growth. In 2015 and early 2016, there were over 150 major medical device company acquisitions and mergers. Expect that trend to continue in 2017.

 

  1. The Trump Effect – With the new presidential administration about to begin, there is a lot of speculation on how this will impact the health care industry. Look for the industry to try to work with the new administration to lower medical device user fees (MDUFA) and improve the FDA regulatory process.

 

  1. Increased R&D Spending – Innovation is what drives this industry. Medical device OEMs spend an average of 7% of revenue on R&D, which is more than most industries.

 

  1. Steady Revenue Growth – The medical device market is expected to experience steady growth in the next half decade, although it will be by a small margin of 2.8 percent annually.

 

  1. The Collaborative Care Movement – Medtech hardware and software companies will play a larger role in this movement, which encourages a well-rounded, collaborative effort between physicians, family members and caregivers. The goal is to provide the best possible care and attention to the patient.

 

  1. Betting Big on AI – Despite criticism about the exact ROI of artificial intelligence (AI), large companies like IBM have still invested significant capital in the last few years on the technology for its medical devices. This year, smaller companies are expected to also experiment with AI in their products.

 

  1. Medical Device Impact on Behavioral Health – Hand-in-hand with the Collaborative Care Movement, expect further growth in behavioral health diagnostic tools to help patients self-treat symptoms of conditions like depression, anxiety, and PTSD.

 

  1. Hospital Consolidation – More than 100 hospital consolidations occurred in the USA alone in the last half decade, leading to fewer buyers. The trend of consolidation is expected to slow down in 2017 due to a tougher consolidation approval process.

 

  1. The Emerging Technology Experiment – Emerging technologies such as drones, AI, and virtual reality are expected to be tested out more by medical device OEMs in 2017. Companies will evaluate how these technologies impact their business models, needs, and operations.

 

  1. Focus on Women’s Health Technologies – More companies and startups are developing innovative products and services to address childbirth, contraception, and medical conditions specific to women.

 

  1. Don’t Sleep on Sleep Tech –Many of the most inventive and intelligent new gadgets were introduced this month at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the biggest consumer technology tradeshow in the world. One of the hottest digital trends was ‘Sleep Tech’, devices and diagnostic tools for sleep and stress reduction.

 

  1. Robots go to Rehab – This year, expect to see robots being more prevalent in the rehabilitation sector. They have been instrumental in helping people with Parkinson’s disease and those rehabilitating their hand functions as a result of a stroke. Digital Health recapped some of their favorite rehab robotics in their CES 2017 review, here.

 

  1. Cardiovascular Advancements on the Rise – According to a report by GlobalData, cardiovascular innovations are trending upwards. Two specific cardiovascular innovations—coronary bioresorbable vascular scaffolds (BVSs) and peripheral drug-coated balloons (DCBs) have made regulatory progress in the past year.

 

  1. Larger Presence of 3D Medical PrintingAccording to the US International Trade Administration, in 2017, 3D medical printing technology is expected play a larger role in the development of innovative new devices, including applications for surgical planning and biomaterials.

 

  1. New Changes to EU Regulatory RequirementsThe EU will be issuing newer and tougher regulatory requirements for medical devices, including a separate one for in-vitro diagnostic devices.

 

Like every year, the medical device sector will experience technological advancements as well as industry challenges. Hopefully when 2017 is all said and done, the innovation and passion within the industry will continue to push the needle forward and make global health care better.

Tips for Engineers to Avoid Hidden Development Costs and Delays

I have yet to meet an engineer who enjoys seeing costs pile up during the design and development process.

And unexpected costs are definitely unwelcome visitors in the drive for product commercialization.

If you’d like some new, actionable ideas for getting a new product to market quickly and without those unexpected, expensive guests, here’s a suggestion for you…

Attend ‘How to Avoid Hidden Costs and Delays in the Product Design-to-Commercialization Cycle’ next week at PCB West in Santa Clara.

How to Avoid Hidden Costs and Delays in the Product Design-to-Commercialization Cycle: Creation Technologies Technical Workshop at PCB West

In this two-hour, technical workshop, Todd Dierking, Creation’s Director of Design Services and Todd Baggett, Creation’s EVP of Integrated Services, will share their engineering and component expertise to help you:

  • Get the right tradeoffs between Time and Money
  • Assess and define requirements to meet design controls, minimize costs, and still bring your creativity to the project
  • Simplify the prototyping process with some cost-effective technical techniques, as well as a checklist for commercial considerations that will help you make the best choice for each stage of prototyping
  • Uncover the ‘hidden costs’ of designing in the wrong materials

While you’re there, drop by Booth #216 and meet a team from Creation–San Jose, our rapid prototyping/manufacturing facility that’s about 10 minutes from the Santa Clara Convention Center.

Hope we’ll see you there!

More information here in our recent press release.

Are Innovation and Collaboration Inherently Linked?

Creation Technologies President and CEO at MEDTECH 2015

How are solution providers like Creation Technologies innovating to drive long-term growth and success as companies, and as business leaders in manufacturing and the high-tech sector? Collaboration plays a defining role.

Bhawnesh Mathur, Creation’s President and CEO, recently shared his thoughts on collaboration throughout the business ecosystem on the Manufacturing Innovation panel on the Strategy & Development Track at MEDTECH 2015 in Buffalo, New York:

“The world has discovered that you don’t have to have a lot of patents [to be successful]. We say that patents are a measure of how innovative we are, or that our country is, but that isn’t necessarily the case.

I think what we’ve learned in the last several years is that collaboration between, i) academia and businesses, and ii) businesses working together and sharing resources and costs, creates technology that makes the country more innovative, and helps the country become more growth-oriented.

With the deployment of NNMI – the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation where companies and academia are working together – that [organizations] are working together because I think they believe that we can develop technology better, faster, that way. I think they believe we’ll create more jobs in North America that way, they believe there is a faster route to innovation that way. It’s a model that doesn’t [provide a particular company with] a lot of patents.

I think what’s happened to the world over the last several years is that, while I absolutely agree with [others on the panel] that you have to protect customers’ intellectual property, and trade secrets and capture [critical information] in your QMS (Quality Management System), that this fear that we’ve got to have thousands or millions of patents to be “good” is something that runs contrary to collaboration and working together to [create] a more robust economy.”

Now us marketing folk are always thinking about our value proposition and how we can drive customer success. At Creation, though, it’s literally everyone across the company who thinks about our enterprise value as more than just a measure of growing revenue and improving profitability. As more than just a function of winning business.

I’m proud, and lucky, to have a CEO, a leadership team, and a company culture dedicated to building strategic partnerships through collaboration, candor and shared objectives. A team that sees collaboration as intrinsically tied to innovation and long-term success. As the responsibility of a corporation in the economic ecosystem.


To the MEDTECH conference attendees, Bhawnesh posed the question:

“Do we want to share with each other, or patent what we know? It’s an interesting dilemma. My observation is that [the global mindset] is changing more toward working together and delivering more success.”

Our motto of Working Together to Build the Future is core to the value we believe Creation Technologies provides as an EMS partner. What role do strategic relationships and collaboration play in your organization’s plans for growth and long-range contribution as a business leader?

 
Watch the video:
 

 

Creativity and Innovation in Medical Product Development

If you read my blog post back in July, you know that Creation Technologies and Creation Design Services were this year’s Innovation Station Sponsors at LSA2014, LifeScience Alley’s Health Technology Leadership Conference at the Minneapolis Convention Center.

It was amazing to meet life sciences innovators from across the globe as everyone joined LSA in celebrating 30 years of achievement in Minnesota’s medical community.

Personally, I was very impressed by Mayo Clinic Ventures. The organization systematically invests in new technology and start-ups to bring solutions to niche markets. This mindset will continue to be especially important as the medical industry focuses on the patient experience, and “outliers” become a thing of the past.

Check out the LSA2014 Conference Recap to see some of the insights shared by The Mayo Clinic, Medtronic, SharedClarity and many others.

The Power of Creativity in Innovation

In a rapidly changing industry like Healthcare, innovation is a must.

“To stimulate creativity, one must develop the childlike inclination for play.”
~Albert Einstein

We need to regain the creativity of our childhood to come up with revolutionary ideas, and we wanted Creation’s Innovation Station to help people tap into their hidden potential.

We also wanted everyone to have a lot of fun.

Naturally, we thought of LEGO!

Simulating the product commercialization process, we had a lot of fun helping guests design, build and program their own remote-controlled robots using LEGO Mindstorms.

We built some robots of our own, too, and definitely enjoyed chasing people around with them!

(Unfortunately Katie did less chasing than the rest of us…)

Nate Bullerman and Katie Eggert as Katie shows off her stylish footwear at LSA2014
Nate Bullerman and Katie Eggert as Katie shows off her stylish footwear at LSA2014

Here’s a quick recap of our own LSA experience:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V1AKpDo48yc&w=560&h=315]

Innovation and Product Development

I recently came across an article with a photo of an awesome and authentic note to parents included in LEGO Instructions from 1974. As of this blog post, this tweet by @henrywarren has been retweeted over 8,000 times!

Lego definitely had it nailed.

Unlike LEGO, however, product development doesn’t come with a set of instructions.

It involves a great deal of creative thinking, expertise, and an innovator’s mindset to overcome common product development pitfalls.

Yet, like LEGO Mindstorms, there are simple design practices that you can incorporate to achieve manufacturing and commercial success.

Anyone can find fresh and innovative solutions with the right approach, tools, and partners to help along the way.

Are you interested in learning more about how Creation and our Medical Device Design and Manufacturing services can help you innovate and succeed?

Give me a call at 262.501.6686 or send me an email any time.

P.S. For even the most experienced designers, Product Development can be a real challenge. Nate and I presented ‘DFX and You: Making the Transition from Design to Manufacturing’ last week at Hamline University in Minneapolis as part of LSA’s educational workshops. Stay tuned for an upcoming post!

Digital Imaging Re-Images the Future

Future of Digital Imaging
Future of Digital Imaging

The CCD image sensor was invented in 1969 by Bell Laboratories scientists Willard S. Boyle and George E. Smith, and it launched a digital imaging explosion so significant that it earned the duo the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Today, digital imaging sensor technology continues to improve light sensitivity and image quality.

Exciting products are being introduced at lightning speed, like sensors that use organic material instead of silicon for the photosensitive layer, and graphene-based image sensors that are 1,000 times more sensitive to light than most commercial CMOSs or CCDs.

And imaging equipment designers are finding ways to leverage advancements in M2M and communications infrastructure to improve customer experiences.

Here’s a look at some of the innovations on the imaging scene.

Medical Imaging

Creation Technologies designs and builds products for customers using medical imaging to improve healthcare
Creation Technologies designs and builds products for customers using medical imaging to improve healthcare

Cost considerations and the drive to improve healthcare have pushed the market toward filmless imaging. Its creative applications are fueling a global medical imaging equipment market that’s expected to reach a value of $35.4 billion by 2019.

Creation Technologies designs and builds many products for our customers who employ the CT, MRI and ultrasound technologies that remain the cornerstones of medical imaging.

We’re also seeing new technology and devices that will transform healthcare as we know it…like this “digital mirror” that shows you your organs in real time.

This unique imaging device combines Microsoft’s Kinect camera with medical imaging scans. It captures high-resolution images of bones and organs and projects them on to a mirror-like screen, so that you can see your body moving. This “inside-out” look could easily help a doctor’s verbal explanation come alive.

Thermographic Imaging

Thermal and heat signatures provide a world of information and save lives.
Thermal and heat signatures provide a world of information and save lives.

Thermal and heat signatures in the ground beneath us provide a world of information.

Handheld devices equipped with forward-looking infrared radiometry give scientists more accurate information that helps monitor and predict volcano eruptions and earthquakes.

With prices dropping on thermal cameras, home and building inspectors can now carry handheld devices that display thermal images of variations detected behind building surfaces. Hidden problems such as inadequate insulation, plumbing leaks, air duct leaks, and issues with electrical wiring now literally come to light.

At Creation, we’re proud to design and produce these innovative products for our customers who are at the forefront of this industry.

3D Cameras

Off-the-shelf technology can advance OEM imaging capabilities
Off-the-shelf technology can advance OEM imaging capabilities

Spectacular new consumer imaging products like the Lytro Illum light-field camera emerge daily, it seems. The Lytro Illum is able to focus at variable depths and to capture light on multiple planes. This technology lets users take photos in low-light environments without a flash, refocus images after-the-fact, and create 3D imagery from a single shot.

This technology may prove extremely useful in security and medical applications, where OEMs can take advantage of off-the-shelf technology that meets reliability requirements for critical applications.

We Can Help You Develop Imaging Products That Matter

In an industry traveling at the speed of light, digital imaging OEMs are focused on the technology and services that set their company apart from competitors.

Through Continuous Improvement and tailored solutions, Creation helps our customers improve time-to-market so that they can concentrate on what they do best: developing products that matter.

Boyle and Smith probably couldn’t have imagined — or imaged — the range of important imaging products their CCD would make possible today.

Learn how Creation’s design and manufacturing solutions for complex imaging products can help increase your profitability.

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