Medical Device Daily Contributing Writer

ANAHEIM, California — Despite unusually heavy rain across the region, attendance at last week's Medical Design & Manufacturing West (MD&M West) meeting was strong.

MD&M West is the world's largest medical manufacturing event. Produced by Canon Communications (Los Angeles), it is a comprehensive event for medical device manufacturing, featuring every category of medical design and manufacturing, including outsourcing/contract manufacturing, assembly equipment and production machinery, materials, packaging, supplies and services.

During the conference, Gil Reich of The MedTech Group (South Plainfield, New Jersey) offered up a review the state of the medical device market today and predicted the near future of the industry.

According to Reich, the U.S. healthcare market exceeds $75 billion ($69 billion for medical devices and $6 billion for diagnostic products) and is continuing to grow thanks to an aging population and technological advances that improve health and lengthen lifespan.

“The worldwide market for medical devices is $175 billion,“ he said. “In 2003, sales of pharmaceuticals in the U.S. amounted to $229.5 billion and biotech had overall sales of $29.6 billion in 2002.“

Reich predicted the following trends for the healthcare market.

“Demand for implantable medical devices will increase nearly 11% annually to more than $24 billion in 2007. Sales of congestive heart failure [CHF] devices in the U.S. are expected to grow from $1.6 billion in 2003 to an estimated $6.5 billion in 2008. The CHF market is one of the most promising in the entire cardiovascular device arena.“

Current opportunities in the medical device market, he said, include increased funding by venture firms, aging of the baby boomer generation, less invasive cardiology products and growth in orthopedic replacement parts. He also noted opportunities for absorbable implants, use of electronics for diagnostic products and electro-neuro stimulation devices.

Reich listed several threats to be considered by device executives, including outsourcing to low-cost countries, broader government restrictions and patent violations in China as well as terrorism-based disruptions.

Medical Device Daily asked Dale Bevington, director of Innovation Partners (London), what issues U.S. device makers face when introducing products outside the U.S.

“Companies need to focus on design of the products — the human factors particular to the individual product. A company's market doesn't end at its borders,“ he said. “Products need to be able to survive in various cultures and environments.“

According to Bevington, “Design is crucial because it allows companies to couple technical possibilities to global market demands and new business opportunities.“

He added: “Designers can be the key to finding means of differentiating your product or service in a way that your competitors will find hard to imitate.“

Bevington quoted a study by the UK's Design Council where a group of 63 companies, identified as effective users of design, outperformed the London Stock Exchange 100 index over the full period by 200%.

In news from the MD&M West exhibit floor:

Biophan Technologies (Rochester, New York), a developer of next-generation biomedical technology, demonstrated its proprietary ceramic motors. Biophan is the exclusive worldwide distributor for medical applications of the “Squiggle“ ceramic motor, produced by New Scale Technologies (Victor, New York).

Biophan showcased innovative solutions based on its direct linear drive motor constructed of advanced ceramic materials. The motor's unique, high-precision design involves only four parts, compared with hundreds for previously available products — affording exceptionally high levels of dependability and performance.

The Squiggle motor offers a new positioning solution and can be easily scaled to fit a variety of sizes and advanced biomedical devices, including implantable drug delivery devices such as insulin pumps and implantable drug pumps, as well as precision dosage metering and microfluidic devices.

“The piezoelectric ceramic technology we have perfected allows the 'Squiggle' motor to be manufactured in a wide range of sizes and configurations, especially at very small sizes and low power,“ said David Henderson, president of New Scale Technologies and inventor of the motor. “Our technology provides substantial advantages over other available biomedical motors. These advantages, such as safety and compatibility with magnetic resonance imaging, have the potential to significantly improve the options available to the healthcare and bioscience industries.“

Dukane IAS (St. Charles, Illinois) showcased its new ServoWeld at MD&M West. The welder is designed to precisely assemble thermoplastic parts that have a circular joint. The welder is built around a servo motor that controls the radial orientation of the finished part with an accuracy of better than +/- one-10th of a degree.

Compared to competing machines using induction motors, servo rotors produce more torque in a smaller package and have a quicker spin-down time to eliminate excess flash and bond shearing.

The Servo Welder can weld by time, number of turns or absolute distance — with or without radial positioning engaged.

No Comments