The medical industry is one of the largest and fastest growing industries according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. As the Baby Boomers continue to enter retirement, that growth is only expected to accelerate. Preparing for Hannover Messe—the world’s largest manufacturing and engineering trade fair, currently underway—I noticed medical was a little hidden. Is the medical market only a U.S. problem, or are medical exhibitors just getting lost in the mass that is Hannover Messe?
A quick search shows that there are more than 300 exhibitors at the fair. Many of the medical exhibitors are also displaying manufacturing technology that can be used in multiple verticals. While companies such as Balluff offer solutions and components for medical technology and pharmaceutical industry, it offers many other options. So, let’s look at some of the companies that are focused on the medical industry at this year’s Hannover Fair.
As Industry 4.0 continues to advance, companies are talking a lot about the digital thread and digital manufacturing. A full digital thread or digital manufacturing can streamline documentation, tracking, making changes or audits in real-time. This is great for highly-regulated industries, and medical is helping to pioneer some of this technology. Companies like Materialise have worked with industry to reduce time while improving quality for medical goods and services. At Hannover companies will focus on the digital trend.
Dassault Systemes - Hall 6 Stand K30
In partnership with ABB, the company is demonstrating the value of using a digital twin to connect virtual design and validation with real manufacturing operations by taking you through 10 dedicated experiences. Specifically, you’ll learn how manufacturers use digital continuity to promote competitiveness, efficiency, flexibility, and sustainability by experiencing solutions for robot design, advanced simulation, model-based manufacturing and more. The booth also features an ABB robot performing simulated welding operations and AR-assisted quality inspections.
While this isn’t related to medical, Dessault Systemes is progressing medical CAD and simulation. Dassault Systemes offers so much in the medical field. One thing I found interesting was that doctors are seeking drug approval through digital models of a human, and the FDA is on board. Real-world testing is timely and expensive—not that computing time is free, but real-human test subjects couldn’t have the myriad of different problems, chemistry, or multitude of other prescriptions that a digital human sample could.
Macios - Hall 7, Stand 26
However, safety is always a concern, and Macios is one of the many companies showing off its risk management software for medical devices. Macios offers manufacturing software and apps, but also has a focus on medical. Macio is qualified to develop medical device software for all risk classes. Its quality management system for medical devices is certified with ISO 13485 and our development complies with IEC 62304. The company is also able to edit the software product development including a comprehensive support on the risk management for licensing.
Festo - Hall 15, Stand D11
Medical devices such as valves, switches, tubing and more are exposed to the same high-regulation. Festo is a good example of why medical seems to be hiding at Hannover. While Festo has its 2/2- and 3/3-way proportional valves, it focuses more on its other manufacturing innovations. Last year, the company had it new connected worker and workstation along with a group of new technologies, such as a new robotic spider and fly fox.
This is the Bionics Ant Festo from a few years ago. In the actuator technology used in the legs, uses the benefits of piezo technology. Piezo elements can be controlled precisely and quickly. They require little energy, are almost wear-resistant, and do not need much space. Three trimorphic piezo-ceramic bending transducers, which serve both as an actuator and a design element, are therefore fitted into each thigh. By deflecting the top bending transducer, the ant lifts its leg. With the pair underneath, each leg can be exactly deflected forwards and backwards.
Hannover is the time when companies like to show off, and honesty, Festo’s Bionic program that makes robotic animals and more grabs attendees’ attention. However, it is programs like Festo’s Bionics that has refined the company’s medical values. Many of the robotic animals are small, wireless, or require to be light weight as some of them fly. Perfecting piezoelectric technology can give precise control in a small light weight package. In addition, piezoelectric are great for applications that require batteries.
Instead of closing the valve by grounding out the charge in the material, the energy can discharge into a capacitor or energy recovery device. This technique recovers up to 50% of the energy needed to open the valve. By recovering the energy some applications save up to 95% in power. So when you are looking at all the cool technology, remember in some demonstrations the same technologies that makes all the shiny cool things work are the same running some factory lines around the world.
2/2-way proportional valves control the flow rate (e.g., in mobile oxygen therapy devices), thus ensuring precise oxygen supply and dosing during inhalation. 3/3-way proportional valves are used (e.g. to regulate the flow or pressure in oxygen therapy, ophthalmology, or dialysis).
Vision Lasertechnik - Hall 8, Stand D13
The first manufacturer to integrate photodynamic therapy and a laser diode into one unit will be showing off laser technology. Lasers are often used in medical applications such as photo rejuvenation, hair removal, and vascular and acne treatment. While lasers vary, the use of fused silica is a popular material for its low refractive index variations, leading to state-of-the-art homogeneity values, lowest birefringence values, large size capabilities, exceptional transmittance from the deep ultraviolet through the infrared region, and an ultra-low thermal expansion coefficient. All of these are critical to customers’ demanding needs, according to Corning.
However, recent research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology was able to use hyaluronic acid and lasers to illuminate partials that could be used to scan biological fluids for tumor cells and other disease markers.
Indo-MIM - Hall 3 Stand K54
Indo-MIM is a leading global supplier of precision-engineered products using Metal Injection Molding (MIM) as the core manufacturing technology. With headquarters in Bangalore, India, Indo-MIM has achieved a leadership position in the field of MIM, providing precision-engineered products to customers in more than forty countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Indo-MIM provides solutions for MIM medical device, orthopedic, and orthodontic applications that claim to provide cost effective one-stop solutions for your most demanding medical product needs.
The company is ISO/TS 16949:2002 registered as well as compliant with ISO 13485 standards. Every product produced goes through a strict quality planning process which is then thoughtfully executed in production by every member and has ASQ-certified Lean Six Sigma team members on-hand.
Premek Hi-Tech - Hall 4, Stand H34
Presentation of precision mechanical components and units for medical appliances for laboratories and research centers as well as components and units for medical devices for surgery are an increasing part of the production of Premek Hi Tech.
Premek hi tech is dedicated to medical assembly in two mechanical systems areas: Department for assembly of medium and large sizes, and Clean Room for the assemblies of small dimensions, with high cleaning and accuracy requirements. In this environment can be obtained filtering performances up to class 7, according to ISO 14644.1.
Hannover is big and grabbing attention might mean grabbing market share. When showing off technology it is important to think creatively. Ask what would attendees want to see: a small valve that can offer patients easier and longer lasting mobility, or robotic butterflies swooping around the booth?
While this is still an engineering expo, and function is key, form speaks to our human side, gets our attention, and offers a break from the mundane. Perhaps the most important thing moving forward is to use these creative products to speak to the younger generations. The skills gap is spreading, and not just in the U.S. Seeing that manufacturing isn’t all pumps and valves, but mechanics and electronics that can take them anywhere they want to go will create innovation for the next industrial revolution.