OMTEC 2017: Three takeaways for medical device manufacturing
More than 1,000 people gathered for this year’s Orthopaedic Manufacturing & Technology Exposition and Conference, to learn about the latest solutions and the future of the orthopaedic industry.
As we walked around the show, attended speaker sessions and met other attendees, three key themes emerged: value-based care, additive manufacturing and design for manufacturing. Here’s how we see these impacting medical devices today and in the future.
Takeaway #1: Value-based care drives changes to the manufacturing process.
OMTEC’s keynote address featured a panel of experts who weighed in on a range of topics, including value-based care. As this approach continues to be in focus, medical device companies are more closely examining their roles in patient treatments.
Value-based care is most often thought of from the patient and care setting perspective. At Lowell, we’ve seen this change begin to affect device manufacturing too.
Data-driven decisions are changing the landscape of relationships between device providers and manufacturers. Companies actively seek new partnerships or consolidate vendors to create devices that work better and take less time to produce. With the ultimate goal to reduce error events and improve patient outcomes, reducing time to market through approaches like GD&T is also important to the decision-making process.
Takeaway #2: Additive manufacturing continues to make gains.
Additive manufacturing had a big presence at OMTEC, highlighting a number of benefits including flexibility, speed, small-batch production and surfacing.
As the number of successful, additive-manufactured device launches keeps growing, we see new options to pair additive with traditional machining. Tolerances are one example.
Traditional machining can often achieve tighter tolerances than additive manufacturing, thanks to the precise nature of these machines. A near net component created by additive can be finished on traditional machines to take advantage of each process’ strengths and achieve a better result.
Takeaway #3: Design for manufacturing expands its influence.
Design for manufacturing, or DFM, is growing more influential across device design and manufacturing. About 50 OMTEC attendees joined Lowell’s session, “Data Driven Design for Manufacturability – From Validation to PPAP,” to learn more about this trending topic.
DFM is focused on designing for cost, and limiting critical features is one of the best ways to reduce costs in the design and manufacturing process. Critical feature confirmation ideally starts at the earliest design phase, to streamline future manufacturing and inspection processes.