Productivity for Medical Device Manufacturing…STAT!
Ted Driggs 06.12.2013
How many times have you heard this announcement on television or in real life at a hospital? “Doctor to the emergency room…STAT!” In a situation like this, a team is called upon to be the first responders and mitigate the problem quickly with intense focus.
Medical Device Manufacturing is in the E.R.
“Doctor…we need a highly-productive manufacturing solution…STAT! This is the situation we see today in the medical device industry. With the advent of the Affordable Healthcare Act, as of January 1, 2013 a new federal excise tax has been placed on all manufacturers of medical devices that include implants. This 2.3% tax has the medical device manufacturing industry examining their financial bottom lines. Everything is under a microscope to assess the cost of doing business, from reducing research and development, slowing or stopping business expansion, to eradicating capital expenditures. Or, as a last resort, layoffs of loyal, skilled labor. The medical device industry is in need of E.R. care when it comes to manufacturing solutions.
The Doctor is Here!
No, not Marcus Welby or Kildare or even Phil. Manufacturing processes are where the gurney meets the road in this case. Device manufacturer costs come from both the raw material itself and each and every process step the product makes along the manufacturing path, until it is packed and shipped. So, if we can make the manufacturing process more efficient to drive down the unit cost of the device, offsetting this new tax can be realized. Okuma and Partners in THINC have lots of expertise in their black bag to provide some quick relief.
What’s the Cure?
Historically the medical device manufacturing industry has grown up with tried and true methods that they developed internally. Once created, these processes must be certified to the FDA, which archives them to assure continuation of product reliability. So a change in current processes to something that might be more efficient is a slow evolution due to the registered FDA certification. Only by working in the advanced manufacturing sector of a medical company do we have a chance to create the next generation of productivity solutions.
Rx: Automation and OSP CNC Controls
Automation systems and associated ancillary equipment can provide potential efficiency factors into the 90+ percentile range versus 25-50 with non-automated, human driven systems. Employing automation can create a huge leap toward compensating for newly burdening tax costs.
For over 100 years Okuma has been treating productivity illnesses and providing prescriptions for better manufacturing health. The foundation is our CNC machine tools that can handle spindles in near constant motion, increasingly tighter machining tolerances, and materials with very low machinability factors. Performing each manufacturing step, with a minimum of human intervention via robotic handling, eliminates many errors and financially robbing non-productive time.
The bonus to all of this is that Okuma has an affiliation with 40 plus manufacturing-seasoned companies called Partners in THINC. From cell automation, to metrology, to coolant systems, to cutting tool systems, to in-process adaptive control and finally to the THINC®-OSP P300 CNC control, we’re uniquely positioned to supply the total remedy. Okuma’s THINC OSP CNC control is an open architecture PC-based system which allows for easy communications internally within the factory floor automated manufacturing cell and externally to a business management software system (e.g. SAP).
By smartly deploying the right CNC machines, automation and the OSP CNC control, you can achieve gains in productivity, efficiency and traceability that medical device manufacturing urgently needs today. And yes. We make house calls.
Tell us about your manufacturing pain points. Comment below or contact us. The odds are we can compound a prescription to help cure what ails you.
Trivia: "Stat" in medical parlance is short for statim, the Latin word for “immediately.”
Ted Driggs is Program Management Principal Engineer, Okuma America Corporation.