More than 2,200 exhibitors descended on Anaheim, Calif., for the recent Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) show and rolled out products ranging from robotics and automation solutions to packaging machines, conveyors, and materials. Approximately 13,900 companies were represented at the event, which included conference tracks in medical polymers, human factors design, risk management, and design for manufacturing.
Click the image to see a slideshow of a few of the products introduced at the show:
The Lapp Group rolled out its new rectangular housings, which protect connectors in environments that are corrosive or electrically noisy. Known as Epic Ultra, the housings feature nickel-plated brass hoods and stainless steel bodies. A Lapp Group engineer said the housings are well suited for robotics, food and beverage applications, wind power, and amusement park attractions. (Source: The Lapp Group)
Cool stuff, Chuck, but curious as to why there doesn't seem to be any real medical design connection to most of these robotics and automation advances. Funny that these technologies would be showcased at a medical design conference as opposed to a traditional automation or manufacturing show.
Good point, Beth. It surprised me, too, when I first attended this show. Although there are many medically-related tracks in the conference, they tend to be targeted at design and manufactring of devices. The show itself has a heavy emphasis on materials and automation, with applications in medical manufacturing.
I bet the device designers attend a show such as the Embedded Systems Conference for electronic-systems information, and perhaps a materials show for information about plastics and alloys suitable for medical devices. Interesting that this show concentrates on how to manufacture devices. It reminds me of the old NEPCON shows that focused on electronics-manufacturing and -testing products and technical presentations. The Embedded Systems Conference has become part of a larger show and conference, named "Design West," which runs from March 26th through the 29th at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, CA. The overarching DesignWest includes DesignMed sessions on the 28th for engineers who want to learn more about the design of medical equipment and regulatory issues. For more info, visit: http://www.ubmdesign.com/.
Actually there were several materials suppliers at this show, providing adhesives, coatings, silicone, rubber, resins & compounds, such as Arkema, Bayer MaterialScience, BASF, Dow Corning, and Henkel. But I would guess, also, that attendees probably go to another show like ESC/Design West for info on the electronic guts.
In posting this story, I wish as an editor I'd been better able to convey the wealth of innovation which immediately comes to light when you start clicking through the pictures. We all talk about medical products as a hotbed of design engineering; that really comes through when you look at the range of emerging product categories and well as the great designs hitting the market.
To Beth's initial comment, I agree; the bulk of the content doesn't appear to be especially Med-Centric. However, to Alex's point, each slide has the potential to stir new thoughts from the beholder.
For example, I like the cam-lock concept show on the first slide, for multi-pin connectors.While no scale is provided for the slide, I envision that as a new solution for the SPI serial port interface. How many times have you ever fumbled with the knurled finger screws while connecting the conference room projector to your laptop-?
...And to Ann andChasChas, I think you're right also – being that the coatings, laminates and specialty materials are what landed many of these new offerings in a "Medical" presentation.
Beth, I would like to ehco and expand on what ChasChas says. It is often the specific application area requirements that are unique. This is similar to the aerospace industry, where testing and not functional requirements often dominate the cost equation. One would hope that we will see cross fertilization between the medical device industry and other industries with the use of common products such as processors and materials.
I was impressed with the the Lapp Group connector picture which shows how rugged and durable this new housing is. Medical components are constantly exposed to harsh chemicals and solutions during the frequent cleaning and sterilization procedures that they must endure and its good to see suppliers trying to address this concern.
Most machine design engineers will survey existing component manufacturers for standard linear guide products, limiting what they can do with their designs. Using extruded aluminum profile guides can customize machine designs while shrinking the bill of materials.
Practically all electronic devices today contain metals that may
be coming from conflict-ravaged African countries. And political pressures will increasingly influence how these minerals are sourced and used in products.
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