Skip to content

MD&M East Offers Myriad Medical Solutions

Geoff Giordano
By Geoff Giordano Contributing Editor, SME Media

More durable and versatile therapeutic wearable material, more accurate part measurement and improved automation and 3D printing were among the many technologies on display at this year’s Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) East conference, June 12-14, in New York City.

No matter what themed section of the conference one visited, several concepts echoed repeatedly:

  • Medical parts continue to get smaller.
  • Customized and all-in-one solutions are more in demand than ever.
  • Manufacturing equipment continues to get smarter, easier to use and more connected.

Today’s manufacturing environment, medical or otherwise, is “all about machine connectivity [and] feeding shop floor information directly to ERP to manage inventory levels, shipment requirements and things of that nature,” explained Jeff Overwein, solutions engineer for Epicor (Des Plaines, IL), a provider of enterprise resource planning software.

In terms of micro and nano processing, medical contract manufacturer Marshall (Minneapolis) recently acquired a Tornos mini Swiss machine “that’s been helping us do our really small parts,” said Sales and Marketing Manager Tom Plantenberg. He showed off a small container holding fragile plastic medical components with two outer diameters—the largest being 12 thousandths—and a point on one side. “Everybody wants smaller parts.”

Automation and Robots

Robotics occupied a significant share of the spotlight, with key players emphasizing unique solutions using current machines as well as touting upcoming launches.
Universal Robots (Odense, Denmark) demonstrated its portfolio of lightweight collaborative robots, or cobots, emphasizing the UR10 alongside the UR3 and UR5 versions. Each can be used as a floor-, ceiling- or wall-mounted unit with a touch of the control screen.

Universal keeps its robots light by using aluminum tubes and cast aluminum where the joints are. The 24-lb UR3 carries about a seven-pound payload, the 40.3-lb UR5 carries 11 lb and the 63-lb UR10 carries 22 lb.

Measuring Up

Whether confirming the integrity of new parts or gathering data to reverse-engineer legacy parts, numerous metrology and scanning solutions were on hand at MD&M.

Customers using Alicona’s (Bartlett, IL) systems might measure the roughness and form of a bone screw to gauge how well it connects, said Vice President Helmut Schmidinger, or examine a stripped screw to determine if the problem resulted from a production or user error. Meanwhile, measuring the cutting edge of a tool can be done in 30 seconds.

CT scanning “is the up-and-coming technology as far as nondestructive X-ray testing [for] physical properties of materials,” advised Michael Schlagel Jr., Northeast sales manager for Zeiss Industrial Metrology (Maple Grove, MN). “It’s really coming of age,” particularly with the growing need to assess the internal structures of additively manufactured components.

One of Zeiss’ newer systems is a structured-light 3D scanner. The company also showed off its multisensor coordinate measuring machine (CMM), which “mixes optics and tactile probing to bring a very versatile system to any measurement room.” Instead of simply calibrating a camera and adding a probe, “all of our CMMs are based around tactile probing, and our optical system is offset from a known master probing location, so it gives us more accuracy with our vision system.”

Related Articles

  • Student Chris Baldwin machines a part on a Haas CNC mill.
    Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing

    HS Students ‘Pedal’ Towards Manufacturing Jobs

    February 28, 2020
    At Temescal Canyon High School in Lake Elsinore, Calif., I’m fortunate to work in a district that is supportive of career-oriented programs.
    By Robert Parks - Engineering Design Teacher, Temescsal Canyon High School
  • Steve George Business Intelligence Manager SME
    Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing

    Metal Additive Manufacturing on the Upswing

    February 25, 2020
    While it’s still considered early-stage, metal additive manufacturing/3D printing (AM/3DP) is an important part of the growth in the global additive manufacturing market as it helps manufacturers produce stronger and lighter parts, improve efficiencies, reduce waste, lower emissions, and increase speed to market.
    By Steve George - Business Intelligence Manager, SME
  • Using 3D Systems’ new Figure 4 Production Black 10 photopolymer, a single DLP engine produced these 1,200 plastic, finished, end-use components in 48 hours.
    Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing

    New Polymer Applications in Additive Manufacturing

    February 24, 2020
    The 3D printing of polymers has been around for over 30 years. And as Patrick Dunne, vice president of advanced application development for 3D Systems Inc., Berkeley, Calif., put it, there are significant applications across many different industries.
    By Ed Sinkora - Contributing Editor, SME Media
  • VIEW ALL ARTICLES
  • Latest Videos

  • Connect With SME Media

Always Stay Informed

Receive the latest manufacturing news and technical information by subscribing to our monthly and quarterly magazines, weekly and monthly eNewsletters, and podcast channel.