Usually held at the Javits Center, NYC, this year’s Medical Design & Manufacturing (MD&M) East conference and exhibit set up shop in the Pennsylvania Convention Center. True to fashion, the show served up a wealth of new components along with upgrades and progress reports on established devices.
One thing you can generalize about the show is the majority of products on display are connectors, the cables that interface them to assorted equipments, and tubes/hoses with valves for liquid transport and delivery. The other observation one can make is that about 75% of all the wares are proprietary, custom products tailored to an OEMs specific design requirements. In essence, there are few off-the-shelf items.
One example of the custom approach, the medical-materials leg of Saint-Gobain offers its Compass Technology for silicone extrusion. Their approach entails optimized formulations for the specific application, precision tolerances, and fluid system modeling for the product design. Essentially, users will be able to optimize silicone properties, simulate fluid flow through the design, achieve precision tolerances and preserve consistency, and evaluate in-process data.
ARC Technologies was on hand with its custom EMI/RFI shielding solution dubbed Wave-Xz. The solution is a highly precise cable coating, said to be the only EMI-absorption technology that can seamlessly cover the wires and fit directly under the connector jacket to provide a 360° termination. Another benefit is the coating gives users’ cables a very streamlined appearance.
One vital aspect that this show reminds one of is how critical some extremely basic elements can become when it comes to medical issues. Take, for instance, parts labeling. If one were to order replacement parts for, let’s say, a Nakamichi cassette deck, and the wrong parts came in the right packages, most techs easily eyeball the parts as being of the wrong type or size. In the medical field, particularly in the surgical arena, the difference between parts of the same variety are often far too subtle for a surgeon to discern them by eye alone. This could lead to damages and lawsuits beyond biblical proportions. Enter PRISYM.
The company’s PRISYM Medica labeling solution for life sciences companies meets international compliance requirements (FDA, MHRA, EU, etc.) and includes auditable security protocols plus lifecycle documentation based on the GAMP V Model. Providing a highly secure domain for label and coding design, approvals, variable data gathering and printing, the solution is available as a true client-/server-based app or web system.
In the realm of readily-available products, GlobTek was on board with a comprehensive array of power sources. Of particular interest, the BL3100C18650XSXPPGQA Li-Ion battery pack embarks as a drop-in rechargeable li-ion battery pack with built-in charger and fuel-gauge electronics. Promising to deliver foolproof rechargeable power for any portable device, the component delivers an output voltage of 14.4V and provides a capacity of 3,100 Mah.
A drop-in, rechargeable li-ion battery pack, GlobTek’s BL3100C18650XSXPPGQA integrates both a charger and fuel-gauge electronics.
Features include a Molex connector, over-charge detection, over-current detection, a discharge operating temperature range from -20°C to +45°C, and a charge retention greater than 80% at one year at a storage temperature from -20°C to +20°C. Modified and custom battery pack designs are available upon request.
Overall, it was a great show. Some of the other highlights include a plethora of robotics for dispensing, organizing, and packaging. Even if one has no occupational interests in medical products per se, there many interesting displays and learning opportunities at this show.
For example, there were a number of video displays, several of which were playing actual surgery videos. One video which I found particularly fascinating showed how a robot was able to repair a human heart valve. Now let me say that, in our current society where primetime crime-scene TV dramas show more gore and splatter in 30 seconds than all 11 full-length movie variations of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre (including the revered original masterpiece by Tobe Hooper), these videos may or may not be for the faint of heart and/or weak of intestine. Just one word of advice should you be attending one of the upcoming MD&M shows and find yourself watching one of these videos: do not stand next to anyone who is making odd, disapproving faces. Your arm closest to said face maker will in fact get a severe workout.