The Medical Design & Manufacturing show, held at the Anaheim Convention Center last week, was really just a part of the overall action, with sister shows focusing on packaging, electronics, automation, plastics, aerospace/defense, and sustainable manufacturing. Attendance was decent and exhibitors were mostly pleased with the event.

Kevin Gingerich of Bosch Rexroth’s Linear Motion and Assembly Technology division related how customers are asking for more pre-integration.

“It seems like our customers only have about one-fourth the time to respond to their customers that they used to—so being able to drop things in is very valuable to them,” Gingerich said.

More thoughts/concepts from the show floor:

• UDI, or unique device identification, seems to be a new buzzword. The interesting thing about UDI is that is can allow a manufacturer to know exactly when and how a problem happened. So if Fred made a change on the machine—say a Herrmann ultrasonic welder—on February 2nd and problems started with a part made after that point, the affected parts can be accurately recalled.
• Single use and disposed may become bigger in medical devices. Some parts manufactured to be single use are being used repeatedly. The FDA is allowing some of these parts to be cleaned and reused. Customers are, in some instances, asking for parts to self-destruct after first use, so they cannot be reused. Unsure as to how this issue will be solved, but it will be an interesting one to follow.
• Big changes in robotics are coming from the fact that systems that used to cost, say $40,000 are now about half that price, making it a reality for many people who had never considered it. But those new customers need a lot more education on how to best use robotics, according to manufacturers I spoke with.

Overall, the impression I came away with is that all sectors of industry are growing and making a comeback. Automotive is the slowest to rebound, but it, too, is certainly going in the right direction. The next couple of years (at least) look to be a solid time of growth for design engineering across the board.

Attendance at the combined shows was steady.
Conveyor display at the Bimba booth.
Air preparation is hot!
Sharing a laugh at the Stratasys booth.
Promess has some sacrificial sheep under their electric actuator.

The next show for me is the IFPE/CONEXPO event in Las Vegas. See you there!

 

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