Healthcare spending will grow to $6 trillion annually, an average of 5.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to 2027, according to The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. That growth continues boosting demand for medical devices. Valued at $425.5 billion in 2018, the global medical device market is forecast to reach $612.7 billion by 2025, registering a 5.4% CAGR. A growing global medical device market leads to expanded medical device outsourcing, with Reports and Data indicating that the global medical device outsourcing market, valued at $96.6 billion in 2018 will reach $208.4 billion by 2026, a CAGR of 10.1%.
Beyond these strong forecasted numbers, 2020 also began with the permanent repeal of the medical device tax (see Regulatory, pg. 16) and the growing, aging population where globally, there are more centenarians than at any point in history and average life expectancy has increased from 67 to 72 in the past 20 years. And, while connected technology has been quickly adapted by younger generations, 76% of those 65 and older report that connected care technology is important to enable them to age at home; the market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 30.27% through 2025, reaching $232.9 billion.
The U.S. Census Bureau puts the global population at 7.6 billion, with the U.S. accounting for about 330 million people:
2 million: Greatest Generation (born before 1928)
24 million: Silent Generation (1929 – 1945)
72 million: Baby Boomers (1946-1964)
65 million: Gen X (1965 – 1980)
79 million: Millennials (1981-1996)
90 million: Gen Z (1997 and later)
Baby Boomers has long been medtech’s favorite demographic group, but other groups are aging (GenXers are already getting orthopedic joint replacements) and advances in medical technology – connected technologies for drug delivery ($4.1 billion by 2026), wearable devices ($139.3 billion by 2026), medical robotic systems ($10.71 billion by 2026) – show a market set to grow faster than ever.
Demand for personalized devices is pushing through the supply chain. Value-based care for best health outcomes initiatives from insurers are pressuring hospitals and original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to reduce costs. OEMs are responding by outsourcing more; contract manufacturers, in turn, are consolidating supply chains for better quality and traceability while investing in advanced technologies as they become smart factories.
Ernst & Young’s 2019 Pulse of the Industry: Medtech revenues increased 7% to $407.2 billion; third consecutive year of growth; highest revenues recorded to date
“Medtechs have a unique opportunity to capitalize on digital transformation. As devices become increasingly connected, medtech companies have a built-in advantage,” says Jim Welch, EY global medtech leader. “What they don’t have are broad, in-house capabilities to develop personalized healthcare offerings. Increased investment in digital collaborations that expand customer experience as well as data and analytics capabilities will continue to move medtech closer to the patients.”
KPMG’s2020 Healthcare and Life Sciences Investment Outlook: More diseases are cured; treatments are personalized; patient/consumer preferences at the center of decision-making
Medical device manufacturers are converging with other subsectors to improve outcomes, with diagnostic and device makers working with pharma companies to provide full patient customization.
Noting that innovation in medtech remains robust, KPMG predicts the industry to grow at a pace of more than 5% per year, with annual worldwide sales reaching $800 billion by 2030. Much of that will come in the area of health IT and revenue cycle management, where 30% in a KPMG survey said they are targeting those areas for investment in 2020.
Digimind Digital health trends report at CES 2020: Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) market to exceed $136.8 billion by 2021; propelled by convenient, patient-oriented medical device, applications that gather, analyze, transmit data to healthcare IT systems in real-time, supporting the aging population – 1.2 billion people worldwide by 2025 who want to age at home.
Deloitte’s 2020 Manufacturing Industry Outlook: 67.9% of manufacturers optimistic for 2020, down from 2019 survey
Vice Chairman, U.S. Industrial Products & Construction Leader Paul Wellener says manufacturers should increase resilience in their operations and double-down on the core of their portfolios. Companies should build digital muscle across the supply chain and mobilize partnerships within their ecosystem. Start by examining current supply networks and consider how to build additional agility, including additional digital technologies to increase visibility and transparency in order to flex production and resources as necessary.
McKinsey & Co.’sGlobal AI Survey: Manufacturing, supply chain management reporting significant cost decreases via individual artificial intelligence (AI)
In manufacturing, some of the most significant savings come from optimizing yield, energy, and throughput. In supply chain management, savings come from spend analytics and logistics-network optimization.
Mercer Capital’sShifting care from in-patient: "The transition to the healthcare delivery paradigm from fee-for-service (FFS) to value models is expected to lead to fewer hospital admissions and procedures, given the focus on cost-cutting and efficiency. …Ultimately, lower reimbursement rates and reduced procedure volume will likely limit pricing gains for medical devices and equipment," notes Sujan Rajbhandary, vice president, Mercer Capital’s Financial Reporting Valuation Group and Daniel McLeod, senior financial analyst with Mercer Capital.
In addition, Rajbhandary says, "pricing pressures will be felt by many incumbent and older devices, which further underscores the need for manufacturers to keep on top of innovation to continually pursue new products and technologies."
Critical new technologies such as additive manufacturing (AM), streamline early stages of product design and development and design for manufacturability (DFM).
While the first half of 2020 is likely to start slower than some anticipated, now’s the time for manufacturers to invest in advanced technologies. With connected shop floors, common software platforms working across a company, real-time machine monitoring, and automation, manufacturers can enter the decade with a plan to be more data-driven so they can troubleshoot problems sooner, improve product quality, and excel in a sector where labor shortages remain.
About the author: Elizabeth Engler Modic is the editor of Today’s Medical Developments magazine. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 216.303.0264.
More than 1 million MDrive integrated motors have sold since 2001, replacing multiple components with a compact, all-in-one motor and electronics package.
MDrive integrated motors increase accuracy while offering closed-loop performance, velocity control, energy savings, and standardized communication choices including Ethernet, TCP/IP, and CANopen. Accessories include absolute encoder, captive shaft electric cylinder, and gearboxes.
Renesas Electronics and stepping motor supplier MinebeaMitsumi are developing resolver-based (angle sensor) stepping motor and motor controls optimized for robots, automation equipment, and medical/nursing care equipment. Stepping motors with a resolver allow high-precision motor control in harsh environments and they can carry heavy loads without step-out.
Fives’ Smart AutomationSolutions Division’s new Center of Competency for Controls Engineering in Greenville, South Carolina, brings automation support closer to existing customers and expands visibility within the region, meeting growing demand for controls engineering, project management, maintenance, and equipment installation support.
Exhibitors from Bertelkamp Automation Inc., Wesco, McNaughton-McKay Electric Co. and the AddUp Group showcased technology at the center’s opening. Guests attended Tech Talks, exploring various technologies supporting machine vision systems, laser powder bed fusion for metal additive manufacturing (AM), and a new multi-camera vision solution from Fives DyAG Corp. – TruIVS.
So, how is the robotics industry reacting to today’s changing manufacturing environment?
Industry experts at TM Robotics uncovered insights from global distributors of robotic equipment to explore how manufacturers are preparing for this change, what challenges they face, and how they are adapting to meet customer expectations.
Perceptions of Industry 4.0
According to Hennick’s Annual Manufacturing Report 2018, most manufacturers are either undertaking or considering a move to Industry 4.0. to optimize productivity, and leverage technology to improve manufacturing. Yet, negative views have caused uncertainty, focusing on the threat that automation poses to the roles of human workers.
Among a pool of global automation distributors, 55.17% believed the term Industry 4.0 directly influences how customers choose robotics for their facilities.
Customers are most worried about or would like to learn more about:
Smart factory implementation (51.7%)
Collaborative robots (cobots) (27.6%)
IT and OT convergence (13.7%)
Big Data (6.9%)
Manufacturers have been slow to replace old equipment, which can cause problems when implementing new technology alongside it. Industry 4.0 is based on interconnectivity, and legacy systems that require manual monitoring cannot tap into the Internet of Things (IoT).
More than half of distributors in the study believe smart factory implementation is the biggest concern for users.
However, smart factory implementation does not always require an entire systems overhaul. Outdated equipment can be a barrier, but is not a total roadblock.
Rise of cobots
Some cobots can be taught by a technician moving the robot arm, providing instruction without any coding. Still, a major lack of understanding remains among manufacturers.
According to the study, performance (34.5%) is the primary concern when investing in cobots. Some believe that the cobot hype may be a novelty and that these machines will not provide a real benefit until performance improves.
Other concerns that customers have about cobots include:
Integration into legacy (20.7%)
Also, 79.3% of distributors don’t believe their customers understand safety requirements. Another 10.3% are unsure of customers’ level of safety knowledge.
Cobot safety can only be determined by a thorough risk assessment, where findings may indicate additional safety features, which may lower operating speeds or add multiple stops. Necessary safety features add significant integration costs, impacting return on investment (ROI).
Doubt about the safety and performance of cobots may explain the lack of change to the wider industrial robot market.
Despite the uncertainty cobot popularity continues to grow. If the application doesn’t require safety guarding, then the initial investment is low and the potential for human-machine collaboration offers efficiency benefits.
However, as applications evolve, multiple cobots may be required for scalability, and the cost of the additional equipment and human workforce may exceed the cost of an industrial robot, without the speed and benefit of unattended production. Business owners must assess the application and needs carefully before deciding if a cobot is necessary.
Vision systems in robots use motion, stereo, or passive imaging to take multiple images so that a robot can collect a shape’s data. Another alternative, 3D laser-displacement, automatically extracts 3D data from a 2D image by illuminating shapes.
Even with these advancements, automation distributors don’t believe that all robot software is advanced enough (58.6%) to fulfill the needs of today’s manufacturers, particularly where Big Data is concerned.
Robot distributors say there is a relatively even split between manufacturers asking about Big Data capabilities in automation (51.7%) and those who have not asked (48.9%).
Among customers, common problems faced with robotics software include:
Difficult to understand (44.8%)
Incompatible with other systems (37.9%)
Too slow (3.5%)
Results show existing robot software is not fulfilling needs. However, 58.6% of robot distributors highlighted free software as one of the five most useful features of the Toshiba Machine robot lineup. This stood alongside repeatability cost (79.3%), speed (41.4%), free training (37.9%), and repeatability (48.3%).
Greater connectivity is transforming manufacturing facilities as more devices connect and communicate with each other, so keeping data safe is becoming challenging.
Cybersecurity should be at the forefront of industry discussions. Despite this, 75.9% of robotic distributors said their customers didn’t ask for advice when upgrading to a smart factory.
Regardless of manufacturers’ seemingly lackluster approach to cybersecurity, with a growing number of interconnected devices on the factory floor, there are increasing entry points through which a cyber attacker could penetrate the system. Hackers could access financial information, HR files, or operational data from the factory. This could include any data that passes through a robot, cobot, and sensors.
Customers specified that when choosing an industrial robot, security protocols weren’t mentioned. The most popular features mentioned were programming (79.31%), integrated vision (55.17%), and ability to collaborate (48.28%).
Robotics as a service (RaaS) describes robotics systems rented monthly or quarterly, including technical support, real-time monitoring, and ongoing upgrades. RaaS is not standard yet, so manufacturers may still be responsible for robot maintenance during the machine’s lifespan – including cybersecurity upgrades.
Preparing for the future
Robot manufacturers must consider end-users’ changing expectations. Simple programming (79.31%) was one of the five most important things customers were seeking in robot control technology.
With more than 1,500 different programming languages worldwide, learning every potential robot programming language is impractical. One of the biggest challenges is that almost every robot manufacturer has its own proprietary robot programming language.
Beginners all-purpose symbolic instruction code (BASIC) and Pascal are the basis of several industrial robot languages.
Simple programming may be a top priority, but users will not compromise on robot ability. A balance is needed. Toshiba Machine’s controllers, for example, are programmed in SCOL, a programming language similar to BASIC, but with more advanced features.
Integrated vision (55.2%) is another priority. Vision systems can vary in ability, but all add flexibility to a robot’s performance. Advanced vision systems can also lessen requirements for an operator, reducing the need to manually input data.
Third-most important feature was the need for collaborative abilities (48.3%). Many improvements are needed for safety and performance, which manufacturers must consider when developing new machinery. Similarly, distributors must ensure that a collaborative machine is suitable for a customer’s application.
Greater connectivity has created masses of data that must be collected, stored, and analyzed. To manage this data, use improved robotics software to ensure robots remain part of the smart factory. Security risks related to connectivity have also necessitated improved management protocols and an urgent need for better education.
Robotics is changing, so the way we deliver robots must change, too.
1. What is Safe-Lock™ and how does it compare to other toolholding systems?
With other toolholding systems, micro creeping (where the cutting tool moves slightly) can occur and causes the tool to pull out of the holder. Prior to Safe-Lock™, the only solution to this problem was using side lock, but side lock is terrible for balance and run out accuracy. Safe-Lock™ is an EDM form in a shrink-fit holder. So, when you shrink the holder to insert the tool, you engage the Safe-Lock™ form which includes the grooves on the back end of the cutting tool and an EDM form shaped as a pin in the holder. It is the only system that provides shrink fit accuracy and absolute tool security.
2. How does shrink fit technology work and what are the benefits for machine shops?
The shrink fit system heats the holder so that the cutting tool is inserted, and then the holder cools down in 30 seconds. Through this, the holder grips the cutting tool 360° around the shank on multiple planes (unlike Weldon flat holders). This increases gripping torque that prevents chatter during roughing or finishing operations.
3. How important is tooling balance in the manufacturing world?
Unbalanced tool assemblies create centrifugal force which causes vibration to occur. Vibration can only go two places: down through the cutting tool and onto your part (which decreases surface finish quality and cutting tool life) or up into your spindle (which can be detrimental to the life of the spindle bearing). Without balancing, the only option for machinists to get better surface finish and longer tool life would be to slow the machine down which decreases productivity and uptime. By balancing a tool assembly, you can run the machine faster, longer and create high quality parts with better surface finish.
4. How does a presetting machine help a machine tool operator?
Presetting allows machinists to check runout, height, diameter, and critical dimensions of the cutting tool itself outside of the machine tool. Without a presetting machine, operators have to manually measure the tool in the machine which takes a lot of time. We found that it took 20 minutes to preset five tools in the machine tool while a presetting machine took only 2.5 minutes to measure the same tools. Any machinist knows that 20 minutes of downtime in the machine lowers productivity and, in turn, costs money.
5. How do shrink fit, balancing, and presetting work together?
Shrink fit ensures the best runout accuracy, balancing toolholders allow them to have as little vibration as possible, and presetting offline maximizes machine run time.
Starrett Force Software’s flexible architecture provides compatibility between force and material testing programs and different Starrett test frames. Greater application versatility provides a wider range of options for specific force and material testing. Starrett L2, S2, L2 Plus, and L3 Software is interchangeable with FMM, FMS, FMD, MMS, MMD frame/stands series. L1 and S1 software is compatible with FMM series frames.
L1 – Quality control, incoming inspection; meets requirements for fast, efficient, high- volume production testing
L2 – Suited for demanding force measurement testing to create complex testing methods or when using standard Starrett test templates
L2 Plus – Easy-to-use, comprehensive solution for complex force analysis, measurement
L3 – Optimal material testing/characterization, research & design, quality control
S1 – Basic digital testing solution for compression, extension springs; high-volume production testing; improves test result consistency
S2 – Application-specific solution for testing compression, extension springs; test spring rate, spring constant, initial tension, free length