Medical manufacturing refers to the manufacturing of medical devices, which includes instruments, implants, and equipment. These medical devices are used for patient diagnostics, monitoring, and therapeutics and include everything from pacemakers to x-ray machines to hearing aids.
Like all manufacturing sectors, medical manufacturing is advancing as smart technologies become more commonplace in the industry. Learn what smart technologies are prominent in medical manufacturing and how their implementation is impacting the field.
3D Printing in Medical Manufacturing
3D printing is perhaps the most popular advanced manufacturing technology used in the medical field. One way that medical manufacturers use 3D printing is to design devices. They are able to easily and efficiently make changes to device design using this method. Due to the faster design process, 3D printing helps medical manufacturers produce device prototypes quicker and more cost-effectively. Using 3D printing for design and prototyping also helps fast-track the device’s release to the consumer market.
Aside from just improving the design process, 3D printing is also used in medical manufacturing to create new products. Medical devices created with 3D printing can be personalized to a patient, meaning the product can be printed to meet their exact specifications. These personalized medical devices afford patients a greater quality of care.
Another benefit of having 3D printers in medical manufacturing facilities is they can help with supply chain delays. Manufacturers can use 3D printers to quickly make product components when shipments are delayed, or parts are on back order. This is a short-term fix during supply chain disruptions, as 3D printing is rarely used for large scale mass productions.
Artificial Intelligence in Medical Manufacturing
Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming more prominent in the healthcare industry, especially with the rise of telehealth and MedTech. Medical device manufacturers can leverage AI to support production as well as to improve medical device designs.
Deploying an AI algorithm to medical devices will result in smart medical devices, which are predicted to be prominent in the future of the healthcare industry. Though not currently in production, research is being done to determine how to develop functional smart medical devices with AI capabilities that can recognize and work within the device’s parameters.
AI can also collect data to help manufacturers determine how to improve medical devices, or to pinpoint reasons why a medical device may have failed. As medical manufacturers implement advanced technologies like AI and 3D printing, the healthcare industry will become more digital, offer more personalization, and continue to increase patients’ quality of care.
To learn more about how smart technologies are being implemented into medical manufacturing, attend EASTEC.