Automation has always played an important part in manufacturing within the medical device industry for a long time. At least in part, the areas that have been responsible for this drive include machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Within the sector of medical component manufacturing, a high level of control is required in the process. Complete control over and recording the process from beginning to end is essential, with serialization playing a major part in quality control. Fortunately, this can be a plus factor when it comes to costs as well.
It should come as no surprise to learn that many factors influence the cost of medical device manufacturing. The medical manufacturing industry is highly regulated and must follow the most stringent processes imposed by industry and regulatory bodies. These not only affect costs but thanks to good planning, these costs can be minimized. This article briefly outlines five of these factors.
Automation at the Design Stage
It’s always in the best interest to bring the manufacturer and the builder together as early in the device creation process as possible to ensure that everything works correctly, but it is more user-friendly as well. This forethought can eliminate much of the costs since the problem of parts not working together late in the design stage is minimized or eliminated. This also reduces the possibility of added costs later on down the line in the manufacturing process.
Quality Gains and Efficiency
One of the primary advantages of automation is that it ensures the high quality of a product. One of the ways this can happen is to incorporate quality reviews during the manufacturing process. Quality reviews help all parties involved, granting them the flexibility to make changes and work together at any stage in the process. This, in turn, cuts costs.
Medical devices are, for the most part, created in clean rooms. Depending on the type of product being produced, different types of cleanrooms are needed. The cleaner a cleanroom needs to be, the higher the costs will be. This also applies to the machinery being used in manufacturing.
Regardless of the product being manufactured, the packaging is almost always a major consideration for costs. It is vital that all environments that a device comes into contact with being protected from the environs with the appropriate type of packaging. This is true whether the surroundings being considered are internal or external.
Medical device manufacturing has always required highly skilled workers due to the rigid procedures and regulatory requirements that must be met. Unfortunately, many people believe that as manufacturing machinery improves, skilled workers’ jobs will be eliminated. This is far from the truth. Instead, as manufacturing machinery becomes more sophisticated, workers will need to be more skilled. This, in turn, leads to higher labor costs.
While certainly in the short term it’s true that automation of the medical device industry will probably lead to higher costs. On the other hand, many of these costs can be reduced by better planning and design in the earlier stages of product development. The net result of automation in medical device automation is the same as in other fields, higher outputs and improved quality, which reduce the costs of products in the long run.