Sumitomo (SHI) Demag’s Medical Technology Top Moulding Trends to Watch

Sumitomo (SHI) Demag’s Medical Technology Top Moulding Trends to Watch

MedTech is a multi-billion-dollar manufacturing sector. Unsurprisingly, industry analysts are always keen to pinpoint the newest transformational medical and life science technologies expected to shape future treatment pathways. 

Regional Medical Director of the Global Sumitomo (SHI) Demag team, Andrew Sargisson, shares his industry insight and global predictions for the medical market, touching upon how these latest trends influence investments in medical injection moulding facilities worldwide.

Thermoplastic and LSR moulding continue to be used extensively to manufacture various everyday medical applications. The broad range can include implantable components, test tubes, petri dishes, PCR tubes, pipette tips and other labware, medical monitoring devices, drug delivery components and surgical equipment.

In 2023, the global medical injection moulding market size was estimated at USD 22.54 billion. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.8% from 2024 to 2030. Much of this growth is being driven by advances in self-diagnostics, the home healthcare sector, improved healthcare infrastructures in emerging economies, and an ageing population, which WHO predicts will double by 2050

The medical market, particularly diagnostics, was strongly influenced by the Coronavirus pandemic. As anticipated, there has been a natural levelling-off for pandemic-related consumables.

More recently, there has been a stronger leaning in the medical market towards larger strategic and more complex projects, such as drug delivery devices and pen-style injectors. This is predominantly due to the global growth in diabetes care, where demand for advanced glucose monitoring and insulin delivery devices propels innovation. Testament to demand, credible industry reports forecast that the diabetes device market will surpass USD 68.2 billion by 2032, almost triple its 2022 value.

Regarding machinery, there is a strong move towards “copy & paste” systems and processes in Europe and North America. The global medical team at Sumitomo (SHI) Demag, led by business development director Anatol Sattel, notes more requests for remote system access to historical machine data. This is predominantly to assist with troubleshooting and monitoring validated process settings.

To support these efforts, the company’s R&D team continues to develop an IoT dashboard to facilitate data analysis and visualisation, transfer and storage of know-how, as well as maintenance planning and prediction. Additional autonomous and interconnected functions are being conceived within this assistance system to provide valuable insight into the machine’s performance and different production variables.

The development of process optimisation systems, integrating material and knowledge with simulation tools, is probably the most exciting development on the horizon, claims Sargisson. Such systems enable processors to observe advanced settings and capture deeper processing insights.

The company’s ultimate vision is an intelligent machine that can independently predict part quality, machine wear and failures and deliver optimisations online—enabling greater process consistency and allowing for real-time machine maintenance to be adjusted accordingly.

To support these advances and to meet the explicit quality management and validation ISO 13485 standards for medical devices,  Sumitomo (SHI) Demag introduced new machine user parameters, digital quality control and KPI analytics into its IntElect S medical production package. One of these advanced Med-Spec demo cells is now in Limerick, Ireland. This will enable customers to perform validations, run tool trials and use the facility to provide valuable process optimisation training to technicians.

Also observed during the pandemic, larger-scale adoption of home healthcare and smart diagnostic devices continues to accelerate at pace.

With significant access to start-up findings, telehealth is a booming market. It is currently exhibiting a CAGR of 19.7% between now and 2030. Online video and audio consultations with physicians and medical consultants are increasingly used to deliver quality healthcare while reducing heavy work and cost burdens. The telehealth segment is split between services and products. Items such as wearable patient monitoring and telecommunication devices account for around one-third of the market.

For medical moulders already producing vital monitoring devices, including oxygen, weight, glucose and ECG devices, infusion pumps and cannulas, etc., and already meeting the exacting healthcare standards, the transition to homecare device production should be relatively seamless.

High-profile acquisitions of diagnostics companies, IPO listings, strategic partnerships, and the rise of virtual care platforms provide further assurance that the diagnostics market is on the cusp of another huge growth curve. This indicates exciting opportunities for moulders operating in the high-tech medical device and diagnostics product development and production space.

In 2024, Sumitomo (SHI) Demag will host its inaugural productivity roadshow. With four stopovers planned for July in the UK and Ireland, including Limerick, customers will be invited to explore all the latest trends, productivity and profit-enhancing technologies, including medical.

Read all of Sumitomo (SHI) Demag’s latest news here.


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