Better productivity enhances quality control and promotes continuous improvement by acknowledging the right solutions and collaborating with the right supplier.
Fremont, CA: The medical device manufacturers have to withstand many challenges that other producers of complex devices and equipment face, such as cost controlling, maintaining tight inventories and well-coordinated global supply chains, and sustaining the flexibility in their production operations to enable them to change product mix and introduce new products with the changing market requirements and arising new opportunities.
Whether a company produces diagnostic equipment for cancer screening, ventilators for ICUs, disposable devices like syringes, or implantable devices like pacemakers or stents for cardiac procedures, the manufacturing process has to be error-free. Meanwhile, to be profitable and agile, there is a constant requirement to sustain high throughput levels and "flex" their production systems to stay competitive and satisfy the emerging market needs.
Faster throughput and virtually error-proof manufacturing might seem to be two competing goals. To achieve them, many companies are investing in the latest factory automation systems and tools, the Factory of the Future's Factory.
To make sure that Factory of the Future technology provides maximum value, medical manufacturers have to assess various factors regarding their current production systems and manufacturing processes:
The current level of automation- Based on the product being manufactured, there are numerous kinds of assembly processes that are just as efficient and cost-effective as manual assembly systems; these workstations can be augmented with different kinds of i4.0 operator-assist technologies and can be connected with smart-powered conveyor systems.
The status of lean- All the Factory of the Future technology in the world can't correct the fundamental problems of waste and poorly organized workflows. i4.0 technology can only be implemented effectively and generate the best returns when the manufacturers have well-established lean culture and practices.
Upgrading legacy production systems- Many manufacturing plants consists of a mix of machines, from legacy equipment with little or no intelligent controls, sensors, or communications capabilities to the state-of-the-art systems fully equipped for Factory of the Future operation. Assessing older systems' status and creating incremental, step-by-step strategies to upgrade them is vital in getting the best return on i4.0 investments.
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