During the past 18 months, it is truly amazing how people across the globe seamlessly adapted to the virtual workplace, however meeting with old friends and new ones at MD&M instantly reminded me of how important face-to-face interaction is for connecting, innovating and partnering. As we met with our industry colleagues, these three key takeaways were top of mind:
Industry demand for new medical grade materials:
Our new CARE portfolio of materials was well received at MD&M, and it seems that there are three reasons the industry is demanding new medical grade materials:
- Securing supply chains: Over the past year we have witnessed catastrophic failures in global supply chains in nearly every industry. MedTech companies are determined to ensure this never happens again, and part of that effort will involve working with current and new suppliers who have a stable supply base and can deliver value through innovation. DSM is well positioned to support the industry in this endeavor.
- Continuous innovation: MedTech companies and their CMO partners are continuously looking for new materials that allow them to develop novel devices that improve clinical outcomes. As a global leader in material science innovation, DSM delivers novel materials with the intention of providing clinical benefits. One example is our Arnitel® platform that provides advantages in moisture vapor transition rate (MVTR) over current materials in applications where breathability is paramount, like wound care, wearable and other skin contacting devices.
- Increasing the access to care: MedTech OEMs continue to grapple with the market cost pressures, and materials play a huge role in reducing the overall cost of medical devices. As material science experts, DSM not only provides viable and more cost-effective alternatives to materials like Metal and PEEK, which may be over-engineered for certain applications (for example, DSM’s ForTii®), we also support process optimization efforts and provide materials that are easier to process, reducing scrap and improving manufacturing efficiency.
Demand for sustainable materials:
During all our discussions, sustainability was at the forefront—it is so much more than a buzzword in our industry, and MedTech companies are making strides in developing and executing impactful sustainability strategies. In my opinion, the medical industry has lagged behind other industries in adopting practical sustainability strategies, for two reasons:
- Many times, I hear that while sustainability may be important, there are other more important initiatives, such as patient safety. I have spent my entire career in the medical device industry and completely agree that patient safety is, above all, the most important aspect of medical device design and manufacturing. However, at DSM, we believe that sustainability and patient safety are not mutually exclusive. Thus, we developed a portfolio of sustainable materials that reduces our and our partners’ carbon footprints, while maintaining every aspect of patient safety.
- Some companies simply do not know where to begin when crafting an effective sustainability strategy. Thankfully, DSM is here to help! Sustainability is in our DNA as a company, and we are true pioneers in this area. Perhaps the low-hanging fruit for reducing an MedTech OEM’s carbon footprint in relatively short order is to consider switching to DSM’s sustainable materials. Up to 90% of an OEM’s carbon footprint is insourced and by leveraging DSM’s portfolio, this can be reduced tremendously.
Miniaturization of devices:
Developing lower-profile devices is not a new industry trend, but with the increase in wearable devices, portable home health-care devices, and smaller interventional devices that give surgeons more treatment options, there was certainly an emphasis on this trend at MD&M.
Some of the technologies supporting the miniaturizing of devices were extremely fascinating. For example, ISOMETRIC Micro Molding shared some of their incredible capabilities with us, including a part they recently created that is 3-inches and has 175 micro- features that are 30 microns in dimension. Their ability to mold many different materials as well as active pharmaceutical ingredients, to tune the surface micro-texture and embed electrical circuitry in these tiny parts, opens a world of possibilities for device design. Just because these parts are small does not mean they are not relevant to DSM’s resin business. In fact, they have multiple product lines that reach an annual volume of more than 100 million parts.
Also, DSM has a long, successful history of supporting OEMs in the automotive and electronics industry to create smaller, lighter and more efficient products. Now with our new Medical CARE portfolio we can replicate these successful developments with our medical device partners.