More and more OEMs, especially those with crucial legacy products, are reviewing their programs to find efficiencies and fine-tune competitive edges.

Spotlight Insight

It’s time to step up to Industry 4.0 – here’s how

2-minute read

…Many people envision manufacturing facilities as scenes from the early 20th century, with electricity-powered conveyor belts and workers performing repetitive tasks. However, this model belongs to Industry 2.0 history. Today, medical device manufacturers should be deep into Industry 3.0 and at least beginning to embrace the smarter technologies of Industry 4.0 to improve productivity and efficiency.

Industry 4.0 technologies – including the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), big data analytics, cloud computing and embedded systems – are more efficient, flexible and interconnected. They help you gain better control over products and faster timelines.

Here’s how to get started on the 4.0 journey.

Begin by evaluating your current business and portfolio needs and resources against your desired future state. For example:

  • Assess the value of your legacy systems.
  • Identify skill gaps in your workforce.
  • Review current and anticipated regulatory requirements.

Then, determine and prioritize which “smart” technologies make the most sense for your organization, and begin leveling up incrementally. For example:

  1. Implement connected devices and sensors to monitor manufacturing processes, create efficiencies and optimize quality control and predictive maintenance.
  2. Deploy robots and collaborative robots to automate repetitive and inspection tasks that require precision, so you can free up skilled workers for higher-level decision-making roles and needs.
  3. Adopt simulation technologies to predict material variations and improve product performance.
  4. Leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) for data collection and analysis to optimize manufacturing processes, improve quality and increase productivity.
  5. And so on.

Each step forward brings your organization closer to achieving better product control, faster timelines, and securing a competitive position in the future market.

About the author

Raghu Vadlamudi is the Chief Research and Technology Director at Donatelle. He has more than 25 years of experience in the medical device manufacturing industry managing process development groups, directing and coordinating process validation activities utilizing knowledge-based manufacturing practices. Raghu is an ASQ certified Medical Device Auditor, Certified Metal Cutting Professional, Certified Medical Device Compliance Professional, and a Certified Process Validation Professional. Raghu also serves on the advisory board of Plastics Engineering Department at University of Wisconsin, Stout.

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