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Trends Impacting Medical Device Manufacturers in 2024

MD+DI reached out to Trelleborg's Don Bonitati to discuss the most pressing topics medical device manufacturers face.

Omar Ford

January 19, 2024

4 Min Read
Image Credit: Andrzej Rostek via iStock/Getty Images

It can be said that 2023 was a defining year for medical device suppliers. It was a return to normal of sorts – or rather a re-establishing of the baseline since the disastrous effects of the pandemic.  

Trelleborg, an engineering group focused on polymer technology, has been at the center of many of these changes.  Don Bonitati, Americas Segment Director Healthcare & Medical for Trelleborg, spoke to MD+DI about trends in the industry and gave a sneak peek into what the company would be exhibiting at MD&M West.

In the medical sector, were supply chain issues still an issue?

Bonitati: "At the height of supply chain concerns two years ago, we took proactive steps to identify alternative material and supplier options for our customers. Offering this level of material service flexibility has mitigated most supply chain issues, and we continue to leverage our global supply chain to deliver on time to customers no matter where they are located."

How has inflation impacted materials and medical device manufacturing?
Bonitati: "Overall, it (inflation) has been manageable. Innovative material choices and design considerations give customers a competitive advantage in the market. Inflation has led to price increases in raw materials and other areas that affect manufacturing. We do what we can to mitigate any impact on customers but in some cases, we’ve had to pass on these price increases to customers."

What section of medical did Trelleborg see the greatest growth in and why? Was it finished products, combination products, or tool making?

Bonitati: The depth of knowledge and capability within an organization directly correlates with the areas of greatest growth. Having extensive polymeric knowledge enables Trelleborg to excel at providing component-level support through finished sterile packaged device assembly. When you add our experience within active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) as it relates to our drug combination product capabilities, we are a market leader.

Could you briefly discuss any trends that you’re seeing in the industry?
Bonitati: “We continue to see developments within enhanced patient care (specifically cancer therapy) to streamline diagnostics for early detection of diseases and viruses. The integration of AI and machine learning will play a part in personalized medicine to improve patient quality of life. Robotics and miniaturization will continue to be significant in the medical field allowing for less invasive procedures and more discrete therapy applications and monitoring to encourage greater patient adoption.

Additionally, more and more insurance companies are reducing the reimbursement of certain activities and pushing the responsibility of care to the patient or non-medical professional caregivers.  This has led to more innovation from medical device companies to produce lower-cost solutions with less complexity so the average person can administer the care.

Medical device companies are now outsourcing the components and assembly of products to one organization allowing for supplier consolidation, reduction in supply chain costs, and manufacturing in lower-cost countries for assembly to meet the insurance company demands. This is disrupting the medical device industry because many companies do not own their production, but instead the premarket submission to FDA. This has increased the requirements for suppliers around quality management systems and many organizations that were once considered contract manufacturers are finding it difficult to keep up with the requirements as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) look to outsource more.  We are seeing fully assembled medical device outsourcing growing by double digits, which over time will result in medical device companies losing the capability of producing products and instead be more about the design. However, they will need to partner with a medical component and device full solutions provider like Trelleborg which can help them design for manufacturing and move smoothly to serial production.”

Finally, what can we look forward to at MD&M West? What are some of the innovations that Trelleborg will have on display at the show?

Bonitati: “On display are products created using Trelleborg’s value-added solutions which offer customers business efficiency by consolidating their supply chains, reducing risk, and driving savings through bundled purchasing processes, consolidated audits, shipping and logistics. Also featured are our advanced capabilities in drug elution and solutions offered by Trelleborg’s Innovation Center. Finally, attendees can see examples of thermoplastic injection molding, elastomer molded and extruded tubing, hose, sheeting, multicomponent and micromolding solutions.”

About the Author(s)

Omar Ford

Omar Ford is MD+DI's Editor-in-Chief. You can reach him at [email protected].

 

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