Electronics Production | November 21, 2007
Advancement in telehealthcare places<br>focus firmly on Hi-Tech design
Continuous advancements in IT and communications solutions, which make medical devices easier to use and more difficult to misuse, support the spread of telehealthcare in the UK.
This has generated increasing demand for telemetry and ambulatory products, which can be used safely in the home by patients or carers and supervised remotely by clinicians and used more effectively in hospitals. Here, Gareth Beckett explains how the medical equipment industry is responding to the new design and manufacturing challenges this creates. The demands for in-hospital products which are smaller and easier to use has spawned the growing popularity of telehealthcare among medical professionals and has been driven by the greater availability of technology – for example broadband connections in people’s homes and the growing acceptability of wireless in healthcare organisations – plus the constant need to achieve new efficiencies and cost savings in the National Health Service. The evolution of ward products that can be monitored remotely from either the ward office or some other location has led to the development of products which can now be used in the home which allow for better and more frequent communication between patient and clinician. As this further develops, there will be greater emphasis on superior cost effective product design leading to greater collaboration between designers and manufacturers to create the next generation of easy-to-use, safe and reliable in home or mobile patient devices. Where practicality and functionality once dominated the product development stage; the former traditional, heavy industrial appearance of medical products is being rapidly replaced by more patient-friendly aesthetically pleasing designs. Such changes are increasingly dictating the process through which designers and electronic manufacturing service (EMS) providers engage, consult and develop electronic medical devices. In particular this has led to a need for greater collaboration earlier in the design stage. The polar extremes of medical design for manufacture Modern-day design and manufacture for the medical sector does not focus solely on the development of high-level technology and industrial-looking systems. In fact, product development that we encounter can be found at both ends of the electronic design spectrum. At the more traditional end, the focus clearly remains on technological product development. For example, the design and manufacture of high-voltage, highly-functional products such as RF plasma generators, which use high-powered pulsed bipolar energy that enables surgeons to perform highly complex procedures, such as keyhole surgery and, increasingly, cosmetic surgery, results in an entirely functional form factor for the product. In these cases, size, appearance and intuitive operation are less of an issue for product designers. In terms of manufacture it follows the SMT/through hole hybrid approach where you still find proliferation of traditional electronic through-hole components such as wire wound resistors, torroidal coils and ferrites, inserted in to heavily copper clad PCBs using both reflow and wave soldering processes. However, with the need for increasingly “intelligent” ward based products and telehealthcare driving new product design and development, products are becoming smaller where attention to accessibility, safety, fail safes and ease of use, demand more innovative approaches to design, assembly and test. As an example, let us draw upon the intravenous pump driver. This highly complex product is required to be user-friendly, compact, lightweight, reliable and robust whilst also carrying a battery-powered function to allow for it to function with complete mobility in and around hospital wards and in patients’ homes. Whilst legacy solutions have tended to rely on serial communications, there is increasingly a move to accept other technologies such as wireless, which offers mobility and connectivity for fast data updates and patient peace of mind. As form factors reduce and require a more aesthetically pleasing high-tech look and functionality, which are easier to use and less able to be misused, the whole design structure and process changes and requires a more complex design for the circuit board, and will usually mean the need for several supporting boards. In the case of a complex intravenous pump driver, the PCB will require use of high density SMT components, which are required due to the limited ‘real estate’ (or space) on the board. Along with the demands in functionality comes the need for more memory and an increasing use of ball grid arrays (BGAs) and tiny 0402 passives, help to facilitate this. BGAs allow for smaller footprints enabling higher density interconnecting designs to be employed. Despite the potential benefits of miniaturisation on the design process, circuit board design poses challenges during assembly and particularly test. This has led to test solutions which leverage for example the new JTAG technology. Greater synergy between design and manufacture As developments progress, we have witnessed and will continue to see older industrial style medical products replaced with modern more aesthetically pleasing designed equipment. Such changes are lifting the bar on electronic design and assembly technology, requiring that both functions accommodate the limited space available within the product’s external casing i n which to mount PCBs, motors and encoders etc and/or the necessary electro mechanical parts. Introducing design for test, design for procurement and design for manufacture early on in the design phase is vital and will confirm that the processes and components are valid and reduce risk of early market failure – issues which may not naturally occur to designers. Benefits of engaging with the EMS provider early Involving the EMS provider at an early stage in the design process or by outsourcing design to these providers, gives the OEM the opportunity of early warning on whether or not a particular design approach will or won’t work during the production stage. Added to that is the EMS provider’s ability to provide early costing and build an effective supply chain. If left unaddressed, such problems could lead to late time to market due to difficulty of manufacture or long product lead times. Worse still, this could lead to unreliable products for this highly life-critical sector. While medical design and manufacture cannot be aligned with the aesthetic appeal of high-volume consumer goods such as Apple Macs or i-pods, product end users are calling for easy-to-use, accessible, attractive and reliable products. Designers and manufacturers will increasingly face challenges to produce these multi-faceted products and a greater emphasis on collaboration throughout can boost efficiency, reduce time and realise cost savings across the board. Gareth Beckett is senior medical account manager forEMS provider, Axiom Manufacturing Services, based in Newbridge, south east Wales.
Comtech Telecomm Corp. issues business update New York-based Comtech Telecommunications Corp. has issued a statement on the withdrawal of its business outlook for its fiscal year ending July 31, 2020, as well as an update on its proposed purchase of the Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd.
Xerox provides HP acquisition update Xerox has issued a statement regarding its earlier proposal to buy HP Inc.
As Samsung Display exits the LCD market a major reshuffle is expected According to the latest investigations by the WitsView research division of TrendForce, the oversupply of TV panels in 2019 resulted in a major price drop. As such, panel manufacturers hoped to utilise their excess capacity in 2020 through increasing their production of monitor panels, with Samsung Display (SDC) having the most extensive plans.
Swedish PCB manufacturer updates machine park PCB manufacturer MMAB’s factory in the south of Sweden recently got a new drilling area with updated machines.
Ventec races to build up regional inventories to fight COVID-19 The electronics industry is playing a major role in supporting increased requirements for critical medical devices during the current COVID-19 pandemic. And with that an increase in demand of the building blocks is to be expected.
Elmatica sees a spike in demand - responds with growth in staff Growing demand, new customers and an increase in business within knowledge intensive industries, has reinforced the need for another Country Manager in Poland, a new Technical Manager and an additional resource in the Customer Service Department.
Co-operation negotiations completed at Etteplan Etteplan initiated co-operation negotiations on March 18th 2020 due to temporary changes in customer demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the negotiations have come to a complete.
Indian electronics company support the fight against COVID-19 Indian engineering and technology solutions company, Cyient, says it’s received clearance for its Mysore facility to run its MedTech manufacturing lines to support the production of medical equipment critical in the fight against COVID-19
Tesvolt kickstarts production at new German factory Semi-automated production began today in Europe’s first gigafactory for commercial battery storage systems, located in Wittenberg, Germany.
Global semiconductor materials market revenues slip 1.1% in 2019 Global semiconductor materials market revenues edged down 1.1% in 2019, SEMI reported in its Materials Market Data Subscription (MMDS).
Cirexx Int’l posts COVID-19 update Santa Clara, California-headquartered Cirexx International has released a statement penned by President and CEO Philipp Menges concerning status of operations during the coronavirus pandemic.
Abbott gets OK for fast, portable COVID-19 test Abbott has been granted emergency use authorization (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a rapid molecular point-of-care test for the detection of novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
COVID-19 limits viability for AT&S Considering current events and the effects that the global pandemic is having on logistics and production chains worldwide, AT&S is preparing itself for a decline in demand in some of its customer segments.
Neways provides update on COVID-19 impact The EMS provider says it has taken various measures to limit the risks to the health of its employees, as well as its clients and suppliers. In addition, the company has taken measures to safeguard business continuity.
Samsung Display plans to stop all LCD production in 2020 The South Korean company has reached the decision to end all of its production of LCD panels in its home country and in China by the end of 2020.
Orbit One updates machine park with new selective soldering machine Swedish EMS provider, Orbit One, has invested in a new ERSA selective soldering machine for the production unit in Ronneby, Sweden.
ZOLL pivots to focus on volume for ventilator production Massachusetts-based ZOLL Medical Corporation has shot capacity up to 10,000 ventilators per month in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, representing a nearly 25-fold increase from normal volume production.
Computrol ramps output for ventilator production As the coronavirus pandemic continues its spread through the U.S., Idaho-based Computrol is joining a growing list of electronics manufacturers who are adjusting operations to support companies producing critical healthcare products.
ABB adding jobs, new distribution center in Arizona ABB has announced the creation of a new distribution center in Phoenix, in a move that will bring the company closer to Western U.S. distributors, contractors, industrial customers, and retailers.
8% growth in 2019 drives tenth consecutive year of EDA growth The Electronic System Design (ESD) Alliance Market Statistics Service (MSS) says that the Electronic Design Automation (EDA) industry revenue increased 2.2% for Q4 2019 to USD 2626.3 million, compared to USD 2570.1 million in Q4 2018.
Polestar 2 production begins in Luqiao, China Production of Polestar 2 has officially begun in Luqiao, China. The new electric performance fastback is the first electric vehicle to be produced by the facility.
Kimball Electronics updates on the impact of COVID-19 COVID-19 has disrupted the company’s global operations since its initial outbreak. While Kimball Electronics' facilities in China were initially adversely impacted, they have now resumed normal operations.
First Solar says that it's still operational First Solar says that its manufacturing operations will continue at each of the company’s Wood County, Ohio, Kulim, Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam facilities at this time
100 IC wafer fabs closed or repurposed since 2009 The hardest hit are ≤200mm wafer fabs, 70% of the closures are found in Japan and North America.Load more news