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Bio Technology : October 2009
56 Australasian BioTechnology Volume 19 • Number 3 • October 2009 AusBioMedTECH Design for Manufacture drives a faster path to market for Australian Medical technology companies Design for manufacture emerged as a critical part of the DNA of successful Australian medical technology companies at 2009 AusMedtech Conference held in Sydney earlier in the year. Utilising prototyping technologies early in the product development process, design for manufacture concerns were identified early in the process and costly modifications during the production phase was avoided. Resulting in a shorten time-frame to market and better margins. Image supplied by ARRK; Rapid Prototype and production part of Heartsine Samaritan defibrillator Pad. By Avital Bandel, ARRK Speaking to an audience of over 100 people in the Australian medical technology industry, ARRK, Cogentum and Invetech provided a compelling case for the adoption of 'design for manufacture' by medical technology firms. A recent qualitative study of medical devices companies, conducted by Cogentum reveals that design for manufacture is well known as a process throughout the industry, however the adoption and practice of the methodology differs greatly. According to Michael Johnson a director of Cogentum, "While Australian medical devices firms continue to create and develop world-leading technology; it would seem that they still struggle to bring the technology to market at a margin that truly rewards founders, management teams and investors." Travis Hardy Manufacturing and Tooling Manager at ARRK said: "Design for manufacture provides a very real and tangible process by which Australian medical technology companies can redress this issue. When coupled with the ability to move from lab bench to prototyping quickly and cheaply using the latest rapid prototyping technologies, Australian medical technology firms are well placed to shorten their time to market and deliver better margins." The interactive session identified some of the critical issues facing the industry and discussed the challenges companies face when commercialising technology and bringing it to a global market. Travis Hardy from ARRK and David James from Invetech illustrated the power of the design for manufacture process and how and where it mitigates much of the development risk that many medical technology company's face. As the Australian medical industry continues to move from strength to strength, it is increasingly apparent that the rigour and structure provided by design for manufacture not only reduces development risk, but also had a straight to the bottom line impact on the performance of these emerging businesses. Summarising the two-and-a-half hour workshop, Hardy commented, "In any economic environment, and especially the current one, investors are seeking reassurance that all value that can be captured is directed to the bottom line. Design for manufacture provides not only management teams, but investors with the assurance that the technology can be manufactured at the optimal cost and with the true margin flowing straight back to the company." `