Is The Medical Industry Turning A Corner?

I’ve seen many different industry trends come and go and how the industry was affected by the economic downturn a few years ago.

As we have for the past several years, we made the short trip to New York City to exhibit at the MD&M East show. Having been at the show for many years, I’ve seen many different industry trends come and go and how the industry was affected by the economic downturn a few years ago.

While things were picking up business-wise for some of the companies that I spoke to last year, they were very tentative to admit to a sustained comeback. There was an overall sense of cautious optimism at the East show in 2010. But this year? Most of the people that stopped by our booth or that I spoke to while walking the show, did not hesitate to declare that this year, “business is good!”

While there was a general feeling of comfort and positivity at this year’s MD&M East show, people were quick to point out that not everything is positive -- raw material costs are on the rise and numbers aren’t back to where they once were, but that things appear to be moving in that direction.

But overall, at our booth and for those who I visited, show traffic seemed to be up over last year, with steady flows the first two days of the show before eventually tapering off on day three. People also seemed to really be doing their “homework” prior to attending the show, coming with well thought out questions, and really prioritizing their visits.

A well-attended area of the show this year was the packaging equipment section; it really struck me how crowded that area was and definitely seemed to have more traffic than the previous year. I’m not positive, but it could be another sign of the changing tide in the industry as companies’ confidence to invest in machinery seems to be growing.

Also of note, especially at the MicroCare Medical booth, was a renewed interest in the importance of cleaning medical device components throughout the manufacturing process -- before they are packaged or coated. Specifically, as seen industry-wide, there seems to be a renewed interest in solvent-based cleaning systems.

Just over a decade ago, an industry-wide trend emerged to make the switch away from vapor degreasing systems to aqueous based systems. At the time, vapor degreasers utilized chemicals that had regulatory issues, so aqueous cleaning systems took over as the preferred cleaning process, even though there were still disadvantages associated with the new processes.

However, recently there has been a renewed interest in solvent-based vapor degreasing cleaning systems among manufacturers and engineers due to the advances in both machine and solvent technology that have led to the availability of environmentally friendly options. This renewed interest across the industry was also very apparent at the MD&M East show.

Jay Tourigny is Senior Vice President at MicroCare Medical and can be reached at JayTourigny@microcare.com.He has been in the industry for 25+ years, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Tourigny holds numerous US patents for cleaning related products that are used on a daily basis in medical, fiber optic and precision cleaning applications. MicroCare Medical is a supplier of advanced cleaners, carrier additives, coatings and lubricants to medical device designers and manufacturers throughout North America and Western Europe. Learn more about the MicroCare Medical “Expertise in Action” and 48-hour turn-around policy at www.microcaremedical.com.

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