What SSP Learned at MD&M West 2018
Specialty Silicone Products (SSP) recently attended MD&M West, the world’s largest medtech event, in Anaheim, California (USA). From February 6 to 8, SSP met with medical device and equipment companies who are changing the future of healthcare. In addition to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), we exchanged information with component suppliers along the medical supply chain. The lessons that SSP learned fall into four major areas that we’d like to share with you.
Why MD&M West is the Best
Engineers and executives can choose to attend different MD&M events. Tradeshows like MD&M East are convenient for companies on the East Coast, but MD&M West is where you’ll connect with leaders from southern California, home to a high concentration of medical device and equipment manufacturers. SoCal is also where you can meet medical device designers who work for some of the world’s most innovative companies. Because California is an economic powerhouse, it’s an important place to do business.
Curing, Mixing, and Shelf Life
At MD&M West 2018, SSP learned that platinum-cured silicones are preferred by extruders who work with cables, braided cable jackets, and medical grade tubing. Extruders who use silicone as a raw material also like platinum-cured products, but don’t like having to mix parts A and B. Typically, however, two-parts silicones have a longer shelf life. These engineers were pleased to discover that SSP-2390, a series of one-part, platinum-catalyzed silicones, has a six-month shelf life.
Military Grade Silicones
SSP also learned that the market for military grade silicones has two types of customers. The first group uses silicones that meet the requirements of a military specification, or that are supplier-certified to part of a military specification (such as durometer and standard properties). The second group of customers uses only fully-certified silicones that have been tested by an accredited third-party laboratory. Typically, this second group of customers is not as price-sensitive as the first.
Automation, Reshoring, and Investment
At MD&M West 2018, SSP leaned that automation continues to grow. Some participants said that robots will eliminate jobs. Others claimed that automation will create better jobs in new areas. Meanwhile, OMRON’s ping-pong robot delighted tradeshow participants by picking up a ball and returning serves. Gasket fabricators who’d recently purchased new die cutting equipment also enjoyed the show. These companies plan to increase their sales in 2018. They also hope to reshore the production of die cut parts.