When I first got my job with East Bay Manufacturers, I had many questions from friends and family about what it is that my company makes. Even now, when I meet new people, it is inevitable that they will ask what products we manufacture. I love this question, but I also dread it. I love it because I love talking about what we do here. I find it fascinating that we can take a piece of raw material and turn it into something useful for society. Our employees are great at their jobs; and I love to show off what they do. But I dread the question because the answer can get complicated. We create products to our customers’ specifications, which means that we provide a service and a product. Since we do not always know exactly what our customers do with the products, my answer to the question; “what do you guys make?” is fairly vague. Usually I say something along the lines of, “we make custom parts that are used in industries such as aerospace, defense, and technology.” I always feel dissatisfied with this answer because it only gives an idea of what we do. It doesn’t properly display the versatility of our capabilities, and the importance of what we make.
We are not just an old school machine shop. We are a manufacturer that has to keep up with technologies in all of the industries that our customers are in. It is vital that we are up-to-date because we need to continue providing them with the best and most relevant service to meet their evolving needs. Many of our customers provide products to the medical field; an industry where new technology can literally save lives. Here are some trends in the medical industry that we need to look out for:
While robotic surgery has been around since the early 2000s, a new robot, called the Da Vinci Surgical System, will allow surgeons to perform complex, minimally invasive surgical procedures. It will be more precise than ever before. This means that it will leave patients with smaller scars and a quicker recovery.
Da Vinci Surgical Robot – wikimedia commons
The Da Vinci Surgical System is composed of the robot that operates on the patient, and the control console which the surgeon uses. It takes the doctor’s movements and make them even more precise and efficient. It is not ideal for all surgeries, but is commonly used in prostatectomies, nephrectomies, hysterectomies, and cardiac valve repair.
In the future, is it conceivable that doctors could operate on patients who are in different cities, or even countries. The doctor would control the robot remotely, while the robot performed the operation on the patient.
Medical 3-D Printing
We can 3-D print almost anything nowadays – from cars and guns, to instruments and fabrics. And now we can 3-D print organs. Yup, that’s right – we can create actual human organs such as kidneys and livers. The technology is not advanced enough right now to create entire organs for transplant, but we can use printed organs for drug or vaccine testing. In the future, there is hope that full organs can be printed for transplant.
Smart Surgical Knives
iKnife – developed by Zoltan Takats
Zoltan Takats of Imperial College London developed the iKnife – an intelligent surgical knife. It uses an electrical current to heat up tissue to make incisions with minimal blood loss. The vaporized smoke is then analyzed by a mass spectrometer, which detects chemicals in the sample. With this, it can identify in real-time whether or not a tissue is malignant.
Other Sources: medicalfuturist.com