What are the latest trends in the field of medical engineering? Which innovative injection moulding technologies can secure a competitive advantage? How can intelligent automation engineering improve efficiency and quality? Answers to these and other questions were delivered at the med.con medical technology conference in Delhi and Mumbai, to which Engel - the specialist in automation and injection moulding machine production with head offices in Austria – invited participants in March.
The market for medical engineering in India is expanding all the time, driven by rising private demand on the part of affluent patients and a greater influx of public funding aimed at improving primary healthcare. At the same time, the health insurance market is undergoing radical change. The Indian government is planning to open up the insurance market to global insurance companies, which is also likely to boost demand for medical products.
For medical device manufacturers, therefore, India promises significant potential; moreover, rising import duties on goods from China and other Asian countries are making production within India an increasingly attractive prospect. Alongside the global medical engineering groups currently expanding production capacity in India, more and more local plastics processing firms are getting involved in the field. However, many of these companies lack expertise and experience specific to the sector. “The challenge lies in combining high product quality with maximum cost-effectiveness”, emphasises Jitendra Devlia, Managing Director of Engel MAchinery India in Mumbai. “At med.con, we saw how state-of-the-art technologies and a high degree of automation can achieve this balancing act, and exactly what is required for the Indian market in particular.”
Around 50 plastics processors attending the event in Delhi and Mumbai took the chance to find out about trends and innovative products and learn about European expertise in system solutions. In Mumbai, med.con was hosted by Engel 's sales and service office, which recently underwent expansion. Participants also gained an insight into the reality of production in medical engineering at the on-site technical centre.
Polypropylene syringe barrels were produced from an eight-cavity mould using an all-electric Engel e-motion 100 T injection moulding machine featuring a clean room design; the cycle time was six seconds. “By combining maximum precision with dynamism, the machines in the Engel e-motion series are ideal for producing long and narrow thin-walled components such as barrels for hypodermic syringes”, says Christoph Lhota, head of Engel's medical business unit in the Austrian town of Schwertberg. “The machines perform their tasks with extreme energy efficiency. With encapsulated drives, sealed toggle lever, smooth surfaces and encapsulated barrels, they can also be used in a clean room environment.”
In his presentation, Christoph Lhota spoke about the requirements of medical engineering and clean room production. He emphasised the importance of adapting production systems to the precise task in hand and local conditions. Turnkey solutions – whereby the injection moulding machine, automation and mould are supplied from a single source – provide another key to maximising cost-effectiveness and efficiency. To supply solutions of this kind, Engel collaborates with partner companies that include the mould manufacturer Kebo of Neuhausen in Switzerland and Hekuma, the automation specialist based at Eching in Germany. Both of these firms gave presentations at med.con.
A special department at Engel Austria's headquarters is devoted to applying experience from projects around the world to the development of injection moulding solutions for the medical technology and pharmaceutical sectors. “We work very closely with medical specialists in Austria”, reveals Jitendra Devlia. “We then link their experience and expertise in the sector with our own knowledge of the market here in India. The success of our approach is clear from the strong competitiveness of our customers in India.