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醫療拚創新 三領域大進擊 (2017-12-05 IEK產業情報網 )

MEDICA is the world’s largest and most authoritative professional comprehensive exhibition for hospital and medical equipment and supplies. The 2016 exhibition was also held alongside with COMPAMED, an international medical components and raw materials exhibition. More than 5,500 medical equipment exhibitors from 70 countries participated in the exhibition. There were three key trends in the medical devices and medical materials fields.
Many emerging countries have invested in the biomedical field. Big International manufacturers have created market differentiation by increasing their added-value and product quality to differentiate themselves from emerging countries, and integrate their products into total solutions through constructing a smart environment.
Taiwan has considerable capacity in upstream raw materials and product development of downstream medical devices. Taiwan’s performance in the latest MEDICA was better than that of the past. The product quality and optimization, extensiveness of product lines and construction of service modes were excellent, indicating Taiwan’s strength in innovation and development capacity.
Manufacturers can communicate with other manufacturers at the exhibition after they complete their product development. They can also cooperate with each other to provide total solutions in the medical application field, and drive product marketing and internationalization under the creation of different service modes.



Raising the value of medical raw materials
Modified and degradable medical polymers can increase the added-value of downstream products.
The development of new raw materials is the goal of raw material companies. However, this is more difficult. Manufacturers could also modify the raw materials for downstream products in accordance with development trends in order to enhance the added-value of downstream products. For example, Eastman Chemical Company, a world-leading specialty chemicals company, has developed various bisphenol A-free (BPA-free and BPS-free) copolyesters, butadiene-free copolyesters, PVC, halogens or ortho-phthalates in accordance with the requirements of plasticizers and additives for medical material products set by the European and US markets.
In addition, with the launch of degradable cardiovascular stents, sutures and other products, many disease treatments and management methods have changed. Such products have also driven the demand for upstream degradable raw materials. Teleflex Medical OEM, a subsidiary of Teleflex Medica (a big manufacturer of medical devices), has developed bio-absorbable sutures, yarns (PGA, PLLA and PGL) and synthetic resins (PGA and PLLA) using its degradable raw materials. These basic raw materials are reprocessed to develop degradable medical devices.



Connection of Medical Devices to the Internet of Things
Through the connection of medical devices to the Internet of Things (IoTs) we can create smart medical systems and can improve the immediacy and convenience of medical diagnosis and medical care. With the development of technology and the demand for an elderly-friendly environment under the trend of aging society, the medical display format has moved towards 3D imaging and 4D high resolution. On the other hand, the subject and application of IoT continues to spread. Using IoT technology to connect various medical devices and products has become an important direction in product development.
For example, SONY, a big Japanese manufacturer has simulated the IoT medical environment, which includes solutions for smart operating room workflow, surgical process improvement software for operating room planning, 3D 4K medical LCD monitors specifically designed for surgical microscopes and 3D endoscopes, new generation innovative display systems, new OR-over-IP platform system and scheduled or real-time collaboration for surgery. This exhibition featured several devices for equipment connection, data storage and data conversion. They are also important components in SONY’s total solutions.



Medical supplies for more precise wound care
The new wound care program combined with equipment application allows more precise chronic wound care management. Medical dressing is the main solution for wound care. However, because the elderly’s metabolism is slower, the speed and quality of wound care are still big challenges for the construction of an elderly-friendly environment. In recent years, studies have shown that physical treatment also helps wound management. The industry has gradually developed equipment-based wound care methods along with the use of instruments and equipment, among which, only negative pressure wound therapy(NPWT) requires specific dressings; others mainly rely on instruments and equipment for wound care.
Taiwan’s medical equipment industry is booming, and manufacturers are gradually becoming aware of the importance of upstream materials for the added-value of their products. They are starting to look for suppliers that can adjust materials for their product development.
In addition, the upstream raw material suppliers, such as petrochemical and specialty chemical suppliers, have tried to develop value-added biomedical polymers, and are gradually establishing the concepts required for investing in the biomedical field and preparing for the risks they may face. These are the important driving factors that will advance Taiwan’s medical devices industry. However, at the development stage, the raw materials are in small variety and large quantity. Moreover, it may take two to three years for the raw material suppliers and medical material suppliers to test the raw materials and products. The raw material suppliers and the medical material manufacturers are still at the break-in phase and need more communication and discussion in order to reach a balance between the raw material development and the processing of medical material products.
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