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New flexibility for medical device assembly

Smaller batches, customized medicines and a neverending process of optimizing TCO and OEE – the need for adaptive solutions in the production of medical devices has never been more urgent.

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Adaptive manufacturing

Leaders in medical device assembly are creating solutions with the unprecedented ability to produce multiple product types simultaneously – enabling small-batch flexibility without compromising productivity. This is a new generation of adaptive machines, uniquely efficient at automating dynamic changes. The secret: a synergy of key technology breakthroughs integrated into a single system.

B&R has been developing innovative hardware and software solutions for more than 40 years. Our automation know-how, customer experience and culture of innovation make us the perfect technology partner for adaptive machinery in the medical and pharmaceutical industries.

  • Automate manual tasks
  • Reduce total cost of production
  • Boost OEE
  • Produce small batches economically

For medical device manufacturers, performance starts with data. It starts with full, real-time control and traceability of each step and station in the production line, every shuttle moving material and every operation being performed. All these things generate data specific to the material being produced.

This data can be transferred to analysis and reporting systems in real time, and used to optimize the performance of adaptive machines. The ability to convert data into wisdom is the foundation of productivity and efficiency.

An adaptive machine is able to divert individual products from the production flow – for any reason, at any time – without interfering with overall production.

This sets the stage for efficient and economical mass customization, and also creates possibilities for efficient in-line quality checks that assure 100% quality while maintaining production speed and reducing loss during production.

Unprecedented productivity

Adaptive manufacturing creates entirely new solutions to challenges that would be difficult if not impossible to solve using a conventional approach. In costly clean room installations, this solution can pay for itself in footprint savings alone.

More productivity per m² of floorspace

Adaptive manufacturing solutions offer new ways to reduce the footprint of a production line. For instance, by using parallel production stations to balance load, or by merging product flows to form custom kits and packs on-the-fly at full production speed.

The movement of products through the line can be adapted at any time based on their characteristics. A prime example of this is the use of anti-sloshing. Movement parameters can be adjusted depending on fluid type, container dimensions and fill height.

Anti-sloshing makes it possible to use a shorter container, since the liquid or powder does not reach up as high in the container during movement. Reducing container size helps reduce packaging material. Reducing packaging material benefits the environment and lowers the total cost of production.

Track system overview

  • Maximum throughput regardless of individual machine speeds
  • Gap closing functionality ensures no boxes with products need rework

Track system advantages

Full integration, zero compromises

The use of robots creates big advantages for medical device assembly in terms of both production efficiency and total cost of ownership. With Machine-Centric Robotics, B&R has taken another big step toward higher productivity and efficiency. By eliminating the need for a dedicated robot controller, the solution saves floorspace and streamlines spare parts inventory.

There's no longer a need for separate hardware and separate communication. The machine doesn't need to wait for the robot, nor does the robot need to wait for the machine. Simultaneous movements in perfect synchronization with zero waiting time generate higher productivity and take OEE to new heights.

A Machine-Centric Robotics solution plays an important role in producing more medical devices per m² floorspace.

Small-batch production with large-batch efficiency

Imagine producing small batches of medical devices and procedural kits with the same level of efficiency as high-volume production. This is the promise of adaptive manufacturing. And it's a promise that B&R is already delivering on today.

Divergent material flows can merge on the fly to form small batches of medical devices or custom kits and packs at full production speed. All perfectly orchestrated by a central control system and with seamless monitoring of operations and performance. This reduces operational costs and dependence on manual labor.

Instant changeover without human intervention is made possible by moving materials on independently controlled shuttles, New products or packaging are accommodated without any retooling, no adjustments for size or shape, not even any recipes or parameters to change – an adaptive system handles these things automatically. Security is built in, and full traceability ensures transparency of both live and historical data.

  • This is the adaptive manufacturing solution for:
  • Personalized therapies, clinical trials
  • Self-administered, single-use, needle-free
  • Pre-filled syringes, autoinjectors, simple injection
  • Flexible dosing, wearables, combination products

Innovation in action

PIA: Compact cleanroom

PIA Automation uses track technology in an innovative process module to assemble medical devices both inside and outside the cleanroom. Read more

K&S: Crucial flexibility

For K&S, the flexibility of independently controlled workpiece carriers is crucial to their ability to handle unexpected last-minute changes in requirements, or even entirely new products. Read more

IMA: Future-proof productivity

By equipping its device assembly and vial capping systems with intelligent track technology IMA Automation has gained substantial flexibility and scalability, while also elimniating gaps to make optimal use of every m2 of floorspace.

Build your success on our expertise

Are you ready to move into a future where you can effortlessly adapt, scale and customize with consistently high productivity on a remarkably small footprint? B&R has the automation technology to make it possible. But more than that, we have the adaptive manufacturing expertise to make it happen.

As your technology partner, B&R will be there for you from the initial concept until the completed line is up and running. Let's talk today about your goals and how we can help you get there, or schedule a meeting to discuss how to turn adaptive manufacturing into your competitive advantage.

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