BIOMEDevice Boston 2017 is a two-day trade show held at Boston Convention and Exhibition Center on May 3.
The exhibition featured the following events: MD&M Event, Plastec New England, Design & Manufacturing New England and ESC (Embedded System Conference). The exhibition was very compact. More than 400 companies used only 10% of the venue because most of the exhibitors showcased their products in smaller sized booths.
The concept is to feature manufacturers and their processing technologies for the medical device industry. New England is considered one of the best regions in the country for medical care. The companies that participated in the trade show were affiliated with medical components manufacturing. There was an array of manufacturers, except those that produced raw materials and standard components necessary to build medical devices. They featured designs for devices and equipment, plastics molding, etching for circuit boards and metallic components, laser processing for all kinds of materials, printing for functional circuits, surface treatment and plating for plastics, adhesion and lamination of different materials, assembling of wire harness, EMS, tests and analysis. The companies in the exhibition provided cutting-edge technologies.
The show has evolved over the past few years. There were many circuit board manufacturers in the past, but the number of multi-layer board manufacturers dwindled this year. More than 10 flex circuit manufacturers were present, and they displayed several specific flex circuits for smart watches and wearable devices. These new devices use multilayer rigid-flex circuits that are very different from typical rigid-flex applied to aerospace devices. They look fragile because of their thin and narrow frame design used in small and lightweight devices. The manufacturing reps assured everyone their products are reliable, despite their fragile appearance.
The companies headquartered in New England were mostly small ones; however, on a global level, their technologies are cutting-edge. The two companies in particular are TechEtch in Plymouth, MA, and PhotoMachining from Pelham, NH. TechEtch provides the finest etching capabilities for various materials using both of metals and polyimide films. It can generate patterns finer than 50 microns for flex circuits and metallic components. PhotoMachining developed various laser cutting systems for all kinds of solid materials, and can drill 2-micron diameter holes on polyimide films. The company provides not only laser processing services, but laser processing equipment.
Although Boston is home of some of the finest hospitals in the world, many of the manufacturers at the show are headquartered outside of New England. Most of the flex circuit manufacturers are located in the Midwest and West Coast. These companies do not have large manufacturing capabilities, and outsource their manufacturing to contractors in Asia. This aside, the quality of health care in the Boston area is second to none. For this reason, hospitals and medical device companies throughout this area will remain on top for their leading-edge capabilities.
DKN Research, www.dknresearch.com
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