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Call for a Quote (510) 580-8500

Or Email Us at

The largest EMS in
the Silicon Valley

3 Medical Device Assembly Trends in 2019

Do you ever feel like technology is evolving at an ever-faster rate? That’s because it is. Whether it’s computers, cars, or smart homes, each technological advancement incorporates and builds upon what came before it and increases the pace of subsequent innovation.
This is equally true for medical device assembly. Whether you’re talking about smart-infusion systems or the Pinnacle TPN Management System, every new device requires corresponding advancements in design, prototyping, and manufacturing.
So, what’s on the horizon for 2019? What medical industry innovations will also be driving changes in assembly? We’ll go over the emerging trends below you need to know.

Medical Device Assembly Trends in 2019

Connectivity is the common factor across all these medical device assembly trends in 2019. This is the Medical Internet of Things (MIoT): the increasingly complex digital network connecting devices and sharing information throughout the healthcare industry.
The MIoT market – $41.22 billion in 2017 –  is projected to grow to $158 billion by 2022. This includes evolving roles for 3D printing and prototyping, wearables, and cybersecurity.

1. 3D Prototyping

There are significant benefits from 3D prototyping for medical devices including saving time and money by making changes as required without additional equipment setup. Plus, there’s the capability for customization based on patient anatomy.
At the same time, all these activities – including CNC machining, laser sintering (SLS), and stereolithography (SLA) ­– must conform to FDA guidelines. Once these concerns have been addressed, however, the use of robotics will streamline production processes even further.

2. Wearables

Medical-related wearables are moving far beyond activity trackers like Fitbit. These include inhalers that also monitor air quality as well as sensors worn on fingernails to track UV exposure.
These new devices must be safe and durable for out-patient settings. This means meeting FDA-standards, for example, regarding injection-molded plastic for electronic components and housing.

3. Cybersecurity

Increased digital connectivity requires a corresponding awareness of cybersecurity, especially given HIPPA privacy regulations when it comes to new medical device assembly trends in 2019. The FDA recommends the following protocols:

  • Device description: Documenting the purpose, use, and limitations of each device interface
  • Risk analysis: Identifying potential misuse due to interoperability or other factors resulting from a combination of different events
  • Verification and validation: Thoroughly applying and recording all device testing processes to ensure FDA compliance

Turning Ideas into Action

When implementing the medical device assembly trends in 2019, you may want to redesign and improve an existing product. Or perhaps you have an idea for a completely new piece of equipment. Either way, you must utilize the best provider for printed circuit board assembly (PCBA).
At Sonic Manufacturing, we have the equipment and knowledge to successfully realize your concepts. Whether you need double- or single-sided reflow processing or leaded and lead-free assembly, our experience combined with our modern, state-of-the-art 85K square-foot facility can produce what you need.
Sonic Manufacturing Technologies serves areas throughout California including Fremont, San Jose, and Silicon Valley. Contact us today to request a quote for your next project.

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Speed and Agility

For Sonic Manufacturing Technologies, the No. 1 goal is making customers happy and successful. “Everything is so razor focused on that one goal,” Vice President of Supply Chain David Ginsberg declares. Regardless of schedule compression or engineering changes, delivering on time is Sonic’s highest priority.
[Supply Chain World Article PDF]
In many companies, he notes, the various departments are at odds. For example, financial departments are incentivized to reduce inventory while customer service teams will want to increase it. This leads to conflicting metrics, unaligned processes and therefore frustrated customers. “We don’t have misalignment,” he asserts.
Instead, all the associates at Sonic are focused on maintaining the optimal processes to get jobs done and keep clients satisfied. “Everything has come around to a counter-intuitive model that is customer focused,” Ginsberg says. For example, standard metrics of inventory, capacity and utilization are of secondary importance at Sonic.
Based in the Silicon Valley in Fremont, Calif., Sonic offers its clients in-house board design, prototyping and new product induction (NPI) through full production in as fast as five to 10 days. Its senior team, he notes, started the company after working in the defense industry and then taking on medical customers at similar quality standards. Now Sonic services over 100 Silicon Valley OEMs.
Today, the company operates from a single, 85,000-square-foot location with nine lines, two shifts and runs on 100 percent solar electricity. “We’re pretty environmentally sound,” Ginsberg says.
Sonic stands as a leader in its market space thanks to its ability to do prototyping and NPI at its engineering intensive location. “We can work hand-in-hand with engineering and operations, and companies can avoid the extended lead times and travel of going o shore,” he says. Many engineers drop o products for design changes on their commute, and pick them up heading in the other direction. Others prefer to work on its floor side by side with its manufacturing and technical teams.
Sonic also serves a broad client base. “We’ll take everyone as small as two engineers and a credit card all the way up to the Silicon Valley top 10,” Ginsberg describes. “There’s a never-ending stream of new product coming through the building. It’s exciting to see all the things coming to market over the next few years.”

Industry Pioneers

Sonic has pioneered a new business model with the introduction of application program interface (API) technology, Ginsberg says. “In our effort to have a very high service level at a very low cost, we recognized early on that API technology was the way to get there,” he says.
One of the advantages of APIs, he notes, is that they automate two-way communications between buyers and sellers. “You can emulate the entire purchasing process between two companies, and generate 100 percent accurate purchase orders automatically,” Ginsberg says.
APIs work with one-time prototype builds as well as cost-sensitive production builds. “It makes a good recurring ordering tool once you’ve located a supplier and negotiated a price,” he says, noting that Sonic no longer needs someone to contact the vendor via phone or email on API purchase orders.
“The computer does the repetitive work much better. Human beings are best at sourcing and problem solving.”
While 45 percent of Sonic’s business is emulated by APIs, “We anticipate going over 50 percent within the year,” he says, noting that the ultimate goal is to become 65 percent automated and 35 percent people-based. “There are always supply exceptions that people and their business relationships must solve.”
One element that is critical for automated purchasing is having data that is 100 percent accurate. The traditional methods of correcting data via people and keyboards is no longer possible, Ginsberg notes. “A modern database of over a million, or a billion, records and attributes can’t be ‘typed accurate.’ Only the computer can x the computer. Accuracy must be scripted.
“We saw this coming even at the foundations of Sonic,” he says, noting that the company now uses a self-correcting database, which can make changes if prices, lead time or sourcing change and then take accurate MRPs and convert them into accurate APIs.
“The speed that this can move at is pretty incredible,” Ginsberg says. “This year our goal is to go from raw MRP calculation to picklist in the supplier warehouse in under a minute.”
Sonic also has benefited from the use of analytics and metrics, for which Tableau Software is central. “It reads the database directly and formats data into charts and graphs without Excel manipulations,” he says. “Since the analytics are from the database, the database must be accurate. An Excel ‘ x’ is not permitted.”
Today, the Sonic supply chain delivers in under three days median, while it was 20 to 30 days a decade ago. “We believe there is no one else placing a million parts a week on three-day median delivery in the United States,” Ginsberg says.
Article originally published in Supply Chain World by Alan Dorich, VOLUME 6, ISSUE 3 (Knighthouse Publishing on behalf of Sonic Manufacturing Technologies).

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Net Zero Energy as Competitive Advantage to Produce More in US?

Energy usage is under strict surveillance as many states push hard to lower their carbon footprint.  California has been particularly aggressive in these goals and in 2017, the California Public Utilities Commission introduced the California Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan which sets specific goals for the development of zero net energy buildings.
An energy-efficient building is defined as one where the actual annual consumed energy is less than or equal to the on-site renewable generated energy.
The strategic plan calls for specific actions which include:

  • 50% of commercial buildings will be retrofit to ZNE by 2030
  • All new commercial construction will be ZNE by 2030
  • 50% of new major renovations of state buildings will be ZNE by 2025

Complying with these standards will cause manufacturers to dig in even deeper when evaluating energy usage. One of the largest benefits of this energy reduction effort is the accompanying reduction in the overall cost of doing business.
The question then arises as to whether this cost reduction could be one of the keys to keeping more manufacturing in the U.S?
Derek Hansen, CEO of Mynt Systems who recently completed the first retrofitted zero net energy building in Silicon Valley, thinks so.
“In order to compete with China and other countries, we need to compete on the operating costs of our plants,” Hansen explains. “One of the best ways to do that is to save on energy. And while we become more energy efficient, we are improving our environment.”
Mynt Systems retrofitted Sonic Manufacturing which is the largest electronic manufacturing services factory in Silicon Valley. Located in Fremont, it is the first in the Bay Area to be retrofitted for zero net energy.
Sonic, which leases its building, wanted to reduce its carbon footprint. And at the same time, the building owner wanted to reduce its overall footprint. For the building owner, the goal was to keep Sonic as a tenant and to increase the property’s value. As the goals of both parties dovetailed, Mynt Systems devised solutions that simultaneously met the needs of both parties.
The timing of the retrofit offered a further incentive as Sonic could become grandfathered onto the utility’s time of use rate structure which was being closed off to large commercial customers in early 2017.
To reduce total energy use Sonic looked at reducing the lighting and cooling loads. By installing a 750kW rooftop solar system and a 273kW carport solar system, the energy usage would be offset.
The annual kWh saving is 1,574,651 translating into $308,040 saving the first year. These solar systems will produce 1.6 million kWh of clean power per year and over $8 million in avoided utility costs, over the next 25 years. And if that is translated into gallons of gasoline
Furthermore, the ROI on the investment of $3.5 million for the systems was just under five years.
The speed of the ROI was matched by the speed of the city of Freemont in helping Sonic get the permits necessary. Projects like this can take anywhere from six months to two years, but the city of Fremont is “intentionally setting the pace,” said Hansen in order to help the manufacturing community.  He gives the city a lot of credit for the success of the program.
The model of manufacturing companies working with building owners to reduce energy use and provide benefits to both is something that Hansen sees happening more.
“It’s a good model to encourage companies to remain where they are since the building owner shares the costs of necessary upgrades.” And in this case, the building owner received a $1.1 mill tax credit and $6 million additional value to the property.
There are other benefits to become a green manufacturing facility, says Hansen. “The supply chain has become greener and in fact, some companies will only buy products that are manufactured at green facilities.”
Hansen notes that the paradigm of doing the right thing is a cost to companies is now being replaced with doing the right thing actually increases the bottom line.
Creating a green manufacturing facility is an all-around win says Hansen since it achieves triple bottom line results –people, profit and planet.
Article originally published Industry Week, written by Adrienne Selko, August 8, 2018.

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