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This year marks the centennial of the moving assembly line.
Manufacturers in many industries are reshoring their assembly lines. Several factors are behind this phenomenon, including the ability to automate assembly tasks that traditionally used manual or semiautomated fastening equipment.
Medtronic Inc. is a leading manufacturer of catheters, defibrillators, pacemakers, stents, valves, surgical instruments and other medical devices. The company operates state-of-the-art assembly plants around the world.
Kaizen (continuous improvement) is a key principle behind lean manufacturing initiatives in all industries.
Plant floor layout in the medical device industry is typically dictated by the types of products being produced.
Traditionally, hearing aids, pacemakers, defibrillators, cochlear implants, neurostimulators and other medical devices depend on lithium-ion batteries. However, batteries add extra weight. Batteries also raise numerous safety and reliability concerns.
I just returned from attending the 2013 Automate show at McCormick Place in Chicago. Despite the frigid temperatures outside, I was impressed by the crowds inside warming up to the latest robotics technology.
Over the last decade, lean manufacturing has been prescribed as a cure-all in a wide variety of industries.
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