Robots Can Produce Medical Parts Too

Sep 6, 2023

Medical manufacturing has quickly realized how advantageous it is to integrate robotic automation technologies on their production line. With the advancing technology, robots are becoming more affordable to companies of all sizes and therefore increasing their draw to a wide range of fields such as assembly, dispensing, inspection, machine tending, material handling, and packaging.


In com­par­i­son to the auto­mo­tive, aero­space, and elec­tron­ics indus­tries, the med­ical-man­u­fac­tur­ing indus­try has not tak­en advan­tage of robot­ic automa­tion tech­nolo­gies at a high rate in the past. How­ev­er, decreas­ing costs and recent advance­ments in robot­ics are encour­ag­ing the med­ical device sec­tor to use auto­mat­ed man­u­fac­tur­ing in many med­ical device oper­a­tions like assem­bly, dis­pens­ing, inspec­tion, machine tend­ing, mate­r­i­al han­dling, and pack­ag­ing.

The ease in which robots can now be pro­grammed since mod­ern con­trollers are PC-based is a big fac­tor in increas­ing automa­tion. Fur­ther, design­ers can sim­u­late robot­ic lines before they per­form their task in real life, reduc­ing risks and low­er­ing costs. Cur­rent sys­tems can also con­form to med­ical require­ments for track­ing software. 

Robots can per­form accu­rate and pre­cise move­ments need­ed for small or com­plex parts. They can assem­ble, inspect, trans­fer, and pack­age med­ical parts like stents, shunts, and catheters. Robots ensure reli­a­bil­i­ty and repeata­bil­i­ty, which val­i­dates many people’s fears about a non-human han­dling their med­ical care. The cost of human labor is also decreased. One oper­a­tion uses cam­eras to locate and pick stent wires. The cam­eras locat­ed the tips of the wires, often bent, and the robots knew exact­ly where to pick them up. Twen­ty-two peo­ple were used for this process pre­vi­ous­ly, and with the aid of robots, only three peo­ple are now necessary.

Many med­ical devices require doc­u­ment-process con­trol. This is sim­pli­fied with automa­tion since robots use real time to cap­ture part dimen­sions. Hard­ware or soft­ware can then be used to inter­pret the data.

ESS Tech­nolo­gies spe­cial­izes in pack­ag­ing med­ical devices. A 3D mod­el is import­ed into Fanuc’s RoboGu­ide soft­ware, as well as oth­er draw­ings and infor­ma­tion from sup­pli­ers. Next, frames tell the robot its loca­tion and the pack­ag­ing equipment’s loca­tion. Then, pro­gram­ming is as sim­ple as using a teach­ing pen­dant to show the robot where to go to per­form the pack­ag­ing task. 

In one ESS Tech­nolo­gies oper­a­tion, robots assem­bled and pack­aged a med­ical device, placed it on a blis­ter card, loaded mul­ti­ple cards into a car­ton, then into a case, and final­ly onto a pal­let. The robots picked a part from a con­vey­or aid­ed by end-of-arm tool­ing with a forced sen­sor allow­ing the robot to real­ize when it has prop­er­ly grasped the prod­uct. Sev­en robots were used in the oper­a­tion, main­ly LR-Mate 6‑axis models.

Fanuc’s robots are equipped with vision soft­ware that helps the robot locate parts in ran­dom­ly ori­ent­ed piles in trays or con­vey­ors. 2D Vision soft­ware employs one cam­era, and 3D Vision adds cam­eras as need­ed. The M‑410iB mod­el com­bined with ESS Tech­nolo­gies equip­ment is able to pack phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal bot­tles and pouch­es into car­tons. The LR Mate 00iC loads syringes into trays. The M‑1iA Robot is often used in med­ical device assem­bly because it can han­dle dif­fi­cult parts with repeatability.

Den­so Robot­ics is a sup­pli­er of med­ical device-com­pat­i­ble robots ide­al for assem­bling small, dif­fi­cult-to-han­dle parts. They have a wide range of work­spaces, so the oper­a­tor can tai­lor the robot to his needs.

Robots​.com car­ries a wide vari­ety of indus­tri­al robots that can be used to pro­duce med­ical parts. Whether it’s weld­ing, paint­ing or even mold­ing, Robots​.com rep­re­sen­ta­tives can help you decide which med­ical robot would be the right choice for the most effi­cient part build­ing. Con­tact us today online or at 8777626881.

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