We all want to see into the future; would you like to predict what kind of problems you could run into during electromechanical device manufacturing process well before those problems happen? While we have not invented a way to look into the future yet, our workshop topic at Belgium HealthTech revolved around the possible solutions and approaches to many common manufacturing problems.
Innokas Medical took part in Belgium HealthTech meetup for the first time. Despite being a full-service partner, we decided to highlight manufacturing as the main topic for our visit. We had an exhibition stand that people could visit, as well as a workshop where we discussed common manufacturing issues with the attendees. The event was organized professionally and inspired a lot of conversation about what to consider when making manufacturing choices.
“Many young people were attending. Some were from startup companies; some were students at the nearby Leuven university. It was wonderful to see how many wanted to network and find business opportunities,” Business Development Director Päivi Leppänen comments. “Being the only Nordic company present, we got a lot of questions and were very well received,” she adds.
It was surprising to hear that Head of Tallinn operations Valter Ritso and Solution Architect Antti Virtanen held one of the only workshops that heavily involved the audience in the discussion. They wanted the experience to be interactive with a 40-minute group discussion about three common problems relating to manufacturing. All the problems were lifted from real situations. “When the first question appeared on the projector screen, someone immediately mentioned that they are experiencing that exact problem,” Päivi remembers.
Questions that were discussed in the workshop revolved around different, challenging manufacturing choices and how to make an informed decision about them. Questions such as whether to ask the engineering team or manufacturing team to make prototypes with a tight schedule, how many units to buy the parts for in a certain circumstance and whether manufacturing partner in Europe or Asia is the better choice when production ramp-up will require support from the design team.
“I was glad to see people were invested and experienced on the topics and had the interest to be active participants in the workshops. The discussions began quickly and people were inspired”, Valter comments his workshop experience. “We even got the impression that the organizer representatives watching were equally surprised that a couple of Finns show up to conduct a workshop that activates the participants to this degree. It felt really rewarding,” he adds.
“The participants quickly found us and continued the discussion in the cocktail event after the workshop. We were consulted about the challenges they were facing,” Valter mentions. “I feel like me and Antti were the right people for this. Having someone with a background in product development as well as someone from manufacturing certainly shows the benefits of a close collaboration between the design team and the manufacturing,” he concludes.
There are no true right or wrong answers regarding manufacturing choices, but there are support systems and guidelines that can lead manufacturing into the right direction.
“Ultimately, we wanted to show that we are not so far away from middle Europe, geographically or in expertise. We have all faced the same problems. We know Belgians make delicious chocolate, so we brought some from Finland, just to show that we have much to give as well.”
Visitor inspecting a Coala Heart Monitor at Innokas Medical's exhibition table
European manufacturing partner for you
Having a manufacturing partner in Europe can significantly benefit product development in the long run. Your design team is able to work closely with manufacturing with less issues in logistics and time zone differences. We encourage you to approach us if you would like to discuss which manufacturing location best serves your purposes.