The global medical device market grew just 3 percent in 2012, reaching $331 billion dollars, according to health care market research firm Kalorama Information. The organization blames the reduced growth rate on a challenged health care market in Europe and slow funding increases in the US. The findings were revealed in Kalorama’s report The Global Market for Medical Devices, 4th Edition.
Of course lasers and other light-based devices are only a fraction of the medical device market, but lasers are not just being packed into boxes at the end of the production line, destined for use in hospitals and clinics. As Contributing Editor Hank Hogan tells us in this month’s cover story, lasers are taking their place on the production line in some very interesting applications in the manufacture of medical devices. Two key trends in lasers for device manufacturing are shorter pulse widths and better beam control, he found.
Cost is always a major factor in manufacturing, too, and Hogan spoke with industry leaders including Geoff Shannon, laser technology manager at Miyachi Unitek, to find out how costs can be driven down. For Shannon’s thoughts and more information on lasers in medical device manufacturing, read the full article, “Lasers Help Shrink and Sharpen Medical Devices,” beginning on page 36.
Our look at medical device manufacturing continues with a Q&A by Managing Editor Laura Marshall, who asked fiber company leaders to look into the future as fiber expands in the biomedical market. For her article, “Fiber Optics Growing Strong for Biomedicine,” beginning on page 41, Marshall queried Kevin Bakhshpour of CeramOptec, Scott Farland of Incom Inc., Rob Morris of Ocean Optics and Jean-Michel Pelaprat of Vytran.
Rounding out our feature coverage of the medical devices market, Contributing Editor Marie Freebody urges device manufacturers to be proactive in seeking regulatory approval for devices heading for market. In “Early Compliance Saves Money,” beginning on page 44, Freebody shares advice from experts on navigating regulatory waters.
Also in the issue, Eric Felkel of Zygo Corp. writes on how “Scanning White-Light Interferometry Fingerprints the Polishing Process,” beginning on page 48; science writer Valerie C. Coffey contributes “Novel Fibers Use Space to Extend Capacity Limits,” starting on page 52; and Erik-Jan Manoury of Teledyne Dalsa shares “What the Photographers Know: CCD Sensor a Game Changer,” on page 56.
We hope you enjoy the issue. We cover a lot of ground to bring you the latest research and application news and trends, and we always enjoy meeting readers during our travels. What we learn from the industry people we meet at conferences and other events informs our content throughout the year.
Last month, I made a visit to New England Fiberoptic Council’s FiberFest at the invitation of the group’s president, Lee Kellett. She described a fiber optics industry that has become very finely niched, saying that while there is a lot of opportunity, the industry “keeps partitioning.” There is consensus in the local industry that while fiber used to be technology driven, it is now market driven, Kellett said.
Photonics Media was on the scene for CLEO last month in San Jose. I invite you to check out our coverage on a special edition of Light Matters, the industry’s only weekly newscast, which you can find at Photonics.com.