Monday, August 28, 2017

Stryker's Answer To The Health Care Dilemma: Innovation

“For us it’s always about innovation,” says Stryker CEO Kevin Lobo. In a recent CNBC interview, Mr. Lobo begins by revealing Stryker’s growth in the market against their competitors, growing north of five percent for the last seventeen quarters. This is especially the case for their knee replacement technology, in which Stryker is using robotic assistance in their operating rooms in order to obtain a more precise placement of the implant. As a result, the patient will come out of a surgery with less soft tissue damage, giving them a faster and less painful recovery process. This major breakthrough in the Medtech industry reveals a promising future for society, as companies such as Stryker are raising the standard for surgical procedures and equipment.
Stryker's Mako Robot

However, Mr. Lobo explained that training is a significant challenge while introducing robotic assistance, as it requires a complete change in behavior among surgeons. The modified procedures entail a new stance in the operating room, along with changing the implant itself. Instead of traditional knee replacements that follow an oval motion, Stryker’s implants are designed to have a natural circular motion. For example, a significant feature of Stryker’s Triathlon Total Knee is their patent pending anatomic radius, which improves the motion of the knee.

Stryker sponsor, Fred Funk, is a prime example of a knee replacement success story. At fifty-four years of age, the professional golfer desperately needed a knee replacement. After his surgical procedure in 2009, he not only returned to golf, but won in the PGA Tour Champions league. Fred Funk’s success stems from both his dedication to return to the game, but most importantly a less invasive surgery, which allowed him to recover quickly enough to return to his normal life.
Fred Funk, Professional Golfer

Meanwhile, about fifteen years ago Gloria Slass, the wife of the late Founder of Rotor Clip Company Robert Slass, was in dire need of a knee replacement . Due to many tennis injuries accumulated over the years, Ms. Slass underwent an excruciating knee replacement surgery in the early 2000s. During her recovery process, she developed arthritis in the knee due to soft tissue damage. Unfortunately, after recovering Ms. Slass had to give up her lifelong passion for tennis due to the severe pain. The lack in medical robotic assistance at this time was the result of a more invasive surgery. Based on the two anecdotes, the evolution in the medtech industry represents a bright future ahead for healthcare, as it is ensures a better tomorrow for patients.

Beyond orthopaedics, another innovative field that Stryker is taking by storm is neurotechnologies. Mr. Lobo explains how their technology can treat two types of strokes that can occur. For instance, in the result of a Hemorrhagic stroke, titanium coils are packed in the aneurism in order to allow blood flow. As for an Ischemic stroke, the procedure would entail the removal of clots from the brain using a stent. Therefore, with the ability to treat an often debilitating condition that results from a stroke, Stryker takes great pride in their advancement in neurotechnologies. Generally, the victim of a stroke is left impaired, which costs the healthcare system a significant amount of money.

That said, although Stryker is not necessarily concerned with how the healthcare system evolves, they are still working to reform it through innovation, as a means of cutting costs for it. Towards the end of the interview, Mr. Lobo stresses the importance of permanently repealing the medical device tax, which has previously been suspended in the past. In conclusion, as an OEM supplier, we here at Rotor Clip fully support and are proud of our fellow American manufacturers for making the world a better place through innovation.

Evan Slass is a Digital Marketing Communications Specialist for Rotor Clip Company.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Equipment Manufacturers; Bright Spot In Darkening Market

BE&E's Twin Drag Conveyor is built for biomass processing

 With the rise of renewable energy quickly overtaking fossil fuels in cost, labor force, and investment, the US manufacturing landscape is going through a period of uncertainty as it redefines itself. On one hand, new sources of energy are shirking off old limitations of supply chains, attracting more and more investment and incentive. On the other, however, the models being discarded also serve as the lifeblood of communities all over America, of every kind, and cannot be replaced so easily without detrimental impact on them.

Where does manufacturing fit into this? The US has a multi-faceted quilt of industries embedded with each other, responsible for so much of world demands. Yet, according to many projections, some may be obsolete by the 2030's. In looking at what industries can survive the oncoming changes brought on by renewable energy, one of the most promising fields is equipment manufacturing.

Many companies are already seeing equipment manufacturing as a sector for the US to assert itself into an increasingly accelerating international renewables market it is in danger of lagging behind. One such example is Biomass Equipment & Engineering, a division of Veneer Services. Based in Indianapolis, Veneer Services specializes in manufacturing timber products, but its sub-division BE&E converts equipment products suited for a rapidly ascending biomass industry. Offering products such as chip screens to enable sorting for cyclical models, or twin drag conveyors that are designed for future additions and adaptations, Veneer's BE&E serves as evidence equipment manufacturers are already taking advantage of their flexibility in the renewable market.  

In his op-ed in The Oklahoman, Terex Corporation's CEO John Garrison emphasized his Oklahoma City-based company of 34,000's commitment to making machinery suitable to new global markets. 

"Equipment manufacturers build products big and small", Garrison says, "but what distinguishes our industry is how the men and women in Oklahoma make the equipment that helps improve the lives of people around the world.:
"Our American workers continue to produce world-class products, and they deserve the chance to sell these products in every corner of the globe. That means strengthening trade agreements to grant manufacturers access to international markets; we cannot afford to simply walk away from agreements that form the cornerstone of the international economy. It also means we must continue to strengthen our training and technical education programs to ensure our workforce continues to develop to meet the future needs of manufacturers." 

 Indeed, equipment manufacturing may prove to be the most crucial card the US can play in the global market. Adaptability is proving to be a value for companies in these turbulent times. Equipment manufacturers like Terex can use this distinct advantage better than other industries. While renewable energy is dissimilar in many ways from oil and gas, issues of operations, labor safety, and development, are universal for both. Converting many products and plants to serve the next energy landscape is possible. What is more, with its unique and spanning playing field, it is more doable in the US than anywhere else.

Donal Thoms-Cappello is a freelance writer for Rotor Clip Company.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

The Jetsons: A Modern Reality?

When it comes to changing trends and technologies in society, we are often faced with this question of what the future holds. This is certainly the case for the automotive industry, as many people tend to fantasize or poke fun at how we are getting closer to entering the reality of the 1960s television show, The Jetsons. This animated series alluded to the idea that the future of mobility would entail flying vehicles and human-like robots. Although we are not quite at the point of levitating vehicles, the automotive industry has proven decade after decade that it is indeed a continuously innovating sector in the market.

With the exception of other automotive companies that have previously released hybrids, the Toyota Prius made headlines in 2000 as the first four-door hybrid sedan in the United States. This was a significant moment in the automotive industry as it created a major conversation among consumers and of course within the industry itself as to how prevalent these sustainable vehicles would become. As a result, the introduction of hybrid vehicles shed light on the alternative sources of power for operating a vehicle. Now, seventeen years later, companies such as Tesla have continued on this trend set by Toyota with the emergence of their fully integrated electric vehicles.

As the US market continues to prevail through the transforming evolution of automotive technologies, it is appropriate to reflect on what the future of driving may hold at last. Scott Corwin, a managing director with Deloitte Consulting LLP, has great insight on this transformation, as he leads the Future of Mobility initiative. In his in-depth article, The Future of Mobility: How transportation technology and social trends are creating a new business ecosystem, Corwin highlights five converging forces of automotive transportation and mobility.

These converging forces include; maturing powertrain technologies, lightweight materials, rapid advances in connected vehicles, shifts in mobility preferences, and the emergence of autonomous vehicles.

Maturing Powertrain Technologies. The emergence of battery operated vehicles will tremendously help to lower emissions by eliminating the use of gas, while offering higher energy efficiency. It’s important to note that the consumer will generally have a high value on the vehicle’s energy efficiency above many other factors.

Lightweight Materials. Advances in chemistry and physics, have proven the ability to eliminate a significant amount of weight for vehicles. For example, Corwin pointed out that the Ford F-150 truck eliminated six hundred pounds by using aluminum rather than steel, while still ensuring safety for drivers.

Rapid Advances in Connected Vehicles. With a plethora of cars on the roads nowadays, safety for drivers is a main concern, especially during extreme weather conditions. Fortunately, the advances in connectivity among vehicles help detect other cars, as well as infrastructure. These are known as vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V).

Shifts in Mobility Preferences. The rise of smartphone applications, such as Lyft and Uber have changed the mobility preferences among Millennials. As a result, this generation doesn’t value owning vehicles, as they have acquired a pay-per-use mentality. For example, “nearly 50% of Gen Y consumers like using a smartphone app for transport.”

Emergence of Autonomous Vehicles. What once seemed to be a technology of the future, self-driving vehicles have now become a reality. Although they are not exactly on a mass-scale production, there are areas where this technology has tremendously improved the driving experience. Generally one of the most significant challenges for drivers is  parallel parking. For example, the BMW i3 has a parking assist option where the car will autonomously park on its own. However, for fully autonomous vehicles, Corwin explained how long-haul trucks could help send and receive products faster by eliminating the driver. This is the result of cutting out mandatory rest stops, thus making the delivery or pickup more time efficient.

NOTE: Rotor Clip will soon be launching Clip Chat, a podcast series that will cover the changing landscape of the manufacturing industry, hosted by Co-owner Craig Slass. Our podcast premier will cover the future of mobility, as discussed above. Check out our Facebook and Twitter page for more details.

 Evan Slass is a Digital Marketing Communications Specialist for Rotor Clip Company.