Express Healthcare

Increasingly, the machine tool industry is aligning itself to build sector-specific machines required by the medical sector

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Ravi RaghavanPresident, Indian Machine Tools Manufacturers’ Association (IMTMA) in an interaction with Kalyani Sharma explains how machine tool industry is helping transform the manufacturing of medical devices in India 

What is the role of the machine tool industry in helping transform the manufacturing of medical devices in India?

Indian machine tool industry has been supporting the medical sector by developing machinery and equipment specifically needed for the medical sector. High precision machines, micro machining centres, surface engineering technologies, super finishing machines, lapping machines, abrasive flow finishing machines for making medical parts, SPMs for medium to large size parts required for medical devices are all manufactured by the machine tool industry.

Furthermore, we are witnessing increasing integration of 3D printing technology, advances in hardware technology and software applications and a surge in automation. Increasingly, the machine tool industry is aligning itself to build sector-specific machines required by the medical sector. IMTMA has formed dedicated task force to formulate a strategy to address the needs of medical sector.

What are IMTMA’s contributions in enabling India to meet its goal of becoming a global manufacturing hub?

Our vision is to increase domestic share of the market and increase exports. The industry is offering sector specific solutions to emerging and champion sectors besides exploring JVs.

IMTMA has been engaging with the Government of India and various State Governments through its policy and government advocacy initiatives and thereby facilitating machine tool industry garner support from the governments for setting up:

Advanced Manufacturing Technology Development Centre (AMTDC) at IIT-Madras for developing indigenous technologies under its Capital Goods Scheme on ‘Enhancement of Competitiveness in Indian Capital Goods Sector. This will enhance product and technology development, manufacturing of new products and localization of imports (systems and sub-systems).

Advanced Machine Tool Testing Facility (AMTTF) as a joint project by Government of India, CMTI, IMTMA and machine tool industry as a ‘single point window’ dedicated facility to provide testing and development support to engineering and machine tool industries. This will help in enhancing the performance and productivity of existing and future products.

Tumakuru Machine Tool Park (TMTP) set up by the Government of India and the Government of Karnataka to make the machine tool industry globally competitive. The machine tool park is an integrated ecosystem for machine tool and its supply chain industries to manufacture advanced products.

What do you think is the role and impact of emerging technologies such as AI on the machine tools industry? How do you think this has helped in transforming the manufacturing of medical devices?

Artificial intelligence makes machines and operations “intelligent”. A large amount of data that is captured and monitored for decision making. Machine performance and efficiencies are improved and machines can talk to each other. Industries are using self-monitoring and self-diagnostic machines which are proactive in nature, ushering in a change in the manufacturing ecosystem.

How do you think the Government’s Make in India scheme has helped in furthering the growth of the medical devices manufacturing industry?

As we understand, Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) is manufacturing ICU ventilators in partnership with Skanray Technologies with design support from DRDO. This was a unique example of public and private sector coming together for manufacturing.

DRDOs indigenisation efforts in producing UV based disinfection devices, PPE kits and robots and various other Indian companies manufacturing surgical equipment, invasive devices manufacturing like stents, etc. When equipment such as these are manufactured indigenously, they carry distinct advantages, which are primarily cost-focused benefits. Such advancements such are certainly game changers for the medical devices industry in India.

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