The effects of coronavirus will be felt for years to come. The United Nations projects that the pandemic will cost the world economy $1 trillion and Bloomberg warns that the world’s GDP growth could fall to zero as a worst-case scenario.
Manufacturing has been impacted, both locally and abroad, and there have been some strains to our close ties with Asia. Despite this, SMC Corporation Australia New Zealand believes that the learnings from this pandemic will make the manufacturing industry more resilient in future.
The industry is becoming more flexible, lean and innovative than ever before. And demand for medical solutions is now greater than ever before, according to Guiomar Fernandez, Product Marketing Manager for SMC Corporation Australia and New Zealand.
“During this time, we have seen increased demand for SMC components in the medical industry. Of course, hygiene is everything in the fields of life sciences and medical technology, as it’s all about the health and safety of patients,” Ms Fernandez said.
"SMC recognises this and applies rigid hygiene regulations in the development of our products. Our range covers temperature control, miniature process valves for space-saving applications, couplings, fittings and tubing and more. Our components can be found in sterilisation technologies, shockwave therapies, dental applications and x-ray systems.”
Medical preparations often require a constant processing and storage temperature to maintain their efficacy, so temperature control is a priority for SMC.
“Reliability is key and our thermo-chillers (the HRR series) meet the demands of the medical industry thanks to their precise temperature control range of between 10°C and 35°C, precise to within plus or minus 0.1°C.”
The HRR thermo-chillers Ms Fernandez is referring to fit into 19-inch frames and are only 310mm high, making it easy for them to be installed in confined spaces. “All the access points to the thermo-chillers are located on the front of the unit which provides for easy maintenance procedures and servicing."
“The digital networking of production has also long since arrived in the life sciences sector. Based on this, SMC offers digital precision pressure switches, series ISE70/71, with IO-Link technology.”
These smart sensors register to the higher-level PLC parameters such as current pressure values up to 1.6 MPa, the status of the switching output, and important diagnostic information and error messages.
“The two-line display of the precision pressure switches can be rotated by up to 336° and display setpoint (limit value), hysteresis value, maximum or minimum value and delay time, depending on the user's requirements. And in the event of a power outage, the ISE70/71 series reliably backs up its collected data thanks to its persistent memory.”
In addition to steam sterilisation, aggressive media such as chemical disinfectants are often used for disinfecting medical equipment and production facilities as well as for dosing chemicals.
“SMC has developed the 2-way diaphragm valves of the LVP series for such harsh applications. With their rigid PVC-C housing and a polytetrafluoroethylene diaphragm, they withstand even corrosive media such as hydrochloric acid and hydrogen peroxide."
These compressed air operated valves are easy to adjust, have 50 per cent less water hammer than conventional valves and can withstand media and ambient temperatures between 0°C and 60°C without any problems.
“While SMC has always been a forward-thinking company, crises require new strategies and fresh thinking.
"We remain agile and our broad product range allows us to meet the demands of almost every industry and the medical and life sciences industries are no exception."