June 14, 2009
June 14, 2009
June 17, 2009
14.767.1 - 14.767.10
Integrating Real-World Medical Device Projects into Manufacturing Education
This paper describes the integration of real-world medical device projects into manufacturing education to increase students’ interest and hands-on experiences in product design and manufacturing while exposing them to real engineering challenges. Teams of undergraduate students in a Manufacturing Processes course worked with a medical doctor and practicing surgeon on a project to design and create the prototype of a new medical device to improve a minimally-invasive surgical procedure. The medical device project provided students with real engineering and interdisciplinary learning experiences with clinical exposure and high societal impact. The end goal is to prepare students with skills in design and manufacturing, problem solving, teamwork, and communication for successful careers in industry. This will benefit the growing medical device industry by bringing qualified engineers with the technical knowledge and experience in working with medical doctors in the development of innovative medical device products.
Results from several industry surveys and academic studies show that graduating engineers are inadequately prepared for careers in industry 1-3. The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) conducted a survey in the advanced manufacturing sector that identified the competency gaps as project management, specific manufacturing processes, product/process design, problem solving, communication, and teamwork, among others 4. For this reason, it is imperative for universities to provide students with learning experiences on real engineering problems so they can develop the necessary skills to address complex open-ended problems and to meet the industry need for highly qualified engineers to compete in a global market.
The medical device industry is currently one of the fastest growing, highly innovative, and intensely competitive industries in the U.S. and the world. The U.S. leads the medical device industry in the world, followed by the European Union and Japan. The increasing life expectancy and the search for better health care and preventive therapies have influenced the growth in the demand for medical devices. Medical devices are important for the diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of disease, and for the compensation for an injury or handicap. These devices can range from orthopedic and cardiac implants to nanotechnology-based drug delivery devices. Figure 1 shows the percentage distribution in annual sales among the major segments of the medical device industry in the U.S. that was over $100 billion in annual sales in 2004 5.
The U.S. medical device industry has been growing at an average annual rate of 9% for the past 10 years 6. To remain competitive in the global market, medical device manufacturers need highly qualified engineers to develop innovative and marketable products. For this reason, engineering education should be proactive to industry needs so that graduating engineers are adequately prepared for careers in industry.
Lai-Yuen, S., & Herrera, M. (2009, June), Integrating Real World Medical Device Projects Into Manufacturing Education Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/4744
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