By Art Marlin, Sr. Principal Product Development Engineer, Neuma Engineering, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Nicholas Ciccarelli, PE, Vice President, Neuma Engineering, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, Brandon Sullivan, Sr. Director, Digital Transformation Services, Kymanox Corporation, Morrisville, North Carolina
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought on many challenges, including the less visible but often discussed disruption of the supply chain of semiconductors, microchips, and other electronic components. This disruption has caused challenges to the production of medical devices.
Many medical devices on the market contain integrated electronic parts for measuring specific phenomena (e.g., electrical signals from the heart), recording data (e.g., glucose levels over the course of a day), and communicating with other devices or directly with physicians (e.g., blood pressure readings). As a result of supply chain shortages, lead times to manufacture these devices are now significantly longer.
Great advancements in electronic technology have enabled amazing new medical devices, while component specialization and specificity has locked device manufacturers into using specific components. This change has left device manufacturers extremely vulnerable to supply disruptions.