By Lloyd Graff
Here’s the good news and bad news everyone. Bad news—75 percent of Americans are overweight. We’re French frying ourselves to death. Good news—it’s going to be great for the precision machining business.
Dr. Uli Sutor, key account manager at DMG, gave an illuminating talk at the first day of DMG/Mori Seiki’s Innovation Days, May 24, at its national headquarters in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. The event was a combination sales and networking event for the collaboration between two of the biggest players in the world machine business.
Sutor’s presentation discussed the opportunities in the medical machining business. As he sees it, orthopedics, primarily knee hip and spine are the biggest segment. The passage of Obama’s healthcare plan in the U.S. will expand the area even faster. According to the literature it takes 40 minutes to do a knee replacement—20 if there’s no insurance.
A person who is at least 30 pounds overweight is three times more likely to need a knee or hip replacement than a trim person. It’s easy to see that the trend is the friend of orthopedic surgeons and hospitals.
Sutor mentioned the number of bone screws and plates produced in the world. His number astounded me—200 million orthopedic screws and plates last year.
Last year 1.1 million knees and hips were replaced in the U.S. The expectation is 4.6 million per year by 2030, partly because a joint replacement lasts 10-12 years so there will be a lot of redos, especially if the obesity trend continues.
Dr. Sutor gave the presentation from the DMG point of view. He employed a lot of data from the European perspective. One piece of information I found valuable was that “turbo whirling” is now being made by DMG for bone screw threads. The process employs linear technology which uses no gears or belts and provides a superior surface finish. This is particularly valuable if a doctor will eventually remove the screw from the repaired joint.
Question: Who makes your favorite French fries?