NEW YORK - Conferos Inc., a provider of Web-based product-development software, is partnering with Dow Chemical Co. and a trade association to develop an Internet portal for medical industry product development.
Conferos announced a partnership June 5 with Dow and the Medical Device Manufacturers Association. The c-Medica Web site will provide common space for virtual product development such as sharing design files and accessing technical databases. Both Dow and MDMA sit on c-Medica's advisory board, but neither have any financial relationship to the site or Conferos.
C-Medica claims to be the first collaborative product-development site tailored to the $147 billion medical device industry. The companies announced the arrangement at the Medical Design and Manufacturing East show, held June 5-7 in New York.
When the site launches in September, the partners say, it will have specific tools for the medical industry: templates and checklists of documents the Food and Drug Administration will want to see, a database of FDA-qualified materials, lists of suppliers and discussion groups.
The group is looking for other companies to round out the advisory board, including original equipment manufacturers, other resin suppliers and suppliers of other materials and academics.
``We want it to be more than just plastics,'' said Kerry Kelly, an e-business product developer for Dow.
``We don't see this as a revenue stream for Dow,'' Kelly said. ``We are trying to create capabilities for the industry we serve. ... It enhances our relationship with our customers.''
MDMA, based in Washington, will promote the site to its members.
Frank Diodato, vice president of Waltham, Mass.-based Conferos, said his company always considered medical manufacturing a good market for his company because the industry is very global, with manufacturing and design frequently in different countries, and because it requires collaboration from many sources.
``Because of the highly technical nature of the medical device industry, early supplier involvement is one of the key drivers for OEMs to deliver products to market faster,'' Diodato said.
Karen Winkler, medical industry manager for engineering plastics for Dow, said the company began thinking about the need for a site about a year ago as a way to get suppliers and OEMs working more closely to speed product development and eliminate mistakes caused by poor communication.
For example, she said she has seen products delayed months by communication errors, such as when one supplier makes a part design change that affects overall manufacturing but does not communicate that to others. Problems aren't discovered until manufacturing begins, she said.
``You have just lost three months of work because you have to fix mistakes you didn't even know were mistakes,'' Winkler said.
C-Medica is at www.c-medica .com.