Innovations in Medical Manufacturing at WESTEC 2015

Keynote on Skunkworks Innovation Project at Medtronic and Exclusive Education Sessions Highlight Region's Leading Role in Medical Device Development and Manufacturing

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 17, 2015 — (PRNewswire) —  In preparation for WESTEC 2015 – the premier West Coast manufacturing event – SME has released details about the Medical Manufacturing Innovations (MMI) Series, which will spotlight companies and information related to one of manufacturing's most inventive sectors. Southern California is recognized as having the highest level of medical device and biomedical manufacturing development in the world, and this year's event will reflect that through education sessions and an exclusive keynote.

Gerardo de la Concha, vice president of Mexico operations at Medtronic, will share insight from his company's experience spearheading a skunkworks project to reverse engineer and develop a medical device using Nitinol, a metal alloy of nickel and titanium with the unique properties of shape memory and super elasticity. These properties allowed the Medtronic team to take a new approach to development and create unique devices.

Originally created in the aerospace and defense sector, skunkworks projects are becoming more prominent for companies that are looking for ways to accelerate innovation.

"Medtronic's skunkworks project was a truly creative and collaborative opportunity for our team, and a significant learning experience," said de la Concha. "By sharing some of the lessons we learned, we hope to help other companies understand the issues and challenges they may face as more of them look to this process for future innovation."

Medical manufacturing is expanding into new areas every day, due to the support and involvement of groups like the National Institute of Health and SME, world-class research centers, and biotech hubs dedicated to research, development and innovation. Leading indicators point toward continued accelerated growth in medical production, correlating with population changes and an increase in personalized medicine.

In addition to the keynote, WESTEC will provide opportunities for attendees to network with and learn from leading companies in the areas of implantable devices, prosthetics, orthopedic implants, dental devices, additive manufacturing/3D printing, and more.

"We have seen tremendous growth in medical manufacturing in recent years, and there is a great deal of progress and innovation coming from the companies involved in this sector," said Lauralyn McDaniel, industry manager, medical at SME. "As the industry has evolved, especially in the western region, we recognize how important it is to provide attendees with a range of opportunities and tools that they can use to innovate and grow."

Through WESTEC's MMI Series, attendees will have access to a wide range of critical technologies and resources to support the next generation of quality-of-life and life-saving products.

WESTEC attracts between 12,000 and 15,000 industry professionals and provides attendees networking opportunities, complimentary education sessions, keynotes, and interactive manufacturing technology exhibits. The event features representatives from growing industries, like aerospace, medical, energy, and transportation, as well as large Fortune 500 OEMs and smaller companies that provide the engineering, design, and manufactured components supporting the industry.

The event will take place September 15-17 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. For more information and to register for WESTEC 2015, visit  

For nearly 50 years, WESTEC, produced by SME, has been the West Coast's premier manufacturing event, attracting a broad cross-section of industry decision-makers in Southern California. The event brings together thousands of attendees, exhibitors and industry experts to evaluate and compare cutting-edge manufacturing equipment, advanced technologies, new products and applications. The three-day event influences buying decisions and showcases growth industries, such as aerospace, defense, industrial machinery, medical and more. For more information, please visit

About SME
SME connects all those who are passionate about making things that improve our world. As a nonprofit organization, SME has served practitioners, companies, educators, government and communities across the manufacturing spectrum for more than 80 years. Through its strategic areas of events, media, membership, training and development, and the SME Education Foundation, SME is uniquely dedicated to the advancement of manufacturing by addressing both knowledge and skills needed for the industry. Follow @SME_MFG on Twitter or


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Melissa Spraul, Mozaic Media + Communications, (213) 422-7504
Email Contact Andrew Schreck, SME, (313) 425-3187
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