To target rapidly growing surgery robot market, domestic businesses need to develop a surgery robot system by combining various technologies, which in turn requires them to establish an inter-company cooperative model.
Korea Evaluation Institute of Industrial Technology (KEIT) made these and other points in its recent report titled “Technological trend and industry outlook for surgery robot.” A surgery robot is a robot to conduct the entire process of an operation or part of it, either by itself or together with the doctor.
According to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, the global market of the medical robot -- the medical equipment or system that uses robot technology, including surgery robot -- is expected to increase by 15 percent a year on average to 12.7 trillion won ($11.1 billion) by 2020.
As the robot surgery system requires the fusion of various technologies, including a sensor, navigation, and surgery devices, however, it 's hard to develop a competitive product in the global market in a short period, the report pointed out.
“Some global companies are entering into the surgery robot market through merger and acquisitions or forming a cooperative relationship,” the KEIT said. “Korean businesses, too, need to cooperate among themselves or establish partnerships with global companies. Korea urgently needs a national policy that drives companies in this direction.”
It also said the government has to work out measures that help locally-produced medical equipment win international certification. Because most of the domestic medical equipment makers are small businesses, they have difficulty in developing products that meet international standards.
“The government should also encourage non-medical equipment manufacturers to jump into this business if they are competitive enough and have related technologies,” the KEIT report said. “To this end, companies that conduct research and development projects with government funding should design their products according to standardized international standards.”
“For the existing surgery robot projects supported by the government to bear fruits, the government should provide continuous support to help them conduct clinical trials and acquire the certification, though inter-agency cooperation,” the report went on to say. “Also needed is a strategy to advance the market cycle through stepping up inter-business cooperation.”
Frost & Sullivan, a market survey company, expects Korea’s surgery robot market to grow 45 percent a year on average to 54.8 billion won ($48 million) by 2018. Surgery robots include a laparoscopic surgery robot that helps surgeons’ movements, an orthopedic surgery robot that enhances precision, and a brain surgery assisting robot that provides geometric information on surgical parts, including video images.
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