Robotic Automation Success Stories

John Hart Automation enables ResMed to manufacture at scale

The relationship between John Hart and ResMed started in 2007 when ResMed started investing in advanced manufacturing. ResMed, which was first established in Sydney in 1989, is today the #1 global manufacturer of connected medical devices for people with sleep apnoea, and a leading provider of connected devices for treating other chronic respiratory diseases.

ResMed AirFit F30 CPAP Mask

ResMed rapidly grew into a global business and today is listed on both the Australian and New York stock exchanges. Its mission statement reads: “…we pioneer innovative solutions that treat and keep people out of the hospital, empowering them to live healthier, higher-quality lives. Our cloud-connected medical devices transform care for people with sleep apnoea, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases such as bronchitis and emphysema), and other chronic diseases. Our comprehensive out-of-hospital software platforms support the professionals and caregivers who help people stay healthy in the home or care setting of their choice. By enabling better care, we improve quality of life, reduce the impact of chronic disease, and lower costs for consumers and healthcare systems in more than 140 countries.”

When ResMed started its automation journey, it set out on a plan to utilise advanced technology to improve manufacturing outcomes, all whilst maintaining the highest levels of personnel safety and product quality. The relationship between the two companies is enduring and strong. “John Hart has, for a number of years, been a trusted ResMed supplier for automation”.

The robotics supplied by John Hart are primarily used to manufacture the masks which are connected to respiratory devices. The masks are moulded from liquid silicon rubber and robotics have enabled ResMed to greatly increase its volume of masks through multiple production techniques. These robotics are now installed in ResMed’s major manufacturing hubs in Australia, the United States and Singapore. More recently, John Hart has also been involved in other aspects of ResMed’s production such as device and mask assembly.

Throughout the pandemic, ResMed has had difficulties getting its labour forces to its plants and has therefore relied more on its automation. Automation enabled it to maintain production whereas, without the robotics, it may have had to reduce production output– at a time when its devices have been growing in demand. In 2020 (during the first global wave of the COVID-19 pandemic), ResMed manufactured hundreds of thousands of ventilators to help deliver the gift of breath to hundreds of thousands of patients battling COVID in hospitals around the globe.

Manufacturing technologies designed through collaboration between John Hart and ResMed enable more advanced and effective products to be manufactured at scale, supporting ResMed’s competitive advantage with leading product features.

The demand for life-saving treatments is never ending. In 2019, an article in The Lancet medical journal estimated that approximately one billion people around the world are affected by sleep apnoea. The number of people known to have COPD has been variously estimated at around 250 million (WHO 2017).

Over its thirty-plus-year history, ResMed’s products have become more efficient and effective. Technology has increased their capacity to treat so many more health conditions and yet the equipment has become smaller and lighter. Without automation, ResMed would not have been able to adapt so quickly.