A Sunshine Coast medical equipment innovator has broken into the tough medical supplies sector and is taking on the world when it comes to healthcare solutions.

Smartline Medical manufactures specialised operating theatre equipment used by hospitals and medical centres throughout Australia and across the globe.

The Yandina based business is known for its comprehensive line of endoscopy and hospital equipment, ergonomic height adjustable tables and sinks and sterile storage.

Now their revolutionary new endoscopy storage and drying cabinets position the company as one of the world technology leaders in the sector.

Redefining medical technology

Image: Smartline Medical iQ series, redefining endoscopy drying

Ideal location for growing healthcare businesses

Smartline Medical is one of a growing number of health sector innovators and healthtech businesses on the Sunshine Coast. The booming health industry is the region’s largest employer, propelled by the $5 billion Sunshine Coast Health Precinct that includes Sunshine Coast University Hospital.

The Sunshine Coast is an ideal location for a growing healthcare solutions business due to its proximity to suppliers and strong local support, according to Smartline director Will Smart.

“We would not be where we are today without the engagement of the local community and the networking opportunities that have allowed us to run the business with local people. The local supply chain, the skill base on the Sunshine Coast and the excellent variety of suppliers has enabled us to grow quite quickly,” Mr Smart said.

“The network of universities and TAFE colleges on the Sunshine Coast has been fantastic. We’ve been able to employ several young engineers straight out of university and give them career paths. Some of those young students have now been with the company for more than 12 years and it has been a great success story of education on the Sunshine Coast leading to jobs in the local region.”

World first Smart Technology

Smartline began in 1995 by manufacturing equipment for farms and fruit handlers but it’s the transition to medical that’s enabled the business to make its mark on the global stage.

In 2018, Smartline Medical began transitioning its production of traditional medical cabinets to manufacturing digitally enabled cabinets and supportive software. The transition was supported by $150,000 in funding under the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre’s (AMGC) Project Fund, matched by Smartline.

The SlidaScope and RotaScope iQ boast new Smart Technology including world first ‘Channel Monitoring’ which validates in real time if endoscopes are correctly connected and ensures all channels of the scope dry at the appropriate rate for optimum patient safety.

The cabinets are fully independent with a ‘plug and play’ installation and an integrated air system with a small footprint so they can be easily set up wherever they’re needed.

“You can walk into hospitals in Spain, England and all sorts of European and other countries in the world and see Smartline Aussie made products sitting in the operating theatres,” said Mr Smart.

“Manufacturing anywhere in Australia is a tough gig. Manufacturing for the health industry is an even tougher gig because we’re David and Goliath. We’ve got huge multinationals that really own the medical supplies in Australia but we’ve managed to fight our way through that and rise up and we’ve got this great support network and great staff and a great place to live and work.”

Smartline Medical has been a finalist in the Queensland Export Awards and won Building & Manufacturing Business of the Year at the 2017 Sunshine Coast Business Awards.

“Doing business on the Sunshine Coast is made possible because we live in a fantastic place, we can easily attract great employees because of the lifestyle, the access to the Sunshine Coast Airport, proximity to Brisbane and the other regional centres and having such a wonderful community of the Sunshine Coast has made this possible and pleasurable,” said Mr Smart.

Image: Smartline Medical iQ series, endoscopy drying technology

Business on the Sunshine Coast: Will Smart’s top likes

    • Commercial property better priced
    • Lifestyle
    • Rapidly building business community
    • Support from council, networking, and business development programs – you don’t feel isolated running business here
    • Membership of the Manufacturing Excellence Forum Sunshine Coast, an industry led manufacturing non-for-profit supporting manufacturing businesses to connect, grow and scale
    • Various Government business growth support initiatives from well established government departments
    • Various Chambers of Commerce, Business Development Networks, Business Awards programs and support all around
    • Support funding initiatives for export and other business development under rural growth initiatives
    • Still Zone 1 for freight – benefit of city freight rates, yet we are over an hour outside Brisbane
    • Less hold ups with traffic locally
    • Good infrastructure, hospitals and great airport
    • Good value accommodation for fly in visitors
    • Strong internet, telecommunication and communication capacity
    • A fast growing “can do” supply chain for manufacturing locally
    • Easier to attract key staff with the benefits of lifestyle and coastal living
    • Overall there’s a local psychology that the Sunshine Coast simply “Feels like a great place to build business” – it is invigorating!

Looking for opportunities to grow?

Is your health business looking for opportunities to grow? Emerging opportunities to support a growing population on the Sunshine Coast include health tech innovation, allied health, research centres of excellence, and wellness in aged care programs, research and education.

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