The 80s: the decade of the power ballad, the mullet and… the first safety engineered syringe?

Beth Wingad, Marketing Administrator at FMC Global Talent
Beth Wingad, Marketing Administrator at FMC Global Talent

We’re celebrating 30 years of FMC this year, and it’s got us thinking about the 80s.

What a decade it was (says the girl born in 1997)!

It brought us iconic songs (we all know Total Eclipse of the Heart is a karaoke classic), iconic haircuts (mullets, I’m looking at you) and iconic events like Bucks Fizz on Eurovision (the UK’s efforts really peaked here).

It feels like a lot has changed, doesn’t it?

Well the same can be said for the automotive, engineering software and meditech markets since the 1980s. At FMC we’re very familiar with these markets as they are in 2018, but what were they like 30 years ago?


  • The 80s was the decade that F1 blossomed into the ‘big bucks’ industry it is today and the birth of modern F1 was well underway.
  • The big players in the industry – such as Renault, BMW and Ferrari – started developing the first turbocharged engines.
  • Carbon fibre was introduced, something that is used to this day in F1. The cars nowadays don’t look altogether too different!
  • Traction control was developed – this has trickled down to consumer vehicles in the years since and is now something we come to expect in our cars.

Medical Technology

  • The computerisation of health records via Electronic Health Records (EHR) was introduced. Who needs paper files anyway?
  • Innovation in HIV treatment came in the form of antiretroviral drugs.
  • Micro-invasive surgery became more commonplace.
  • Hospitals started investing in in diagnostic imaging and wanted the best quality medical equipment for this.
  • CT scanning became more sophisticated and complex.
  • In 1988 (the year FMC was born) the first safety engineered syringe – the BD safety-lok – was developed. We’re in good company!

Engineering Software

  • The cost of owning and maintaining software in the 1980s was twice as expensive as the actual development.’Silver bullet’ technology was at the forefront and with it came the development of object-oriented programming, structured programming and ADA (programming language)
  • Solid modelling was the big thing in CAD
  • Compared to today the computers from the 80s look like something from the Dark Ages – huge and boxy compared to today’s streamlined offerings!

Whilst it may feel like a lot has changed, the 80s certainly paved the way – in leaps and bounds – for the kind of technologies we see in all these industries today.

After all, the mullet may have died the death but turbo-charging vehicles certainly hasn’t.

Here at FMC we’re proud to have come out of a decade as iconic as the 80s, and we’re especially proud to be celebrating 30 years of us!