Machine Manufacturer Bears Down on MD&M
Quality is a concept that Rollomatic Inc. (North Sutton, NH) takes seriously. Like most businesses, the company performs extensive quality control testing on its machines to ensure the highest standards. However, the grinding-machine manufacturer goes beyond testing protocols. The firm asserts that, in addition to testing at each stage of development, a typical Rollomatic unit undergoes 72 hours of grinding movement simulation and endurance tests. On top of that, machines run preprogrammed tasks to monitor operational tolerances and performance parameters whenever the product is not being directly worked on.
It is this dedication to quality that impels the company to seek it in everything it is connected with, including trade shows. Citing the event’s large audience, proximity, and influence in the medical industry, Rollomatic will exhibit at MD&M East for the first time in order to show off its quality-marked machines.
Despite its genesis as a producer of tools for the watchmaking industry in 1950s Switzerland, the firm’s focus now lies in the manufacture of precision tool-grinding machines. The machines are configured for a variety of applications that include deburring and metal cutting. Suited for creating surgical tools, the grinding machines have played a role in the production of bone saws, scalpels, rasps, and tweezers.
This influx of medical uses for its machines had a hand in Rollomatic’s decision to make its MD&M East debut. Though representatives had attended numerous MD&M shows over the years, the company chose not to exhibit because its primary source of business was not the medical industry. But the firm is looking to change that, opting to delve more deeply into medical applications for its machines. And it will start this mission close to home.
“We recognize that there is a significant amount of medical companies grinding on the East Coast,” says Rollomatic marketing manager Christina McKahan. “These are the companies we would like to reach out to.”
Another motivation to exhibit at MD&M East proved to be the release of the latest iteration of one product and the addition of enhanced features to another. Rollomatic will showcase its new loader, capable of grinding tools up to 16 in. in length. The unit can autoload tools or manually load ones measuring up to 24 in. in length.
Meanwhile, the firm’s 620-series automated six-axis CNC precision grinding center now features a clamping system designed to accommodate flat or irregularly shaped tools. It also boasts a horizontal magazine-loading system for the loading of tools up to 16 in. in length.
“It can even run in a lights-out environment with little-to-no deviation in part quality,” McKahan says. “Companies will find very little difference, if any, from the time they leave to when they check the precision upon returning.”
In addition to showing off its most recent machines, Rollomatic also plans on nurturing relationships with its existing customers. As McKahan points out, a large portion of the company’s business is repeat business. And, of course, it couldn’t hurt to talk up the firm’s quality-driven processes.
“We hope to create a positive presence and to learn more about the medical industry, as well as to present Rollomatic grinding machine capabilities,” McKahan says.
It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again with Injectech
It’s no accident that the staff of Injectech LLC (Loveland, CO) seems familiar to MD&M attendees. The injection molding firm was founded six years ago by former employees of a large barbed-fitting manufacturer. By drawing from its employees’ collective expertise, the company has developed its own line of barbed luers. “We started off as a custom molding and contract assembly house,” says company representative Dave Splett, “but we wanted to offer products as well.”
Injectech will display its new line of barbed luers at the show. The luers are available in materials such as nylon, polypropylene, polycarbonate, radiation-stable polycarbonate, and styrene. The company has also developed PVC barbed luers as an alternative to traditional polycarbonate. “The PVC does not stress crack when it’s bonded,” explains Splett. The company will also be showcasing its antimicrobial tube connectors, injection sites, barbed tube-to-tube connectors, and blood pressure monitor components.This year’s MD&M East show is a chance for the company’s personnel to reconnect with the medical device industry. “We’ve worked with a lot of medical OEMs over the years, so we’d like to reintroduce ourselves as Injectech,” says Splett.
Contract Firm Was Established to Serve Medical Market
Before deciding to exhibit at MD&M East, National Qualpec (Lancaster, PA) solicited input from its peers about the show. Companies described exhibiting at MD&M East as a rite of passage. They claimed that it serves as a necessary step in legitimizing a business in the medical field, according to the firm’s market development coordinator Mark Bos. Heeding its colleagues’ advice, National Qualpec will be initiated into the medical manufacturing industry this year at MD&M East.
The opportunity to establish credentials in the industry couldn’t come at a better time. Only several months old, National Qualpec is trying to make a name in the medical market. Though still in its formative stage, the contract manufacturer has a lot of guidance and experience to fall back on. National Qualpec is the medical-oriented offspring of National Bearings Co., which has been manufacturing bearings for 89 years.
“Manufacturing requires that you have a really keen understanding of how components are integrated with one another, because if you don’t get all of the components right in a bearing, the result can be disastrous,” Bos says. “Our skill at creating components that fit well in assemblies, whether metal or plastic, is key.”
National Qualpec was conceived following an analysis of the medical market. Competing fiercely with aggressive Chinese manufacturing, National Bearings sought a field that was both growing and active in the United States. The seamless application of its skill sets to medical manufacturing sealed the deal.
“The crux of our research was that the things that we’re good at manufacturing are things that there is a need for in the medical industry, and the strong growth in that industry is very attractive to us,” Bos says.
Established exclusively for the manufacture of precision-engineered medical components, the firm specializes in metal stampings, as well as injection- and insert-molded products. The company maintains that addressing a universal need works to its advantage. As Bos points out, manufactured components are in demand and can be leveraged to meet different application needs.
These manufacturing capabilities are what National Qualpec will be showcasing at MD&M East. In its inaugural year as an exhibitor, the company hopes to be accepted into the medical manufacturing society, as well as to get a foot in the door.
“Our biggest expectation is to get a chance to meet device manufacturers and get a better sense of the things that we can offer them,” Bos says. “We just want to meet them and show them where our skill sets are and how we can help them meet their component manufacturing needs.”
Component Manufacturer Seeks Connections at MD&M
Despite being grounded in the medical industry, L-com Connectivity Products (North Andover, MA) is pursuing a slew of new business prospects stemming from the rise of high-tech equipment in the field. In light of the tidal wave of technology flooding the medical arena, L-com has decided to dive right in by becoming a first-time exhibitor at MD&M East.
“The advent of diagnostic equipment that utilizes video, audio, and data transmission requires device designers to take advantage of numerous connectivity solutions, which L-com specializes in,” says Carol Williams, the firm’s national accounts manager.
While many first-time exhibitors at MD&M East are recent converts to the medical market, L-com is a veteran. The manufacturer has been supplying the medical industry with connectivity products for more than 20 years. L-com manufactures copper and fiber cable assemblies, wire harnesses, connectors, adapters, and rack panels. The company provides custom engineering and manufacturing services as well.
“L-com carries all the components required to manufacture the cables, as well as the finished cable assemblies,” Williams says. “Due to our years of connectivity experience, we offer the latest in interface technology as well as niche products that provide solutions to common interconnect challenges.”
Medical uses of the business’s products center around scanning and diagnostic equipment. Its connectors have been used in field-deployable MRI and oncology equipment by such clients as Siemens Medical and Varian, according to Williams.
While at MD&M, L-com will display a number of its products. Among them will be hospital-grade cord sets and high-definition multimedia interface cables for audio and video equipment, as well as enhanced video and shielded Category 5E–certified patch cables.
“We hope to gain exposure to the newest designs and technologies in the medical equipment industry,” says Williams. “This will give L-com exposure to connectivity challenges that the medical industry is currently faced with, as well as the chance to display our full product offerings and capabilities to the attendees.”
Dispensing Product Company Aims to Make an Impression
Established in 1992, PVA (Halfmoon, NY) hails from humble beginnings. Built from the ground up, the company was born when founder Anthony Hynes began selling dispensing valves out of his home. From a residential dwelling to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Incubator Center to a 20,000-sq ft facility, this dispensing system company seems to thrive regardless of its element. This year, the firm will pack up its wares once more—albeit temporarily—for its debut at MD&M East.
Since its domestic days, PVA has amassed a sizable catalog of dispensing products. Among its offerings are a range of automated and manual adhesive-dispensing and selective-spray-coating equipment. Products include application equipment such as valves, pumps, and needle tips. Manual dispensing systems such as dispense valves, controllers, and syringes are manufactured as well.
Until recently, PVA had primarily serviced the automotive, electronics, and home appliance industries. However, the small company has witnessed the growth of the medical market over the past few years and has envisioned a role in its continued success.
Despite being new to the medical industry, the company staff is confident of its abilities. According to them, they can’t afford not to be. “We’re trying to take advantage of being the new kids on the block in this market, and having technological advantages helps,” says Frank Hart, director of marketing and regional sales for PVA. “This is our specialty; all we do is dispensing,” he adds. “We don’t have something else to fall back on; we need to do this right the first time.”
MD&M East represents the business’s pioneering venture into medical trade shows. The company credits the convenient location and regional crowd as its motivation to exhibit. Furthermore, PVA wants to demonstrate the flexibility of its products and their uses in the medical market. Among them are dispensing tools for circuit boards and devices that require coating in order to protect a source or housing from the environment.
While at MD&M, the company hopes to generate interest in its latest product, the PVA650. The unit is a three- or four-axis x-y-z robot that uses programmable motion to apply conformal coatings, RTV, surface-mount adhesives, and two-component compounds.
In addition, the company will promote its capabilities in the automation of conformal-coating, potting, and adhesive applications with its multiaxis positioning systems. Selective conformal-coating systems use controlled spray application with a transfer efficiency of up to 99%, according to the firm.
And while promoting its products is a definite priority, the company is eager to just get acquainted with the industry and its players. “We would certainly like to develop some sales,” Hart says. “But the endgame would just be to get PVA out there and introduce ourselves as a flexible solution, really just to open some doors to some contacts and conversations that we have not been privy to before.”
Software Company Renders Itself Useful to Manufacturers
Like the medical industry that it serves, Delcam International (Windsor, ON, Canada) specializes in breathing life into its subjects.
Through its software, the company equips users with the ability to create realistic CAD models and CAM programs for product development. Bridging the gap between concept and reality is the primary capability Delcam plans to spotlight while making its debut at MD&M East.
No stranger to trade shows, the company has exhibited at machine tool shows such as WESTEC, EASTEC, and IMTS. However, MD&M East marks Delcam’s first year targeting the medical industry as a vertical market, according to Delcam marketing manager Mary Shaw. “It is a healthy and growing industry that has been turning to CAD/CAM solutions to improve product quality, manufacturing efficiency, and repeatability,” she says.
Heralding its status as the only international CAD/CAM software supplier with its own toolroom, Delcam provides a range of manufacturing and inspection products suited for medical manufacturing. The software enables the viewing of awkward angles, application of textures, and development of complex 3-D models. Furthermore, users can combine scanned data with CAD to design, engineer, and manufacture implants and prosthetics, according to the company.
Among the products Delcam plans to exhibit at the show are its PowerMill 6.5, PowerShape 7.0, and CopyCAD 7.0. These programs enable computer-aided design and modeling, computer-aided manufacture of complex tooling and machining shapes, and reverse engineering, respectively.
Also on the MD&M agenda is the promotion of Delcam’s custom software group. The group serves to help customers automate repetitive processes by applying the firm’s software to design, manufacture, and inspection procedures. Custom software is also available.
“We are looking forward to educating designers and producers of medical components about the CAD/CAM solutions we have to offer that can shorten the time from design to production,” Shaw says.
Machining Firm Saddles Up for New Challenges
It’s been 50 years since Cox Manufacturing Company, Inc. (Comaco; San Antonio, TX) opened for business, and yet MD&M East marks one of the first times the company has exhibited at a trade show.
Admittedly, the CNC turning and machining services firm doesn’t see much local business. “Traditionally, there hasn’t been much medical manufacturing in this area of the country,” says Bill Cox, CEO. The company’s customer base is widespread, with about 20% of its business coming from the Northeast.
Comaco has been working with medical manufacturers for more than 30 years. “The medical industry has so many intricate designs,” says Cox. As a result, the firm has produced medical components such as spinal implants, bone screws, and in vivo flow tubes for artificial heart pumps. The company has also built parts used in laparoscopic instruments and other surgical equipment.
In addition to its CNC Swiss lathes and multispindle screw machines, Comaco has 12-axis CNC Swiss machines and a full-access toolroom. “We offer different types of machines for different quality thresholds,” says Cox. The company can also develop tooling in-house for specific applications. Materials used include titanium, stainless steel, brass, aluminum, and metal alloys.
Engineers and buyers who are looking for precision machining of complex parts are more than welcome to visit Comaco’s booth. “We have always sought more-challenging work, and medical manufacturing offers us new challenges,” says Cox.
Electronics Firm Enters the Medical Trade Show Circuit
Tim Knox, president of Telco Solutions III (TS III; Franklin, TN), believes that his company exhibits a difference you can see. That is, anyone that visits the electronics manufacturer’s facility can see. “We would more than welcome people to come in and see our facility,” says Knox. “When they do, we’re almost 100% successful in convincing them to become a customer.”
Convincing companies to tour its facility to witness the firm in action is just one objective for Knox and TS III as they travel to New York to exhibit for the first time at MD&M East. Other goals for the show include forming contacts and getting the word out about TS III’s medical manufacturing capabilities.
An electronics jack-of-all-trades, the contract manufacturer offers PCB, wire harness and cable, and electromechanical manufacture and assembly. The firm consists of four divisions focusing on PCB manufacturing, cable and wire manufacturing, Nortel telecom distribution and remanufacturing, and semiconductor testing.
Because the low-volume, high-mix aspect of the medical marketplace melds so well with the firm’s business model, it is looking to increase its presence in the field. In addition, expanded capacity, increased technical knowledge, and an in-house sales force have motivated TS III to more actively target the medical industry. The possible acquisition of a medical-oriented company has also contributed to the pursuit of medical business.
The company has produced PCBs for a number of blood analyzers, and is adept at manufacturing safety-critical elements, where repeatability and reliability are necessary, according to Knox. From lead-free products to BGA capabilities, the company maintains that it offers products for tomorrow. However, today isn’t neglected, Knox claims. The firm provides lead-based products when requested, as well as SMT and PTH technology for those not working with BGA.
In addition to forecasting the future of its markets, TS III also analyzes virtually everything it is associated with in order to avoid jeopardizing the credibility of the business. Even trade shows such as MD&M East are carefully evaluated. But according to Knox, the event passed the test.
“The show has a good reputation and we watch where we participate and with whom our company is associated from a reputation standpoint; it came well recommended,” Knox says. “So we thought it would be prudent for our company to be present as well.”
Company Tests Out MD&M East
While Laboratory Testing Inc. (LTI; Hatfield, PA) may be new to MD&M East, the testing and calibration company is not new to medical manufacturers. In fact, many of its customers make medical instruments and implants, and that number seems to be growing. “Medical is a big part of our customer base,” says marketing manager Sharon Bentzley. “We can provide the testing and calibration services to support their quality requirements.”
The firm specializes in metal and alloy testing, specimen machining, and failure analysis and calibration services. Metals found in fasteners, tubular products, bars, plates, and castings can be tested. Several types of nondestructive testing are also available.
The company’s metrology division provides dimensional, pressure, force, torque, mass, and vacuum calibrations. Field calibration service is offered for surface plates, hardness testers, optical comparators, balances, hand tools, and testing machines. LTI uses CNC machines to prepare specimens for testing mechanical equipment.
All testing and calibration results are fully documented. “Our materials engineers provide summaries of all findings,” says Bentzley. “The summaries include information on what caused a failure and how to prevent similar events in the future.”
LTI is a regular exhibitor at design, welding, and machining trade shows. This is the first time the company will exhibit at a trade show specifically for medical manufacturers. “MD&M East is convenient to our office, and we expect it will give us an opportunity to increase the industry’s awareness of our services,” says Bentzley.
Synectic Offers Full-Service Treatment
Founded in 1981, Synectic Medical Product Development (Milford, CT) focuses on the design, R&D, and manufacturing of medical products. Recent growth in its sales division has led the company to exhibit at MD&M East for the first time. “This is our opportunity to reconnect with past clients, so we don’t want to miss out,” says Jeffrey Stein, president.
The company has done a lot of work with startup firms, according to Stein. “Since we can do the majority of product development, working with us can be a benefit for small startups,” he says. “We’ll get the FDA approvals, plus we have our own engineers to devote to each project.”
Synectic has developed catheter-based delivery systems, minimally invasive surgical devices, and consumer healthcare products. To help with the R&D process, the company employs mechanical, process, and quality engineers. Clinicians and industrial designers are also on staff.
The company’s facilities feature a model shop for mocking up mechanical concepts, a center for building prototypes, and an in vitro tissue lab for testing purposes. An expanded Class 10,000 cleanroom is available for manufacturing and packaging products. A CAD platform is used to create 3-D models for analysis and CNC prototyping.