CAD/CAM Software Maker to Debut Version 2007
Advances in machine tools and the CAD/CAM software to support them have led to development of a wide range of solutions for the medical manufacturing industry. One such solution is FeatureCAM, one of the line of products from Delcam, which will debut its new version 2007 at MD&M Minneapolis.
The show represents both an opportunity to spread the word about this new product to the Midwest and a chance to reach a new batch of potential customers in the medical industry. FeatureCam-Delcam (Salt Lake City) participates in more than 30 different trade shows per year in the metalworking, woodworking, jewelry, boat making, auto sports, packaging, quality, and other industries. The company has also exhibited at MD&M East, according to marketing coordinator Maryann Beaver. “A lot of our success has been generated by exhibiting at regional trade shows, instead of just the large national trade shows,” she says. “MD&M Minneapolis fits into this regional trade show category for us. In addition, we are expanding our marketing to reach the medical industry and plan to include medical manufacturing publications in our upcoming marketing efforts.”
FeatureCAM, along with other Delcam products, provides a wide range of CAD/CAM capabilities, including 2-D and 3-D milling, wire EDM, automatic feature recognition, inspection, and reverse engineering, according to Beaver. Visitors to the Delcam booth at the show can view demonstrations of Version 2007. This new update includes advanced 3-D milling strategies, automatic feature recognition (AFR) for complex holes, tool-path editing, and several other enhancements.
“Complex-hole AFR enables users to specify custom hole dimensions, key geometric features, special-purpose tools, and exact machining parameters,” says Beaver. “As a result, complex holes can be automatically recognized and machined to desired specifications.” With tool-path editing, users can make changes to part tool paths after the tool paths have been generated, without needing to retrace their programming steps back to the feature setup. “Once the tool paths have been generated, users simply select the section of the tool path they want to edit and indicate the desired change,” Beaver says. “For production machining, having the ability to make a few minor changes in generated tool paths can reduce cycle time and save significant amounts of time with large runs.”
In Its 20th Year, Translation Firm Seeks New Challenges
Iverson Language Associates Inc. (Milwaukee) has been in the translation business for 20 years, but it is still looking for new ways to test its capabilities. The firm is hoping that expanding its work in the medical industry will provide those opportunities. “We really love to work with clients that challenge us to do things differently,” says president Steve Iverson. “The strength of our team in finding solutions and mapping processes is a value-added service that we bring.”
The company has attended and exhibited at the RAPS Conference and at more general shows. MD&M Minneapolis will be one of its first shows focusing on medical manufacturing. “It was close to home for us, and it’s a great way to reach all the big players—especially in the Midwest,” Iverson says.
Long-term, big-picture relationships with clients are part of the Iverson style. “Our approach to translation goes beyond the project-by-project approach,” explains Iverson. “We really seek clients who want to find a strategic approach to managing document translation. This larger view allows us to find ways to control cost and quality from the onset, rather than discovering ideas much later.”
The company’s core business is managing document translation, along with project management, desktop publishing, and technical writing. It handles catalogs, technical documentation, owner’s and service manuals, Web sites, corporate communications, software, financial statements, and press releases. A pioneer in computer-assisted translation technology, Iverson works with a team of native-speaking translators, and keeps a database of all customer translations. This means the same sentences used in similar context do not need to be translated more than once.
At the show, Iverson will be focusing on document translation, with a possible interactive demo on hand. “We have a great deal of experience in working with medical device clients,” says Iverson, “so our ability to ‘speak the language’ of visitors will help make the conversations more meaningful.”
Customers Lead Supplier to Medical Manufacturing
Many a successful salesperson might agree with the old adage, “The customer is always right.” In the case of FasTest Inc. (Roseville, MN), it could be said that “the customer has the right idea,” for it was the customers that made the company a medical supplier.
FasTest offers pressure, leak, and vacuum testing tools. Its specialty connectors have been used to test components in the automotive and refrigeration industries, among others. It is these connectors, first offered by FasTest more than 25 years ago, that were being purchased by medical OEMs. “The medical device industry found our products before we found them,” says Scott Jacobson, company consultant. As a result, the firm adapted part of its product line for medical manufacturing.
According to Jacobson, FasTest’s medical manufacturing business has been steadily increasing over the past few years. The growing interest was a powerful motivator for the company to exhibit at this year’s MD&M Minneapolis trade show. “It’s time for us to give this market some attention,” he says.
FasTest’s miniature FE- and R-series connectors can be used to test medical products including luer and barbed fittings, tubing, pumps, valves, and pressure switches. The company also offers cleanroom manufacturing and packaging services.
Injection Molder Features Small-Quantity Plastic Machining Capability
When contract injection molder Diversified Plastics Inc. (Minneapolis) decided to focus on the medical industry—and to show off some new capabilities—it was looking for the right environment. It chose MD&M Minneapolis. “I walked one up the MD&M shows, and I found it to be very dynamic,” says the company’s vice president, Annette Lund. “There were so many new things to see.”
Diversified Plastics has primarily exhibited at contract manufacturing shows such as AmCon in Illinois. It was time for a medical industry show. “We’ve done business for years in the medical industry, and decided we’d target that this year,” Lund says. Another advantage of the MD&M show is that it is small enough to see in a day, says Lund, comparing it with this summer’s National Plastics Exposition in Chicago, which she called “almost too big.”
MD&M Minneapolis will also give the company a chance to showcase its capability for small-quantity plastics machining, which they developed about a year ago. This allows Diversified customers to have small runs for prototyping, or even for test marketing or small-scale production. Customers can now make sure that their new designs will not only work but also sell before they take on the expense of toolmaking and full-scale production, Lund explains. “It’s taking off,” she says. “People are very interested in it.”
Having a prototype machined through Diversified Plastics also eases the transition to full-scale production once a customer is ready. “Just to have something in hand, the toolmaker can see just what it’s supposed to look like,” Lund says. The company also offers design assistance, mold making, design and building of tools, assembly, and contract manufacturing.
At the show, company staff will be ready to meet visitors, with samples of what the firm can do on hand. “We’re trying to catch people’s attention and see what we can do for them,” says Lund. Engineers will be available to discuss projects of all types and sizes. “Someone could come in with a blueprint and we’ll be ready to discuss it with them,” Lund offers. “If they have a new design they’d like to talk to us about, even if it’s on a napkin, bring it.”
As a bonus, visitors to the company’s booth who respond to a brief survey on purchasing decisions will have the chance to win a Palm Pilot.
Translation Firm Offers Help with Auditing, Too
The widely expanding global economy has turned many corporations into international suppliers, including several medical device firms. With this shift comes a need for multilingual patient guidelines, instruction manuals, and other materials. Enter Sajan Inc. (River Falls, WI), a supplier of translation services to the medical device industry. “Medical is one of the fastest growing areas of business for us,” says Christine Snow, director of marketing.
The main draw for medical OEMs is the company’s Global Communication Management System (GCMS). The system uses a Web-based platform to streamline translation project workflow, content management storage and retrieval, and creative services. Everything is located in one central database that can be accessed from around the globe.
Sajan will promote the CFR Part 11 Administrator component of GCMS at the MD&M Minneapolis show. Designed for life science and biotechnology firms, the CFR Administrator module provides auditing and version controls. Free online certificates of authenticity are also available. The module can be customized for each client’s needs, and allows for tailored online sign-off forms for tracking purposes.
While Sajan has already worked with several medical device firms, the company is looking to gain more clients in the industry. In order to best serve medical OEMs, Sajan wants to understand their needs, and that is where the MD&M trade show can help, explains Snow. “We build and enhance our technology by listening to what our customers need,” she says. “Exhibiting at MD&M Minneapolis gives us an opportunity to hear from medical device companies about what they need.”
Metal Parts Maker Unveils Alley at MD&M Minneapolis
One of the oldest manufacturers of metal parts will make its debut at MD&M Minneapolis this year. Since 1903, Stroh Die Casting (Milwaukee) has been making aluminum and zinc components for the automotive, electronical, and other industries. In recent years, the company has become more involved in medical manufac-turing. Among the medical devices designed by Stroh are a heat sync used in a defibrillator battery recharger. The firm has also made components used in cleanroom disposal containers. “We see potential in the medical segment of our business,” says company representative Kate Stroh.
Stroh Die Casting will showcase its engineering design, prototyping, and manufacturing capabilities at the MD&M show. The company will also unveil its new, patented metal alloy designed to improve thermoconductivity. Currently used in the manufacture of the defibrillator heat sink, the alloy may have additional medical applications, says Stroh.
The firm regularly exhibits at trade shows as part of its marketing strategy. The decision to exhibit at MD&M Minneapolis came after attending MD&M East earlier this year. “We walked the floor and saw the opportunities that were there, so we decided to give MD&M Minneapolis a try,” says Stroh.
Stroh Die Casting offers product design and development, with a focus on aluminum and zinc die casting. The company also offers precision machining, finishing, assembly, and coating.
Electronics Firm Works Nicely with Others
From a young age, children are taught the importance of sharing, a lesson medical electronics manufacturer Design Solutions Inc. (Watertown, MN) learned at a previous MD&M Minneapolis trade show. As part of the Medical Device Research Group, a coalition of medical device companies based in the Twin Cities area, the firm shared a booth with other group members.
This year, Design Solutions will strike out on its own to showcase its services. The company offers design, development, and manufacturing of medical elec-tronic devices and software platforms. Among the devices it has produced are sleep apnea screeners, pulse oximetry analysis software, and cardiopulmonary exercise recorders. The company has also developed wireless systems that transmit physiological data. “The bulk of the work we do is building systems that measure, transmit, and analyze biological signals,” says Jim Smith, vice president of engineering.
Design Solutions can also assist customers with regulatory issues. Services include validation and verification of electronics and software, safety compliance engineering, reliability and failure analysis, and FDA 501(k) submissions. The company plans to use the MD&M trade show as an opportunity to connect with current customers, as well as show potential customers its capabilities.
Machining Firm Extends Reach into Medical
One company’s expansion is a key factor for its decision to exhibit at MD&M Minneapolis. Reich Tool & Design Inc. (RTD; Menomonee Falls, WI), a metal tool and die shop, also offers contract machining services. The firm will be expanding its facility over the coming months. “We’ll be offering more services with the expansion, so we want to use this opportunity to increase our medical business,” says Keith Gennerman, operations manager.
In the past, RTD has mainly exhibited at shows that target the metal-forming and machining industries. These shows include Fabtech, Metalform, and the Wisconsin Manufacturing and Machine Tool show. This year, the firm will add MD&M Minneapolis to its trade show résumé. “We’ve done machining on components used in specialized medical equipment for many years,” says Gennerman.
Founded in 1965, RTD has developed products for use in medical manufacturing equipment. The company offers product prototyping, custom machining, and R&D services. General tooling support is also provided.
The tool and die shop has expertise in complex, progressive, and transfer metal-stamping dies. It’s machining services include EDM drilling, wire EDM, and two- and three-dimensional CNC machining. The company has added a water-jet cutting system for use with metal and nonmetal materials, such as ceramic, glass, granite, and stone. Low-volume production, part prototyping, and part development is available.
New Prototype Company Looks to Reconnect with Old Friends
When the prototype company they were working for was sold in 2005, Tom Budd, Kurt Bengston, and Scott Hearley decided it was time to found a company of their own. Prototype Solutions Group Inc. (PSG; Menomonie, WI) was born. “We decided that with our experience, our methods, and our philosophy of service, it just made sense to come together so we could continue to provide our clients with the quality and service they had come to expect from this group,” explains Karen Halvorson-Falk, vice president of client services.
The company considers MD&M Minneapolis a chance to reconnect with some old friends in the medical device and design industry. It is also a chance to show off a bit. “The show provides an outstanding opportunity to see so many people and companies within the medical design industry,” says Halvorson-Falk. “Basically what we will showcase at the show is general information on our company—our capabilities and methods—and display some of the product we’ve produced that will depict the level of quality we can provide.”
Capabilities at PSG include CNC machining of foam, plastic, and aluminum; rapid stereolithography; urethane casting; and custom parts painting and decorating. The company has expertise in creating engineering, visual, prop display, and architectural models.
As employees of another prototype company, PSG partners had attended some trade shows. Another draw in coming to MD&M Minneapolis is the community itself. “Obviously the Twin Cities area is a large medical design/development community,” says Halvorson-Falk. “Plus, it’s close to home, being only about 70 miles from Menomonie.” There is also much to learn, she says, when such a large group of industry experts gathers under one roof. And she hopes that those in the industry who might have wondered where the PSG partners had gone will get a chance to discover that they are still serving the market. “Our project managers have worked with many medical device designers and engineers for a number of years,” she says. “We’re really looking forward to being there.”
The PrecisionTec pavilion features the materials, components, equipment, and technologies used to design and build the current and next generation of stents, stent grafts, balloon angioplasts, catheters, guiding catheters, guidewires, and pacing systems. Visitors can watch demonstrations of the latest advances in multiaxis CNC machining equipment, EDM, laser-cutting and –welding technologies, and the full range of custom precision metal fabrication services. Applications for these technologies include orthopedic implants, surgical tools, cardiovascular devices, ophthalmic lenses and instruments, and other critical-tolerance device markets.
Lasers in Medical Device Manufacturing
On October 25 and 26, at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. each day, the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) will present a key feature on lasers in medical device manufacturing. Visitors to Booth #153 will learn how lasers are being used in precision welding, fine cutting, drilling, and marking processes, and how companies can incorporate this technology in their manufacturing to increase productivity, quality, and profits. Each presentation will be followed by a panel discussion featuring experts from SME’s Industry Laser Community.