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Articles from 2005 In October


Magnesium Molding Company Relocates Due to Expansion

Originally Published MPMN October 2005

INDUSTRY NEWS

Magnesium Molding Company Relocates Due to Expansion

Shana Leonard

Custom injection molder Phillips Plastics Corp. (www.phillipsmetals. com) has relocated its magnesium-molding operations to a 55,000-sq ft facility in Eau Claire, WI, in order to accommodate increasing demand for this particular process, also known as thixomolding. The magnesium-molding division specializes in the creation of high-performance, lightweight products that retain strength throughout the molding process.

The magnesium-molding division molds parts ranging from 0.045 to 4 lb. The thixomolding process blends plastic injection molding with die-casting, producing EMI and RFI shielding capabilities, tighter tolerances, and more dimensional stability than with die-casting alone, according to the company.

In tandem with the continuation of service to its customers, Phillips aims to conduct research and development at the new facility in an effort to improve the magnesium-molding field.

"Phillips's commitment to state-of-the-art technology is really paying off for our magnesium customers because we can provide complete services from design through production," says general manager Gus Myran.

Copyright ©2005 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Molding Company Expands U.S. Operations, Adds U.K. Facility

Originally Published MPMN October 2005

INDUSTRY NEWS

Molding Company Expands U.S. Operations, Adds U.K. Facility

Corinne Litchfield

To meet increasing demand for rapid-injection-molded parts and help design engineers bring new products to market faster, The Protomold Company, Inc. (Minneapolis; www.protomold. com) is expanding its North American manufacturing operations by 50%. Additionally, by the end of 2005, the company will open a new facility in the United Kingdom to serve the European market. The U.K. facility will deliver the same quick-turnaround prototype and low-volume part production service currently available only to the firm's U.S. customers.

This event marks the company's first international expansion and its third major North American expansion in the past six years. "Our U.S.-based customers have experienced dramatic benefits from our online ordering and fast parts delivery," said Bradley Cleveland, the firm's president and CEO. "Rapid-injection-molded parts aren't currently available to Canadian or European designers, so we look forward to introducing ourselves to these new markets."

Fueled by a $2.5-million equity investment from Private Capital Management Inc. (PCM), Protomold is adding a 20,000-sq ft facility in Maple Plain, MN, and a 25,000-sq ft facility in the West Midlands area of the United Kingdom. The U.K. facility will include divisions for sales, customer service, and manufacturing. By the end of 2006 approximately 40 personnel will be employed at the plant. The U.K. operation will initially focus on the prototyping and low-volume production needs of design engineers in the United Kingdom and Germany. Future plans include expansion into other western European countries.

In 2004, the company won a Tekne Award for best emerging company in the advanced manufacturing category. The Tekne Award program acknowledges innovations and leaders of Minnesota's technology businesses.

Copyright ©2005 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Automation Company's New Facility Exceeds 1 Million Square Feet

Originally Published MPMN October 2005

INDUSTRY NEWS

Automation Company's New Facility Exceeds 1 Million Square Feet

Susan Shepard

A machine tool builder has begun construction of a new 211,000-sq ft building at its headquarters and manufacturing facility. The addition is the third building expansion for Haas Automation (Oxnard, CA; www.haascnc.com) in nine years. It will push the company's total capacity past 1 million sq ft.

"That's why we bought 86 acres when we moved here," says the company's general manager, Bob Murray. "We planned that, as our business grew, we'd put up new buildings to expand our capabilities."

The company is on target to produce 10,000 machines in 2005. It claims to have developed the industry's first fully programmable rotary indexer. Currently, the firm offers a complete line of CNC machining centers and turning centers.

"The new building will serve as a warehouse for component parts, as well as inventory of finished machines," says Murray. "This will free existing space for more manufacturing."

Completion is expected in February 2006.

Copyright ©2005 Medical Product Manufacturing News

All-Silicon Pressure Sensors Introduced

Originally Published MPMN October 2005

INDUSTRY NEWS

All-Silicon Pressure Sensors Introduced

Susan Shepard

A global provider of integrated circuits and microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) has introduced a new line of all-silicon pressure sensors. Apogee Technology Inc. (Norwood, MA; www.apogeeddx.com) believes its first MEMS products have size, cost, performance, and reliability advantages when compared with existing technologies.

The company uses a manufacturing approach and design methodology that reduces sensor size by a factor of four compared with most existing solutions. This simplified all-silicon approach may reduce cost and improve reliability by eliminating the need to use multiple components to create a pressure sensor.

The first Sensilica product is a 0–75-psi pressure sensor die. It is suitable for OEMs seeking low-cost, high-performance absolute pressure-sensing measurement in a small form. Engineering samples are available for immediate delivery. In addition, Apogee is planning to introduce six new pressure sensor products by the end of this year.

Copyright ©2005 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Weighing In on Hurricane Relief Efforts

Originally Published MPMN October 2005

EDITOR'S PAGE

Weighing In on Hurricane Relief Efforts

Have you ever wondered how much money is in a "ton" of cash? Hardy Instruments, a supplier to medical device OEMs, knows.

The San Diego-based company recently teamed up with a local radio station to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The idea was to gather "a ton of change" for Storm Aid, a charity to help those who lost everything in the hurricane. People were asked to collect their spare change and donate it to the cause.

Hardy Instruments provided a 6 X 6-ft scale to weigh the donations as they came in. Over 14 hours, an estimated $275,000 was collected—almost four tons of cash. Hardy Instruments and its sister company, Dynamic Instruments, also raised almost $4000 in employee donations and company matching funds in less than 24 hours.

Hardy Instruments efforts are laudable, but you don't have to have a ton of cash to assist Katrina victims. Medical device manufacturers, service companies, and distributors can also help. You can submit information on all products or services being offered to help with the disaster relief to ECRI (www.ecri.org), a nonprofit health service research agency. It has launched a Web-based clearinghouse to help healthcare facilities affected by the hurricane. The Katrina Medical Technology Information Clearinghouse can be viewed at www.ecri.org.

"One of the biggest challenges in the aftermath of this disaster is helping affected healthcare facilities find out what medical products and services are available and how to obtain them," says James Keller, ECRI's vice president for health technology evaluation and safety. He says that the most urgent need is for information on products used in chronic-care situations. These include dialysis, infusion therapy, and diabetes.

ECRI has asked more than 8000 companies to submit information and the initial response has been strong. However, ECRI predicts a long-term need for disaster-related information. It is asking companies to continue to submit the following:

  • Details about special donation, rental, or loaner programs for medical devices.
  • Instructions on how affected healthcare facilities can receive expedited service .
  • E-mail addresses, telephone numbers, or Web sites for disaster-relief-related information and help.
  • Cleaning and repair instructions for water-damaged products.
  • Special requirements for devices operated from backup generators.
  • Any other information that may help in the relief effort.

Responses should be sent by e-mail to katrinarelief@ecri.org. ECRI prefers direct links to Web-based resources, along with a brief description of the products and services provided. The information will be posted on the central clearinghouse Web site. ECRI will also send printed copies of the materials to hurricane-affected healthcare facilities that may still not have access to the Internet.

Susan Shepard, Editor

Copyright ©2005 Medical Product Manufacturing News

In Brief

Originally Published MPMN October 2005

INDUSTRY NEWS

In Brief

Aromat Corp. (New Providence, NJ; http://pewa.panasonic.com) has changed its name to Panasonic Electric Works Corp. of America...Integrated BioSciences Inc. (Lewisberry, PA; www.ibiosci.com) has been selected by Pinyons Medical Technologies LLC to manufacture its line of PowerSyringes and PowerSyringe inflation devices...Rapid Product Development Group Inc. (San Diego, CA; www.rpdg.com) opened a technical sales and coordination office in Sunnyvale, CA...Syspro (Costa Mesa, CA; www.syspro.com) was named Independent Software Vendor of the Year at the VAR Business 500 Awards, held June 14, 2005, in New York City...ATP Engineered Rubber & Plastics Group (Radnor, PA; www.appliedtechproducts.com) completed a facilities upgrade at its Monticello, IA, manufacturing operation that included upgrades in production equipment and tooling, as well as upgrades involving operations, administration, and surrounding grounds...International Surface Preparation (Golden, CO; www.surfacepreparation.com) has opened distribution centers in Phoenix and Kansas City...Diagnostic Chemicals Ltd. (Oxford, CT; www.dclchem.com) has expanded its OEM and contract manufacturing services to the IVD, life sciences, and biopharmaceutical industries...McBain Instruments (Chatsworth, CA; www.mcbaininstruments.com) celebrated its 40th anniversary. The company supplies custom engineered optical instruments in addition to research, inspection, and laboratory microscopy systems...Libra Industries (Mentor, OH; www.libraind.com) has formed a strategic alliance with Engent Inc. The partnership enables Libra to bring Engent's next-generation microelectronics and process development capabilities to market...Specialty Coating Systems (Indianapolis; www.scscookson. com) announced that its parylene conformal coating services and raw materials are compliant with the European Union's RoHS directive...ICM Plastics (Rogers, MN; www.icmplastics.com) has installed modular, portable cleanrooms in its blow molding unit to meet customer demand for clean molding and assembly environments.

Copyright ©2005 Medical Product Manufacturing News

My Favorite Bookmarks

Originally Published MPMN October 2005

E-NEWS

My Favorite Bookmarks

Rajan Ramaswamy
Principal Engineer
Novo Engineering Inc.

Corinne Litchfield

Rajan Ramaswamy

Fight technological obsolescence and chat knowledgeably about what they're teaching at MIT these days by checking out the MIT Open CourseWare Web site (www.ocw.mit.edu). This site illustrates the university's commitment to make all of its undergraduate and graduate course materials available online. Use this site to explore the cutting edge of graduate research or to simply review material that you're out of touch with.

For designers, QuickParts (www.quickparts.com) lets you go from CAD model to rapid prototype without leaving your desk. The easy-to-use Web site allows you to upload CAD models for instant quote and subsequent fabrication using a variety of rapid prototyping methods including SLA, SLS, and FDM.

If you have a hard time remembering all the laws of physics, Eric Wiesstein's World of Physics (scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics) is a great online reference. The site covers all the physical laws in an easy-to-read, hyperlinked format. Great for looking up that equation that you can never remember.

Getting quotes from suppliers is made easy with MfgQuote—Stop Searching, Start Sourcing (www.mfgquote.com). This site lets you upload your designs and have them reviewed and quoted by eager suppliers all over the world. You can get multiple quotes for a part in a matter of days. Drawings are uploaded in "e-drawings" format, available from most CAD systems.

The go-to resource for patent information is, as expected, the U.S. Government Patent Office (www.uspto.gov). Offering free and fast access to the full text of all U.S. patents going back to 1976 and images going back to 1790, this site is a veritable treasure trove of information for anyone involved in the creation of intellectual property.

The National Library of Medicine (www.nlm.nih.gov) Web site is a great jump-off point for all kinds of medical information. The site is aimed at a variety of audiences ranging from laymen to professionals. Check out the catalog of human genes and genetic disorders called OMIM (Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man) and see your tax dollars in action.

Novo Engineering Inc. (Vista, CA; www.novoengineering.com) is a design engineering firm experienced in start-to-finish development of a variety of products in both the medical and nonmedical fields.

Copyright ©2005 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Outsourcing Outlook on Pressure Thermoforming

Originally Published MPMN October 2005

OUTSOURCING OUTLOOK

Outsourcing Outlook on Pressure Thermoforming

Company Streamlines Manufacturing Process

The manufacturing of medical trays has been streamlined by a company that has reduced its thermoforming process time to accommodate tight project deadlines and to reduce the stress caused by design challenges in packaging. The company claims it will supply concepts to meet package specifications within days. Once a concept is approved, the company transfers the design from its 3-D SolidWorks software to CNC machines in order to produce the mold. All of the thermoforming equipment is located in a contamination-controlled environment to ensure clean, quality products.
Plastic & Metal Center Inc., Laguna Hills, CA
www.plastic-metal.com


Catheter Balloons Can Be Customized

A provider of outsourcing services for the development and manufacture of catheter balloons offers customization of balloon designs in terms of material, size, shape, strength, and compliance. Balloon production is performed on computerized balloon-forming machines that feature multiple pressure and temperature settings per cycle, mold zone heating for difficult-to-form balloons, pressure profile control during the forming process, centralized display of parameters, electronic output and real-time graphical viewing of forming parameters in lab-view or Excel, and closed-loop control of stretch force and blow pressure. A Class 100,000 cleanroom and development lab were added in 2005.
Interface Associates, Laguna Niguel, CA
www.interfaceusa.com


Polyurethane Thermoformed Low-Pressure Balloons Offer Benefits Over Latex

One of the few manufacturers of three-dimensional thermoformed polyurethane low-pressure balloons is expanding its product line. Although difficulties working with polyurethane often deter companies from entering the market, thermoformed polyurethane balloons provide OEMs with body-to-neck ratios formerly unattainable with latex. Owing to their barrier properties, the polyurethane films offer low gas permeability. The thermoforming process enables the production of balloons in virtually any size and configuration. The polyurethane balloons are offered in 1:10 to 1:50 neck-to-body ratios with availability in thicknesses from 1 to 10 ml. Sizes as small as 0.2 in. can be produced upon request. All polyurethane materials used comply with Class VI specifications.
Polyzen Inc., Apex, NC
www.polyzen.com

Copyright ©2005 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Online Calculator Shows Bottom-Line Benefits of Plastics-Forming Process

Originally Published MPMN October 2005

E-NEWS

Online Calculator Shows Bottom-Line Benefits of Plastics-Forming Process

Yaling Lee

www.pbmplastics.com
(click to enlarge)

Design engineers are invited to try a new online tool to calculate the potential cost savings associated with a plastics-forming process versus other methods. The calculator is available at a Web site hosted by PBM Plastics Inc. (Newport News, VA), which offers the proprietary Melt-Phase forming technology.

By keying in material variables such as part weight, diameter, and height, and cost per pound of the raw material, users can instantly view comparative data. The site allows designers to experiment with thickness and size before entering the prototype phase.

Melt-Phase technology is described by the firm as a combination of billet thermoforming and injection and blow molding. It enables cost reductions in the fabrication of custom liners and containers, according to the company, because it minimizes waste and allows for parts designed with ultrathin walls.

Copyright ©2005 Medical Product Manufacturing News

Products from the MPMN Mailbox

Originally Published MPMN October 2005

PRODUCTS

Products from the MPMN Mailbox

Miniature Sealed Pushbuttons

A line of miniature pushbutton switches is sealed to IP67. The Series 48 product line from ITW Switches (Harwood Heights, IL; www.itwswitches.com) features options such as electromechanical or solid-state switching, momentary or maintained action, and square or round bezels. Seven button color choices are available, as are nonlighted or six LED color choices. PC or solder tab terminals and bushing or snap-in mounting are also offered.

Brushless Dc Motor Controller

A brushless dc motor controller provides 1000 W of power in a small footprint. Measuring 3 × 4.65 × 1.75, the 371-0028 motor controller from Servo Magnetics Inc. (Canoga Park, CA; www.servomag.com) is suitable for closed- or open-loop velocity and torque control of BLDC motors producing greater than 160 oz-in. at 7000 rpm. Input voltage can vary from 10 to 15 V with a rating of 20 A continuous and a peak of 40 A for rapid acceleration applications. The controller has rugged surface mount components in a compact design. Other features include a quick disconnect for wiring, on-board LED status indication, enable, FWD-REV, and tachometer output. The amplifier is fully protected from overcurrent, short circuit overtemperature, voltage, and loss of feedback.

Laboratory Labels

A producer of label systems has increased its stock laboratory label range. Computer Imprintable Label Systems LLC (CILS; Beverly, MA; www.cils-international.com) offers more than 3000 standard label material and size combinations. Highly durable synthetic labels are available in clear, white, and colored stock, with surface coatings specially designed to accept and protect laser, thermal transfer, dot matrix, or handwritten data. Adhesives include high-tack formulations for use with low-surface-energy plastics as well as cleanly removable adhesives. The company prepares its labels to tolerate solvents, abrasion, extreme storage conditions, and tampering. Labels are available in roll or sheet formats.

Hybrid Ceramic Ball Bearings

Hybrid ceramic ball bearings can be used in large, variable-speed electric motor applications. MRC Bearing Services (Kulpsville, PA; www.mrcbearingservices.com) has designed its hybrid bearings to prevent electrical arcing, resist wear, run at higher speeds and lower operating temperatures, and promote extended service life. The bearings combine traditional steel rings with ceramic balls to provide natural insulating properties. The bearings are 40% less dense than steel balls for reduced centrifugal force and friction, allowing them to run faster and cooler. Additionally, the bearings are harder than steel for enhanced wear resistance against hard particles, contaminants, and vibration, as well as highly inelastic for increased bearing stiffness and reduced deflection under load.

Industrial Power Supplies

A family of 1500-W power supplies features a five-year warranty. The single-output HSW1500 series from Lambda (San Diego; www.lambdapower.com) is suitable for powering industrial equipment used in applications where high reliability is needed. The units are available in 12-, 15-, 24-, and 48-V nominal outputs, and each model can be adjusted up to ±20% of its nominal voltage to accommodate nonstandard system voltages. The 24-V model has a peak current capability of 105 A when operated with a line voltage greater than 200 V ac. A range of input voltages from 85 to 265 V ac are offered. Remote on-off, dc good, and current-share signals are standard. The units feature a footprint of 5 × 3.25 × 11 in. and can be operated in a -10° to 70° C environment.


Copyright ©2005 Medical Product Manufacturing News