Flambeau investing in medical device business

Mike Verespej

Published: November 5, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Medical, Injection Molding, Blow Molding

PHOENIX (Nov. 5, 10:30 p.m. ET) — Flambeau Medical Markets Group is investing in excess of $2.5 million and moving into the medical device contract manufacturing business as part of its plan to grow sales of the group to $100 million by the end of the decade.

“That would be about 500 percent growth from where we are today,” said Tom Star, vice president of marketing and sales for Flambeau Medical which was created last year when Flambeau Inc., the plastics injection molding group of the Nordic Group of Cos. Ltd., purchased Mastercraft Cos. in August 2011.

To house its new medical device manufacturing operations, Flambeau Medical has acquired a 16,000 square foot facility adjacent to its manufacturing operation in Phoenix and is building a 3,600 square foot ISO Class 7 clean room in that plant which will have six all-electric injection molding presses ranging in clamping force from 55 tons to 110 tons.

“Our target is to have it operational by March 1,” said Star in a phone interview Nov. 5. “We just took possession of the building last week. This will be our first thrust into making medical devices. To contain contamination risks and achieve the quality we need for our customers, we wanted the manufacturing in a building that was separate from the current building where we do industrial molding and tooling”

He also said the company has tentative plans to expand into Costa Rica and expects to decide by the end of the year whether to purchase an existing plant or build a greenfield facility.

Flambeau will initially be targeting in-vitro medical diagnostic devices and in-vivo devices for long-term and short-term implants, he said.

“We are aiming to penetrate the orthopedic, cardiovascular interventional, women’s health, and insulin management markets,” said Star. “We are looking at several different orthopedic applications right now including a spinal decompression instrument and an alignment fixture for physicians doing total knee replacement.”

Star said the newly acquired plant will have “everything that’s needed to make medical devices,” including a 7-axis high speed CNC machining center, a Fortus 400mc production system with a Stratasys 3D printer, packaging, pouching and assembly operations and ultraviolet, solvent and ultrasonic bonding stations.

“We are talking about molding components, attaching them to another component (most likely metal), assembling the product, packaging it and sterilizing it,” said Star. “The Fortus machine will give us the capability to do fused deposition modeling with Peek, Ultem and polycarbonate” and to lay materials down in layers to make medical grade products.

“Nordic plans for medical to be another cornerstone piece of its product offerings,” said Star.

Star said Flambeau Medical will provide product design and development, testing and process validation, bonding and sealing validation, sterilization management and help companies with intellectual property commercializing new products.

“We intend to provide a full range of services—from concept through commercialization—to make [Flambeau] a one-stop contract manufacturer for the medical device market,” said Star.

Flambeau Medical Markets Group is based in Phoenix.

Its current plant in Phoenix has 32 injection molding presses ranging in size from 55 to 450 tons of clamping force. The Phoenix operation also does blow molding, mold/tooling design engineering and manufactures Class 101 multi-cavity molds for high volume production.

Nordic Group is a holding company created by the Sauey family to manage the family’s assets, including Flambeau. Approximately 70 percent of Mastercraft’s sales at the time of the acquisition were in medical, with products such as EMT/EMS boxes, first aid boxes, medical instrument boxes, paramedic cases, first aid cases, trauma kits, door cabinets and even components for artificial hearts.

The Mastercraft business included injection molder Polycraft Industries Inc. and moldmaker Mastercraft Mold Inc.

Nordic and Flambeau are both based in Baraboo, Wis. Flambeau has 11 manufacturing facilities worldwide and more than 850 employees. It makes hunting decoys, fishing tackle boxes, and supplies blow molded components to Tier I and Tier II automotive companies.

According to Plastics News ranking data from 2011, Flambeau is the 24th largest blow molder in North America, with sales of $105 million for the fiscal year ended June 30.


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Flambeau investing in medical device business

Mike Verespej

Published: November 5, 2012 6:00 am ET

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