Vaupell Inc. is concentrating on medical quality and lean manufacturing after consolidating four Massachusetts molding, machining and toolmaking operations into one.
The custom injection molder located the new, ``cutting-edge, vertically integrated'' facility in Agawam, Mass., near medical device developers and is installing additional systems to fulfill niche applications, Joseph Jahn, Vaupell president and chief executive officer, said in an interview at the Medical Design & Manufacturing West trade show in Anaheim.
Vaupell, which focuses on medical and aerospace markets, has ordered a specialized coordinate measuring machine from Brown & Sharpe Inc. for the Agawam site. The machine, set to be running by March, is intended to meet the need of a longtime customer. It is Vaupell's fourth CMM in Agawam.
Meanwhile, Vaupell has installed a Smartscope Quest vision system from Optical Gaging Products Inc. for high-speed in-line inspection and a central materials-handling system from a Motan GmbH unit, and established a physical properties test laboratory.
Presses in an Agawam clean room are injection molding a biodegradable material into South Pacific coral and, under extreme conditions, creating a medical structure with hundreds of thousands of channels and the density of bone mass. The clean room carries a Class 8 rating for 15,000 square feet, of which 1,500 square feet now operationally meet Class 7 requirements. Certification to that class is under way.
Under a two-year, $185,000 Massachusetts grant, Vaupell will further train employees in lean manufacturing techniques. The Agawam operation is moving this year toward ISO 13485 certification for molding implantable devices. Already holding that rating, a Vaupell plant in Constantine, Mich., develops projects for biocompatible molding. Agawam handles some of that work now and will take on more later.
Vaupell invested more than $4 million last year in combining Massachusetts operations from West Brookfield, Marlborough and two in Hatfield. Another New England site, in Hudson, N.H., makes prototypes and pre-production molds. The Agawam site employs 145 and uses enterprise-resource-planning strategies and general management software from IQMS.
Seattle-based Vaupell has annual sales of about $75 million and Jahn projects ``low double-digit growth'' for 2006.