Rapidly developing Atek Medical Manufacturing is looking to grow globally by the end of the year and for sales to approach $70 million.
``We are looking to expand our capabilities and our scope of manufacturing,'' said Paul Orlando, business development manager for the Grand Rapids, Mich., unit of Atek Cos. of Brainerd, Minn. Orlando works out of the company's sales office in Pembroke, Mass. ``We are looking to expand somewhere in the global arena.''
The company, with a growth rate exceeding 15 percent since it was formed in 2003, makes disposable medical devices for cardiovascular and spinal surgeries, as well as Class 3 implants and medical equipment. Atek Medical has plants in Grand Rapids and Heredia, Costa Rica, and was formed from the assets of Medtronic Inc.'s cardiac surgery business, which Atek Cos. acquired in 2003.
Orlando also said the company was looking to grow through acquisition, although he did not specify a time frame.
``We are looking at the acquisition of facilities from original equipment manufacturers as they consolidate and rationalize plants,'' Orlando said at Medical Design & Manufacturing East, held June 12-14 in New York. ``We want to acquire something they want to divest, but still have functioning.''
At a time when many contract manufacturers are vertically integrating to meet demands that they provide a full range of services, Atek Medical instead has chosen to partner with other firms. ``That allows us to pick a project at any place of the development cycle and bring it to fruition,'' he said.
``Our approach is to maintain OEM-level systems and practices so we can manufacture and sterilize products as an extension of the OEM and ship directly into OEM distribution channels without the OEM inspecting the product.''
To do that, Atek Medical maintains in-house capabilities for process validation, sterilization, bonding, pouch blistering and form-fill-seal packaging, and supply-chain management.
In addition, the business has improved its manufacturing flexibility and capacity through lean-manufacturing techniques and one-piece flow production that eliminates long set-up times and excessive in-process inventory.
An example: When Atek Medical converted the batch production process at a facility it acquired to one-piece flow manufacturing, it cut set-up times from 30 minutes to 10 minutes and reduced drying time to 10 seconds from 24 hours through the use of ultraviolet-light curing. The result: annual savings of $80,000 and dramatically lower in-process inventory.