Thermoplastic mold maker and molder Sarasota Precision Engineering Inc. has formed a medical group to make surgical devices for use in laproscopic, arthroscopic and endoscopic procedures.
Sarasota Precision Engineering Medical Inc. will operate in the parent company's plant in Sarasota, Fla., where it has built a 1,600-square-foot clean room that currently has two 33-ton Arburg liquid silicone rubber injection molding machines.
We have room to put in three more LSR machines or 10 tabletop micromolding machines, said Doug Mansfield, president and owner, in a July 13 phone interview.
We will add two micromolding machines within the next 90 days and develop parts for customers and then add more as we go on, he said.
Mansfield said the micromolding will be done in the clean room and the thermoplastic molding in portable white rooms, using the 16 injection molding presses, ranging in size from 28-390 tons, that the company currently has in its Sarasota plant. He said two more molding machines will be added soon.
The company, which had $2.3 million in sales in 2009 and has 22 employees, received its ISO 13485 certification July 7 about seven months after it finished building the clean room for medical manufacturing.
Initially, Mansfield expects that medical will generate 10 percent of the company's sales. But in two years, he expects a far different picture.
Within two years, automotive business will be less than 10 percent of the Sarasota plant's business, with the remainder about equally split between aerospace and medical, he said.
We have room here to grow. We have 4 acres of land, a 33,250-square-foot plant and can build another 35,000-square-foot plant, Mansfield said.
The company has a sister company, Artisan Tool & Die Inc. in Muncie, Ind., that repairs molds and makes engineering changes but does not build molds for the automotive industry. Artisan has been running three shifts five days a week and one-half day Saturday since 2003, but recently added a fourth shift with people working 10-hour shifts Friday to Monday because of the continuing growth in business volume.
Mansfield said the decision to pursue medical opportunities at its Sarasota operation was driven by two factors.
We saw the potential growth in medical and we saw that the growth that we were looking at in other markets [automotive and aerospace] was not what we wanted, he said.
The medical market offers huge opportunities for growth, said Michael Ontiveros, co-founder of SPE Medical, who joined Mansfield's group of companies as a business partner in early 2009 when the company decided to put the pieces in place to have a medical-device business.
Both of us have been in the industry for years and started out as mold makers. As mold builders we saw that if we take it to the next level [manufacturing], we can keep the molds here and build products for our customers rather than ship the molds to someone else to do the manufacturing on processes that we developed, Ontiveros said.
Mansfield added: We are willing to develop, at no expense to the potential customer, molds for converting machined parts to plastic parts.
Mansfield said SPE Medical will have an advantage because it is small and fully integrated.
We are not run by bean counters, and [we] make a decision in 15 minutes, not six months, he said.
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