It's possible and preferable to eliminate risk from an automated medical-molding project if the right approach is taken.
Industry veteran Andrew Sargisson president of automation systems maker Waldorf Technik Inc. offered a look at one successful approach at Plastics in Medical Devices 2011, held April 11-13 in Huron.
It helps to take a look at how the [automation] project was created, and to take a look from 36,000 feet, Sargisson said. You need clear guidelines and you also need to realize if your time frames aren't achievable. If they're not, but you take them on, it will bite you back.
Common sense also plays a role in the process.
If the project suddenly goes from a four-cavity or eight-cavity mold to a 68-cavity, I'd start panicking if I were you, he added.
It's also important to determine if the process is repeatable in the first place and to determine who's generating ownership of the project.
Make your company head of the food chain, not part of it, Sargisson advised. And view the entire process, even if the guidelines aren't clear.
In some cases, even offering a service like cavity separation can save a project if a single cavity on a mold goes bad, he added.
Communication also is crucial. Delegate where necessary, but give clear targets and monitor results within milestones, Sargisson explained.
The process seems to be working for Waldorf Technik, which now generates 60 percent of its sales from the medical sector. Waldorf based in Hamburg, N.J. is the North American arm of Waldorf Technik GmbH & Co. KG of Engen, Germany.
The parent firm opened its doors in 1986 and now employs more than 100.