With an eye toward boosting its fast-growing orthopedic business, Mack Molding Co. has created a unit dedicated to orthopedics and disposable medical devices and added a Class 100,000 clean room in its headquarters plant in Arlington, Vt., to support those markets.
The new 2,000-square-foot modular clean room will have dual air-lock, rapid roll-up doors for easy product flow and quick tool changes, and six 110-ton all-electric Toshiba injection molding machines — three new, the others purchased in the last two years.
The presses will have high-pressure water containers to allow more versatility in resin selection, and use 60 percent less energy than equivalent hydraulic presses, Mack said. The clean room is next to Mack's white room, which has hydraulic presses, said Jeff Somple, president of Mack's Northern operations, in Arlington.
“With many orthopedic products moving to disposables, this is a great opportunity for us,” he said at the Medical Design & Manufacturing West show, held Feb. 14-16 in Anaheim. He said Mack created the new business unit because products for that market “require a little different skill set and a lot more validation” than some other medical markets.
“Our customers will now have people at Mack with specific expertise who understand hips and knees, machined parts, plastic parts,” he said. “There is an awful lot of effort under way to try and replace metal parts with plastics, and we will have people with strong background in both.”
Dwalin DeBoer, an 11-year Mack employee, was promoted to head the new unit. “We understand how the parts are used and understand their tolerances,” she said. “In some cases, [we] are the only manufacturers of these parts.”
Mack, which has sheet metal, machining and plastics capabilities, will also double its laser-welding capacity.
“We will have another laser welding cell operable by the first week of March,” Somple said. The cell will use a Litron Series 30 welding system for laser-welding brackets that hold surgical instruments in the trays. The self-contained system produces a hermetically sealed weld bead free of gas, air and contaminants.
Mack Molding does about $300 million a year in sales, roughly 40 percent of that in medical.