Viant Medical Inc. completed a $10 million expansion of its medical device manufacturing facility in Heredia, Costa Rica, in April, which in part represents a continued growth of its liquid silicone rubber molding capabilities.
The Irvine, Calif.-based company also expects to hire up to 300 employees within the first year of opening the Costa Rica plant, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
The company invested in the additional capacity to meet market demand for minimally invasive surgical devices, including energy-based devices. The expansion includes 15 new molding machines and adds two-shot molding capability, following up on other liquid silicone rubber-related investments in 2020.
Viant has a long history with LSR molding via its Elastomeric Center of Excellence in Elkhorn, Wis. The company expanded its LSR molding offering in 2020 to its Costa Rica facility, given that site's capabilities with complex device assembly jobs supported by on-site plastic injection molding and extrusion.
"Adding LSR molding further enhances the vertical integration within the site, which has numerous benefits for the customer, including reduced time to market, risk mitigation and an improved cost position," said Beth Meyer, Viant senior director of strategic marketing.
The injection molding capabilities support a broad range of devices in the minimally invasive surgical segment, including energy devices as well as interventional, lab products/biotech and sleep and respiratory care.
With medical devices becoming more complex from a manufacturing perspective, the investment in the Costa Rica facility will allow Viant to increase its speed and efficiency in meeting customer deadlines, while addressing the need for more unique and customized molding work required to manufacture a growing list of medical devices.
The company long has considered the Costa Rica location well-suited for complex assemblies, particularly those with high injection molding content, including two-shot and LSR molding. That location also can support metals content from its network of 22 manufacturing sites, Meyer said.
"We are able to scale very effectively and are a fit for high-growth products and markets," she said. "[The Costa Rica facility] currently supports a broad range of devices in the minimally invasive surgical, interventional, lab products/biotech and sleep and respiratory care market."
These processes allow Viant to uncover further growth opportunities in orthopedics and drug delivery as well, Meyer added.
The expansion adds 14,000 square feet of ISO Class 8 clean room molding and assembly space and repurposes 16,000 square feet of additional warehouse, office and support capacity, for a total of 180,000 square feet across four buildings. There are nearly 40 injection molding presses and 24 assembly lines.
With the high growth at the Costa Rica facility, Meyer said the company is adding a range of team members, including operators, technicians, line leaders, production supervisors, manufacturing engineers, quality engineers, quality inspectors, material handlers, operations managers and engineering managers. Of the 300 new employees who will be hired, around 65 are expected to be engineers.
Competitively located in a free-trade zone, the Costa Rica site expansion will support the further specializing in thermoplastic and elastomeric molding, extrusion and complex assembly for interventional, surgical and other medical devices and components.
It allows Viant to excel in lean product launches, lean production preparation process (3P), optimizing costs and assuring quality.
Viant employs more than 6,000 professionals globally. In addition to its device manufacturing and assembly work, it has grown its design and development expertise to serve as a one-stop consultant for the medical field.
It is an ISO-certified contract manufacturer specializing in medical technologies that use custom machinery to focus on scalability.