The summer started with the need to add a second shift in the machine shop to keep up with the demand for prototype molds. Then we needed a second shift for molding, even though we had already purchased a third production machine to keep up with the demand for prototype parts. We had so many active development projects, we were working overtime to keep up. Each time we hired a new engineer they were completely busy as soon as they learned how to use the coffee maker. One evening just for fun, we started adding up how many prototype molds we have created this summer – and WOW we were surprised to learn that it was 87 in less than 3 months!
Over 50% Increase in Engineering Staff
When we moved into our new building in Carlsbad last year, we had 8 engineers on staff full-time. Now we have 13 – so many we had to put in new cubicles. Our new hires have deep experience in biotech and medical device engineering, with a focus on injection molded products. We are now up to 24 employees total, including machine shop, fabrication and administrative.
35 Active Projects
We typically have between 25 -35 projects running at any time, and this summer we were at the peak with a total of 35 projects. Each project is at a different stage in our process, so we rely on Stacie Depner, an engineer and new Program Director, to manage the systems to keep all projects on time and budget and keep the client experience front of mind.
157 Rapid Prototype SLA Parts Created
With 35 different active medical product development projects running, you would think that we would have a balance of the timing through the development phases. Nope, this was an all-time low for the number of SLAs created in a 3-month period. Several large projects skipped Phase 2 (rapid prototyping), and moved directly to Phase 3, where we create prototype molds, injection-mold parts and then design the best assembly methods.
87 Prototype Molds Designed and Created
Our unique prototype molding process uses brass inserts in a steel mold base to combine the fast cutting times of brass with the strength of a steel base. The brass inserts are easily plugged and recut for iterations to finalize the design. This summer we had many projects that required multiple parts, including over molded parts and complex assemblies.
>50,000 prototype parts molded
50,000 prototype parts would NOT be an impressive amount for a typical manufacturing facility where the mold design is finalized and the process is automated. For us as a prototype molder, it IS a lot! Each new mold is run, and first articles are verified to match specifications. Then we might need to make a few changes and rerun. We used the 87 molds in 190 separate runs to produce >50,000 parts.
And we haven’t even started talking about assembly! We have already doubled the assembly benches to keep up with our projects. Our new laser welder is running full-time so that we can produce the complete assemblies for testing.
And we still have room for your project!
We have continued to learn and grow this past year as so many of our clients have needed higher quantities of assembled parts for their testing and clinical trials. We have created the infrastructure to manage this higher workload while keeping our quality high. Give us a call today to discuss your project with us!