Eliminating secondary operations with a creative, automated fixturing solution reduced program costs $969,000 annually.
Faced with rapidly increasing competition for ablation catheters, a multi-billion-dollar medical device manufacturer was forced to take a hard look at the cost and labor of producing its components. With a validated device already in the market, a redesign wasn’t possible, so long-term profitability was solely dependent on removing excess cost.
This would require a contract manufacturing partner to:
- Design a more efficient process based on combining competencies and reducing labor.
- Implement the right solution to increase automation and eliminate manual secondary operations.
With a shrinking project timeline – from 4 months to 2 months and 23 days – speed to market was becoming an increasingly crucial variable. Streamlining the process would need to happen quickly while still achieving the customer’s long-term business goals – never compromising quality or increasing risk.
The Current Process
Without molding the right fixture, machining was impossible to implement to achieve the tolerances needed for this application. This required a secondary operation to be performed manually – increasing labor and inspection time and costs.
Solving the Manufacturing Challenge
The Velosity Design and Engineering teams knew they could radically reduce costs by utilizing sophisticated technologies more efficiently and effectively throughout the manufacturing process. Here’s how:
- Redesigning the process – Leveraging Velosity’s talented, creative and experienced engineers, the team developed an efficient process that replaced manual labor with automation.
- Creating the fixture – Bringing together their diverse expertise (toolmaking, molding, machining and medical manufacturing) the team designed a high-volume fixture with incredible precision.
The streamlined process and precise fixture resulted in avoiding burring issues, meeting stringent specifications, and eliminating secondary operations through automation.
With working knowledge of state-of-the-art technology and a willingness to invest in cutting-edge equipment upfront for cost savings later, the Velosity team set themselves up for success by purchasing:
- A Swiss CNC Lathe Machine: A smaller, faster machine that would increase speed of production.
- An EDM Machine: A sophisticated machine that would reduce cycle time and increase process throughput while allowing the team to develop a fixture to automate the secondary operation.
For Velosity, delivering the highest-quality product at a price point that met the aggressive objectives ultimately earned the customer’s trust. As a result, Velosity was chosen as the sole supplier of this part that was originally going to be dual-sourced, leading to:
- Reducing program cost – With the refined process, decreased manual labor, and the elimination of secondary operations, MMD provided a total program cost reduction of $969,000 dollars annually.
- Increasing speed-to-market – Initial development and testing, as well as the shipment of approved production parts, was completed in less than 12 weeks.