A major medical device manufacturer needed to reduce the cost and lead time for a cannula, a vital component for a device used in hernia repair surgery. The cannula channels air into an anatomic balloon that creates the precise amount of space inside the body for the procedure. It also facilitates clinicians’ visualization throughout the operation.
The project called for total production of 500,000 cannulas per year including six different variations – all with tight tolerances – to match a variety of surgical procedures. Despite these complexities, the manufacturer had to reduce costs by as much as $150,000 per year while meeting short lead times to capture market opportunities and reach internal business objectives.
For Velosity, the solution was immediately clear: Be the only one that uses coolant-free Swiss Machining to automate and streamline processes, save costs and speed lead times. The unique approach convinced the customer to award MMD Medical the project.
Traditional vertical milling was ineffective for several reasons:
• Inefficient methodology – Extruded tubes were cut to length before milling. One side of a tube was machined and then manually flipped to machine the other side.
• Foreign material risk – The former process had risk of contamination due to the machining environment and small diameter lumen.
• Capacity restraints – Production volume and the need for multiple variations of the part outmatched the supplier’s capacity to deliver.
Solving the Manufacturing Challenge:
Taking an unconventional approach, Velosity delivered a solution that reduced costs by $150,000 and met production volume, quality and delivery goals. To do so, Velosity:
• Specified that all extruded tubes were received in 12-foot lengths. This allowed MMD Medical to use a Swiss Machine and run an autoloader.
• Created a lubricant-free Swiss Machining environment that eliminated any residue that would cause contamination on the device.
• Controlled production through rigorous quality control processes and the elimination of outsourcing for secondary operations by vertically integrating.
Knowing success relied on efficient and repeatable processes, Velosity focused on:
1. Technology Investment: Proactively investing $525,000 in the technology unlocked the door to increased productivity and cost savings.
2. Supplier Collaboration: Partnering with the industry’s leading Swiss Machining supplier expedited a creative solution for a coolant-free environment and streamlined approach.
3. Speed and Volume: First production-ready cannulas were delivered in two months – four months ahead of schedule. Two shifts worked year-round to consistently meet delivery deadlines.
• Reduced program cost by $150,000
• Decreased lead times by 67%
• Invested 535,000 in new technology for a single program