Creating value with additional services
Winning the business (tooling, moulding, and assembly) is just the first step towards a full manufacturing partnership with clients.
Boddingtons Class 7 cleanroom manufacturing environment often attracts business that simply needs to be there. Boddingtons offer the full manufacturing package including regulatory support.
For the Boddingtons operations team, however, such new moulding programmes offer a challenge; to not only improve upon the initial moulding characteristics, but to create further value efficiencies for the client by integrating additional services into the process. These might include automation, in-line inspection, printing, finishing, packaging and packing.
The trend towards homecare medicine and automated diagnostic results has lately created a wealth of new medical devices. Boddingtons, for example, has recently built the tooling and has moulded a DNA collection device on behalf of an international OEM manufacturer.
The DNA collection device programme initially involved clean room manufacturing of parts from a 1+1 impression development tool and manually pad printing the parts. Having completed the development work, Boddingtons set to work on a cleanroom production cell; producing two new 4 impression mould tools and replacing the dedicated machine operator with a system automated production, this involved the purchase of two new injection moulding machines, and servo drive robots. Through these and other methods what was originally produced as x 78 assemblies an hour soon became x 506 assemblies an hour.
Boddingtons Production Manager Wayne Allen says that ‘our next challenge was to add a system of inline printing to the device’s production – inside the Class 7 environment.’
The Boddingtons team accordingly designed a twin sealed cup printer, with a linear servo table and with built in vacuum capabilities in order to accommodate these printing needs.
In addition to the airflow changes and regular checks and audits required for the Class 7 cleanroom, Boddingtons was also required to regularly swab down all equipment used in this production to ensure minimal DNA contaminants.
The operations team also took the opportunity to review the general layout of the production cell, and accordingly reduced its factory footprint and overall size. Improvements in the process also raised the production output to 626 assemblies an hour. The automated process also reduced the handling of the product, therefore reducing the bioburden contaminates.
Wayne Allen comments that ‘work study analysis and improvements in one area – such as adding in automation and printing – can most often lead to improvements in other ways, such as reducing footprint, energy needs and also cycle time. The surrounding manufacturing disciplines of the Class 7 cleanroom was also very useful in keeping matters on track and in ensuring some cost-effective efficiencies for our client.’