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Network builds business for medical molders

August 15, 1999

3 Min Read
Network builds business for medical molders

If $15-million-plus Vesta Inc. (Franklin, WI) is any indication of what it takes to be a part of Dow Corning's Medical Fabricator Network (MFN), the standards set for membership are high. And belonging to the network is often a good way to enhance business in a specialty area.

Silicone materials supplier Dow Corning established the network in 1994, following the legal controversies over silicone breast implant surgery. The company realized that fabricators like injection molders of its Silastic medical-grade liquid silicone rubber (LSR) play a vital role in extending and maintaining quality throughout product manufacturing. Dow Corning forms strategic partnerships with LSR molders that meet its quality criteria and share its goal of meeting the medical market's need for safe healthcare devices and components. It looks for molders that can provide the quality and consistency in their products that reduce any chance of costly recalls. Dow Corning then recommends network members as preferred molders for parts using its LSR materials.

MFN members share in Dow Corning's growth through the technical service support and joint sales opportunities the company provides. Likewise, Dow shares in the sales growth generated by members of the MFN, many of whom are the suppliers of choice to end-use customers.

How does it work for Vesta? President Glenn R. Hubbard joined the 26-year-old company in 1987 and moved it into its present 32,000-sq-ft facility in 1991. The plant was built from the ground up for the single purpose of producing quality LSR products, 98 percent of which go into medical applications.

Vesta has five controlled environment areas. Wherever raw silicone is exposed, the air passes through Hepa filtration systems rated at less than 5 mm. The plant is QSR controlled and FDA audited. In addition to meeting or exceeding industry and government standards, Vesta develops specific raw materials, and in-process and end-product testing and inspection systems to meet its customers' requirements. This ensures full compliance to all the standards to which its customers adhere.

Some 70 to 75 percent of Vesta's production capacity is dedicated to LSR injection molding. It employs about 190, working 24/5. It operates more than 30 LSR-dedicated presses designed and manufactured in-house. These 25-ton vertical molding systems, capable of running everything from prototypes to full production runs, have molds that are manually slid into and out of the clamp area. They are ergonomically designed for operator comfort. For longer runs, Vesta also operates five horizontal machines from Boy, Engel, and Arburg (55 to 85 tons).

Hubbard is planning to expand the plant and is working with his team to ensure that any addition will be even cleaner than the existing areas. Vesta handles entire projects, from R&D through CAD/ CAM to a secondary or finished part.

"We've used Dow Corning's materials for years, and at times have taught them what to look for in a quality LSR molder," he says. "They inspect us annually to make sure we are in compliance. We don't receive any price breaks being a MFN member-it's more a matter of the liabilities involved-but you can't buy Dow Corning's medical products unless you are an approved customer or MFN member."

MFN Member Roll Call

To date, the Dow Corning MFN includes 12 LSR molders including the following:

Accusil Inc.
Merrillville, IN
William Depel
Phone: (219) 736-0400
Fax: (219) 736-0401
Web: www.accusil.com

A.K. Rubber
Elkhorn, WI
Kirt Fiegel
Phone: (414) 723-5470
Fax: (414) 723-4579
Web: www.akrubber.com

Bivona Medical Technologies Inc.
Gary, IN
Stuart Marcadis
Phone: (219) 989-9150
Fax: (219) 844-9031
Web: www.bivona.com

Elasto-Tec, div. of Robin Industries
Cleveland, OH
Steve Mullet
Phone: (330) 893-2430
Fax: (330) 893-3236
Web: www.elastotec.com

Helix Medical Inc.
Carpinteria, CA
Tom Vassallo
Phone: (800) 266-4421, ext. 266
Fax: (805) 684-1934
Web: www.helixmed.com

Jamak HealthCare Technologies
Weatherford, TX
Christopher Workman
Phone: (817) 594-9088, ext. 329
Fax: (817) 594-8324
Web: www.jamak.com

Medex Inc.
Hilliard, OH
Bill Drummond
Phone: (614) 876-2413
Web: www.jetro.org/success/medex.html

Portage, WI
Mike Cahill
Phone: (800) 236-7600
Fax: (608) 742-3179

Point Medical Corp.
Crown Point, IN
Rick Ferraro
Phone: (219) 663-1775
Fax: (219) 663-2877

Specialty Manufacturing Inc.
Saginaw, MI
Kathy Thompson
Phone: (517) 790-9011
Fax: (517) 790-9106
Web: www.specialtyman.com

Specialty Silicone Fabricators Inc.
Paso Robles, CA
Dave Batdorf, Sr.
Phone: (805) 239-4284
Fax: (805) 239-4164
Web: www.ssfab.com

Vesta Inc.
Franklin, WI
Glenn Hubbard
Phone: (414) 423-0550
Fax: (414) 423-0562
Web: www.vestaweb.com

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