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ner, Gary McConnell, and three injection molding machines in a rented incubator. Now in 2015, Micro Mold has state-of-the-art tool and moldmaking equipment, supporting metrology equipment, and 22 employees, while Plastikos has 108 workers across three shifts, 30 presses, an ISO 7 Class 10,000 clean room and an R&D department. Timothy Katen and the other found- ers have all retired: the senior Katen retired in 2009 but is still on the companies’ Board of Directors. Philip and Ryan and their partner, engineering manager Rob Cooney, have run the show since then. “Currently, Plastikos is 5580 m2


total, with 27 production


presses and three R&D presses that are physically located in an R&D molding room at Micro Mold,” Philip Katen said. “We run 24 hours, 5+ days a week. At present, we are running at about 75–80% capacity. “Additionally, in August 2014 Plastikos broke ground on a large medical expansion, which will add 1581 m2


. The heart


of it will be an ISO 7 [Class 10,000] clean room molding fl oor along with a separate ISO 7 [Class 10,000] assembly and secondary operations lab. The expansion will accommodate eight clean room injection molding machines with space for robotics and automation. Once complete, it will support about 30% of additional capacity for the two companies.”


The Work Before starting Micro Mold, Tim Katen and Dave Mead “had made a bit of a name for themselves as toolmakers and designers,” with an ability to solve complex challenges, Philip noted, and that recognition was part of what encouraged them to go into business for themselves.


“Since the earliest days, our customers have come to us for highly technical, highly engineered applications,” Philip said. “Medical devices have been key. There has been con- sumer product and automotive work as well over the years, but the backbone industries for both companies have been medical devices and electronic component connectors. Both our companies specialize in small parts with intricate, even micro-scale features, calling for very tight tolerances both in plastic and in steel. We use a lot of engineering-grade resins. We barely use any commodity resins—it’s all specialty and engineering-grade raw materials.” Ryan and Philip agree that customer expectations have risen a lot over the years. “It’s quite challenging,” Philip said. “Across the board, customer expectations have increased, which is no surprise. First and foremost is quality. The prod- uct quality itself, as well as all of the rigorous quality method- ologies, statistical analysis, systems qualifi cation capability


A molded component is examined in an ISO 7 Class 10,000 clean room at Plastikos.


analysis and the like that go around ensuring a good quality part every single time.”


“And that applies not only to the fi nished molded plastic part but the tooling as well,” said Ryan. “And related to that is the OEMs’ expectations around the engineering and techni- cal capabilities of their suppliers—especially, I would say, their supplier base here in the US.” “At Plastikos, we typically purchase 2–4 brand-new


85 — Medical Manufacturing 201


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