Autocam Medical Provides Quick-Turn Manufacturing of Breakthrough Ventilator Splitter with Individual Pressure Capability

Researchers at the University of Michigan, collaborating with Autocam Medical, have tackled the COVID-19 crisis of potential ventilator shortages globally and developed VentMI in remarkable time—from prototype to available for use in under a month.  This new ventilator splitter overcomes a previously critical limitation for shared use of these devices.  Previous splitters could deliver only one pre-set pressure to patients even though each patient requires a unique pressure tailored to their lung size and degree of disease. Excessive volume or pressure can cause lung trauma, thereby limiting the ability to share a ventilator.

Conceived only weeks ago by Dr. Kyle VanKoevering of the Department of Otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Michigan Medicine and an associate faculty member in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, the new splitter was designed, prototyped, tested and received Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the FDA.  In less than a week, Autocam Medical was mobilized to implement Design for Manufacturing (DFM) processes and started manufacturing the VentMI.  Autocam Medical is poised to make hundreds of the new device before the end of April.

A new company formed by U-M inventors, MakeMedical LLC, has licensed the technology from U-M and will provide VentMI at cost to other institutions. Autocam Medical is providing its manufacturing services at cost, as well.  Of significant note, the VentMI costs only one-hundredth that of a new ventilator, thereby helping to reduce vent costs into the future as well.

“We’re extremely grateful to have been asked to participate in the creation of this vital new product,” commented John Kennedy, CEO of Autocam Medical.  “And we’re very proud of our team’s ability to go from prototype through manufacturing, engineering, to finished product in a matter of days to help meet this crucial need for the healthcare community.”

According to Owen Tien, CEO of 3-D printing company, Thingsmiths, a co-developer of VentMI and co-founder of MakeMedical, “Autocam Medical’s professionalism, speed, and quality of work is world-class. Their ability to move our components beyond 3D-printed prototypes has resulted in a product we can stand behind, and we are proud to partner with them.”

Added Kennedy, “This is truly a great example of the power of innovation and collaboration between multiple partners in successfully tackling an important challenge under the most difficult circumstances presented by the pandemic.”

About Autocam Medical

Autocam Medical is a global contract manufacturer of precision-machined drill bits, drivers, screws, plates, cutting tools and other complex, highly engineered surgical implants, instruments and handpieces, as well as other device components. Clients are involved with instruments and devices used in procedures including the foot and ankle, hand and wrist, hip and knee, shoulder and elbow, spine, as well as ophthalmology and craniomaxillofacial procedures. The company offers a value-added approach to high-precision manufacturing with specialties in CNC milling, turning and cutter grinding. The company has achieved ISO 13485:2016 certification. They also have facilities in the U.S., China and Brazil.

Autocam Medical Supplies Critical Components, Focuses on Employee Safety

Autocam Medical, a global contract manufacturer of precision surgical and medical components and devices, has stayed open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic while remaining completely committed to the safety of their employees.

Deemed an essential business because of the trauma-related medical devices they produce and the support they are offering customers involved in the production and operation of ventilators, the company elected to stay open to fulfill these critical needs. In addition to implementing many of the practices and procedures from their medical device plant in China which already dealt with COVID-19, the company instituted many of their own initiatives to keep their 500 employees here in America safe.

Precautions they’ve established include social distancing within their plants, mandatory use of facemasks, as well as a zero entrance policy for workers who exhibit signs of illness. In fact, before anyone can enter the building their temperature must be taken. Those with compromised immune systems, about 25 percent of their workforce, have also been furloughed.

The company is also only holding virtual meetings with their customers and suppliers. Internal meetings are held standing up as most of the chairs have been taken out of the conference room to maintain social distancing. They also have a cleaning crew that works throughout every shift disinfecting high-touch surfaces like door knobs and flat surfaces.

“The policies we’ve put in place are reflective of our commitment to keep our employees safe,” said John C. Kennedy, President/CEO of Autocam Medical. “So far they have worked well for us. Out of our 500 employees, only one, in our Plymouth, Massachusetts location, came down with the virus and they have since recovered. I believe that a large number of businesses could safely reopen using these same practices.”

About Autocam Medical
Autocam Medical is a global contract manufacturer of precision-machined drill bits, drivers, screws, plates, cutting tools and other complex, highly engineered surgical implants, instruments and handpieces, as well as other device components. Clients are involved with instruments and devices used in procedures including the foot and ankle, hand and wrist, hip and knee, shoulder and elbow, spine, as well as ophthalmology and craniomaxillofacial procedures. The company offers a value-added approach to high-precision manufacturing with specialties in CNC milling, turning and cutter grinding. The company has achieved ISO 13485:2016 certification. They also have facilities in the U.S., China and Brazil.

TODAY’S MEDICAL DEVELOPMENTS: Autocam Medical apprentices recognized at graduation ceremony

Autocam Medical presented nine students with certificates of completion for their CNC Machinist Apprentice Program during a January 16, 2020, ceremony at Western Michigan University’s AMP Lab in Grand Rapids.

Autocam Medical’s General Manager Named GRBJ’s Newsmaker of the Year in Manufacturing

John Kennedy, IV, General Manager of Autocam Medical, was named the Grand Rapids Business Journal’s (GRBJ’s) Newsmaker of the Year in the Manufacturing category and was honored during the publication’s Newsmaker of the Year awards breakfast held on January 29th at Frederick Meijer Gardens.

Kennedy was one of three finalists, along with Murray Kessler, President and Chief Executive Officer of Perrigo, and Kevin Lobo Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Stryker, in the Manufacturing category.

John Kennedy, IV has played a key role in Autocam Medical’s commitment to creating a skilled workforce. He has been a driving force behind their participation in the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP), a program focused on encouraging and facilitating the development of students pursuing careers in engineering and manufacturing. He has also helped propel the development of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Laboratory (AMP Lab) located in Western Michigan University’s (WMU) downtown Grand Rapids campus.

“It is an honor to be ranked among business leaders that have helped spur the development of West Michigan,” noted Kennedy. “The growth of our area and our industry is also one of my key objectives. Our involvement in the AMP program and The AMP Lab will help raise the profile of advanced manufacturing in downtown Grand Rapids and draw more people into skilled trade careers. We also offer an apprentice program that provides students with the opportunity to become Certified CNC Machinists and earn their Journeyman’s card.”

Altogether, the GRBJ recognized 16 different individuals as the Newsmakers of the Year.

Autocam Medical Presents Scholarships to Three GVSU Students

Autocam Medical, a contract manufacturer of precision surgical and medical components and devices, recently awarded three Grand Valley State University (GVSU) students with engineering scholarships.

Michael Flickenger, Eric Braun, and Zach Lobbestael were presented with the Autocam Medical Engineering Scholarship. Former GVSU Board of Trustees member and Autocam Medical President and CEO, John C. Kennedy, established the program. The scholarship was designed to encourage and educate students about the changes that have occurred in advanced manufacturing.

“The field has evolved significantly over the past couple of decades,” said John C. Kennedy President and CEO of Autocam Medical. “Many students have only had a minimal amount of exposure to manufacturing. It is our hope that this scholarship raises the awareness, and enhances the perception, of advanced manufacturing among college students.”

The competitive scholarship is open to full-time GVSU students going into their sophomore year in the Seymour and Esther Padnos College of Engineering and Computing. Students are selected for their academic merit and their ability to meet Satisfactory Academic Progress Standards. They also must declare a major in Mechanical Engineering, Product Design Manufacturing & Engineering, and/or Interdisciplinary Engineering (with a focus on Manufacturing Engineering).

As part of the scholarship process students will also have the opportunity to participate in three paid co- ops with Autocam Medical during the summer of their first year, winter of their second year, and fall of their third year.

High-Tech Equipment from Autocam Medical Installed in WMU AMP Lab

Autocam Medical, a contract manufacturer of precision surgical and medical components and devices announced three new pieces of their manufacturing equipment were installed in Western Michigan University’s (WMU) regional state-of-the-art Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Laboratory (AMP Lab).

The equipment is just one example of Autocam Medical’s commitment to creating a skilled workforce. They are also a key partner in the AMP program, which is focused on encouraging and facilitating the development of students pursuing careers in engineering and manufacturing. In addition, they participate in a CNC Machinist Apprentice program in which they send workers to college to receive training in computer numerical control (CNC) machining. Students that complete 728 hours of classroom instruction while maintaining a full work schedule receive their journeyman’s card in CNC Machining and 27 college credits towards an associate’s degree.

Now students in the program will have access to some specialized equipment. The AMP lab equipment, a CNC 5 Axis Mill, a Swiss lathe, and a 3D metal printer, will provide engineering students and current engineers and designers with an opportunity to experience the high-tech devices needed to develop and test new products and prototypes. “We are primarily focused on the medical industry, so the machines are designed to make smaller parts,” said John Kennedy IV, General Manager at Autocam Medical.

For example, the CNC 5 Axis Mill is used to make metal orthopedic devices such as ankle replacements, shoulder implants, hip sockets, and trauma plates for stabilizing broken bones. The Swiss lathe is designed to make long and slender round components for different uses. The 3D metal printer can print ready-to-finish objects.

In addition to the opportunity to use the specialized equipment, students will also be able to receive valuable input from industry experts at the lab. “Engineering students that have a concept that is a little bit more technical than what they have the ability to do on the Web, can come down here and say, ‘I have this great idea can you guys help me figure out how to make this?,’ while they learn more about advanced machining,” said John Kennedy IV, General Manager at Autocam Medical.

The facility is located on the bottom two floors of WMU’s building at 200 Ionia Avenue SW in Grand Rapids. Students begin their learning in the apprentice lab and classroom and then move down to the lower level, where the new equipment from Autocam Medical is located for hands-on experience. In addition to providing students with the tools they need to bring their concepts to fruition, the location of the Autocam Medical equipment in the lab’s lower level allows passersby to have a birds-eye view of the machines from the sidewalk above.

“This type of visibility will allow people to see manufacturing in process,” said John Kennedy IV. “It will also help raise the profile of advanced manufacturing in downtown Grand Rapids and draw more people into skilled trade careers. Manufacturers are struggling to fill these positions with well-trained workers who can become productive immediately. The AMP Lab helps close that gap.”

Autocam Medical’s President, John Kennedy, has played a primary role in this unique partnership between private industry and public institutions. He has helped connect Herman Miller and Paragon Die and Engineering to the program which includes several other area manufacturers and donors such as, Amway, Cascade Engineering, Flexco, Haworth, and Rockwell Automation. Besides WMU, the companies will be involved with Grand Rapids Community College, Ferris State University, and Aquinas College. As a result, the Lab becomes a resource for all of West Michigan and beyond.

Autocam Medical Recruits and Retains Top Talent with Empowering Work Culture

Autocam Medical, a contract manufacturer of precision surgical and medical components and devices recently released a new video highlighting their unique work culture and the many ways they recruit and retain employees.

John Kennedy, President of Autocam Medical, says, “Our vision is to become the best contract manufacturer for medical devices in the world. The way in which we do that is by providing the highest quality, best delivery, and best value to our customers. We can’t do that without great people. The many ways in which we recruit and retain top talent is a big part of our focus.”

As Dennis Weihl, Value Stream Manager and seven-year employee of Autocam Medical, notes in the video, one of the many ways that Autocam Medical has made culture a top priority is through the education and opportunities that they offer their employees. “At most companies, if you don’t know it when you walk in the door, you’re not going to have that job,” he said. That’s not the case at Autocam Medical. “They encourage growing and learning at all levels. That’s what keeps me here, I continue to grow and learn every single day that I’m here,” he said.

In fact, 23 of the company’s 200 employees are in a sponsored apprenticeship right now. The program pays for 100% of educational expenses and provides them with a full-time job while they are going to school. Students that complete 728 hours of classroom instruction while maintaining a full work schedule receive their journeyman’s card in CNC Machining and 27 college credits towards an associate’s degree.

What’s more, those that are hired on by Autocam Medical may pursue additional education as along as it relates to their role with the company. The company offers a tuition reimbursement program after 30 days of employment. In addition to paying for 100% of the Qualified Educational Assistance Expenses incurred by a participant for tuition at an accredited college, the program also pays for 50% of their approved expenses for textbooks (up to $5,250 annually). This includes certificate and degree programs.

Besides investing in the formal education of their employees, the company also encourages on-the-job training and teamwork. There are no separate areas. Employees work in Area Improvement Teams (AIT’s) so they have the opportunity to work out on the floor together and learn from one another.
The teamwork approach helps employees “do the best job they can in the work they are doing,” and to discover and suggest processes that will allow the company to do things better, faster, and more cost effectively.

If you would like to learn more about Autocam Medical’s culture, visit:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e8y0l1A6ZEg&feature=youtu.be

Autocam Medical Conducting Same Day Interviews at GRPS Hiring Event

Autocam Medical, a global contract manufacturer of precision surgical and medical components and devices, announced today that they will be participating in the Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) Student & Community Hiring Event on Thursday, May 9, 2019.

Students, families, and community members are invited to attend the on-site hiring event at Innovation Central High School in Grand Rapids located at 421 Fountain Street NE. High school juniors and seniors may go to the event from 1-3 p.m. while family and community members should plan on being there from 4-7 p.m.

Autocam Medical will be offering same day interviews for qualified CNC Machinists interested in working the night shift from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. More in-depth information regarding these positions and many others throughout all of Autocam Medical’s locations may be found on the careers page of their Web site:
www.Autocam-Medical.com

More in-depth information regarding the event may be found at:
https://www.westmiworks.org/grps-student-and-community-hiring-event/