Freudenberg Medical is expanding both its thermoplastic and silicone moulding capabilities in the US.
The firm has added equipment to its California operations in Baldwin Park and Carpinteria, both designed to enhance the firm’s capabilities in micro-moulding.
“There’s a continuing trend toward miniaturisation,” Freudenberg Medical CEO Max Kley said at MD&M West in Anaheim. “As you go deeper into the body and integrate additional functionality, parts have to be smaller. You have to compress more into less space.”
The firm’s Baldwin Park site, which focuses on thermoplastics, added an Arburg micro injection modular machine and supplemental equipment including robotic part handling and integrated vision inspection systems for process control and monitoring in-cavity pressure transducers. The site also is expanding its tooling capabilities.
The machine allows Freudenberg Medical to produce very small, accurate shot sizes, a key challenge when making micro-moulded parts
“The precision of getting these small shot sizes right is a big challenge,” Kley said. “But it’s also things you might not think of, like handling the part afterward or de-moulding. The parts are so small, you have to be able to de-mould them and deposit them in a controlled way. And then you have to have the metrology in place to do the quality inspection.”
At Carpinteria, the firm’s silicone operation, Freudenberg Medical added a 15-ton machine for LSR applications in the EMT market. Kley said the addition allows the firm to expand its portfolio of services, especially when it comes to prototyping.
“These are extremely challenging applications and products to make,” Kley said. “You really need to be on top of your game. Not only on the manufacturing side, you need to have the necessary capabilities in terms of designing these products and the quality systems have to be set up in the right way.
Globally, Freudenberg Medical opened an office in Singapore to better serve existing customers and to grow the business in the region.
Freudenberg Medical manufactures product for the region from its facility in Shenzhen, China, which offers product and tool design, manufacturing with thermoplastic and silicone moulding, assembly, and packaging for medical devices and components.
“The Asia-Pacific market is one where we really have a foot in the door, but it was necessary for us to have a presence on the ground,” Kley said. “Singapore is one of the major hubs; it was the right place to do that. It will allow us, in a much more structured way, to provide additional services to our customers.”
The moves are coming on the heels of a 2017 that saw Freudenberg Medical expand worldwide. In Ireland, the firm added a 45,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing space for Class 7 clean rooms geared toward catheters. Kley said that addition, operational since August, has been filling up fast.
It also added 12,000 square feet so its Shenzhen site could house 10 more machines. Kley estimated at the rate business is progressing, the firm will have to begin looking at an additional expansion for 2020.
“We already have a broad range of capabilities that we bring to the market,” Kley said. “From molding to extrusion, metal and machining, right now we feel we have the right technologies. It’s about expanding and advancing the technology so we can offer cutting edge, new solutions to the market.”