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Multitasking Technology Utilized by a Medical Device Manufacturer

A MacKay machine operator prepares to run a stainless steel instrument on the Starrag Bumotec s191.

These finished spinal surgery instruments, made out of 17-4 stainless steel and measuring approximately 8" long x 0.750" diameter, were machined on the Bumotec s191.

MacKay Manufacturing Inc., located in Spokane, WA, is an ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 job shop. Nearly 60% of its sales are derived from the manufacturing of medical device instruments used in the operating room.

Seeing opportunities for business growth, MacKay Manufacturing faced the challenges of adding capacity and reducing manufacturing costs in order to stay ahead of the competition. MacKay Manufacturing President Mike MacKay, with the help of his staff, developed and prioritized a list of needs and wants to resolve the situation.

Most important on the list of priorities was acquiring a multitasking, high-rigidity machine with additional bar capacity along with high accuracy and equipment speed. Seeing the Starrag Bumotec s191 on display at a machine tool show and talking with the Starrag sales representative about their criterion, the team was afforded an opportunity to see the s191 in production at a manufacturing facility. "Upon completion of the visit, we knew we had found exactly what we were looking for," said MacKay.

The s191, which has now been in production at MacKay Manufacturing for 16 months, was purchased without a sub-spindle. Instead, the machine is equipped with a PRM unit (two vises and tailstock). So, instead of machining two parts simultaneously by employing a sub-spindle, MacKay has the ability to maintain two set-ups on the machine at any given time. This gives the team the advantage of reducing set-ups by allowing a small-lot repeat job to remain on the machine as a dedicated set-up while maintaining the ability to set up and run another job on the machine.

When it comes to making a set-up, MacKay estimates a 66% reduction in setting up the s191 as compared to making a set-up on a stand-alone machine. They also note there is less human intervention in the actual set-up process. Plus, they find authentic productivity improvements going from bar stock to a finished part versus the added time involved with utilizing a stand-alone vertical or horizontal machine.

"By using oil based coolant and a 40,000 RPM spindle, the generation of better surface finishes has become the norm," said MacKay. "In addition, the use of linear drives provides a 10% improvement in rapid traverse movement and improves chip-to-chip time. Operators appreciate the fact that when setting a lathe tool, they place the tool into the machine toolholder, activate the proper command to set the axes and the machine automatically takes over and sets both axes."

"Jean-Daniel Isoz, EVP Starrag Group and responsible for Bumotec, Switzerland, along with his team of engineers, strives to give the customer precisely what they need and what is important to them," said a Starrag spokesperson. "Working with customers such as MacKay Manufacturing, the Bumotec team has engineered the s191 multitasking machine to achieve high levels of performance in turning, milling and grinding. The unique flexibility of the equipment makes it possible to machine sets of parts (male/female) for surgical instruments, avoiding further assembly issues. In addition, the upscale rigidity generates excellent surface finish, which extends tool life and reduces the costs for finishing and handwork. Echoing comments of Bumotec customers, Isoz believes the Bumotec is a money-making machine for the medical device market."

"A big advantage to machining medical components on the Bumotec s191 is the ability to quote jobs competitively and obtain orders that we normally would not have received," added MacKay.

Taking these factors into account, MacKay Manufacturing has already placed an order for a second Bumotec s191, which will be delivered soon.

For more information contact:

MacKay Manufacturing Inc.

10011 E. Montgomery Dr.

Spokane Valley, WA 99206

800-535-3422 / 509-922-7742

Starrag USA Inc.

North American Headquarters

Skyport Business Park

2379 Progress Drive

Hebron, KY 41048


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