Production Machining

DEC 2017

Production Machining - Your access to the precision machining industrial buyer.

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Page 36 of 51

E very shop owner wants his company to eventually be at the top of its game, but it's not uncommon for new companies to first try to gradually establish themselves before going for the gusto. After all, bringing in the best personnel and equipment, producing high quality parts, and landing important customers are obvious goals that, when combined, can lead to high profitability and long-term success. But these things can often take time to achieve. In the medical field, developing such a reputa- tion can take even longer, as customer requirements for precision and clean- liness are typically the most demanding. But one company has opened its shop, initially serving the medical field, with the main objective of setting the bar for the highest production standards. A significant part of its operations is centered around additive manufacturing, and the steps the company has taken to ensure a top-level facility are remarkable. Company Foundation Randy eken (pronounced "taken") is the founder of eken Companies, including NextStep Arthropedix and NextStep Extremities. Mr. eken was born and raised in Northeast Ohio. He began four orthopedic medical device companies known as the eken Family of Companies. eken Spine LLC designs, develops, manufactures and distributes spinal fixation devices nationwide. eken Disc LLC designs and develops high-technology medical device products, such as a microelectronic artificial replacement spinal disc. erics LLC designs, develops and manufactures a variety of synthetic bone substitute products. As an engineer developing devices for the past 25 years, Mr. eken's biggest frustration was finding reliable contract manufacturers that could think outside the box, deliver in a timely fashion, and offer all the required services under one roof. Slice Mfg. Studios was founded to address these concerns. Slice Mfg.'s 40,000-square-foot laboratory and manufac- turing facility was completed in early 2017. Positioned next to the historic 1929 Akron airport terminal facility, the company brings into one domain design, development, prototyping, mechanical testing, final production and sterile cleaning/packaging. e goal now is to make Slice a pioneer in the production of 3D printed parts, including the best processes possible for cleaning, powder handling, safety and all other aspects that many companies take for granted in this arena. Michael Rappach, chief operating officer at Slice, says, "Many shops have a lot of CNC equipment and then throw a 3D printer right on the shop floor just because that's what they think people want. We're trying to set the standard for part production with 3D printing as a separate operation." Groundwork e company takes a lot of extra steps to ensure successful handling of its 3D printing processes. An atmosphere- controlled, Class H1 explosion-proof room was built to house the 3D printers—currently two Arcam EBM (electron beam melting) machines, but with plenty of room for growth. Mr. :: Slice COO Michael Rappach says the company's objective is to be the leader in the industry as a pioneer for the best practices in 3D part production. The company takes a lot of extra steps to ensure successful handling of its 3D printing processes. An atmosphere- controlled, Class H1 explosion-proof room was built to house the 3D printers. Manufacturing with Additive :: 35

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