Stryker Corp., a major medical supplier, plans to invest $5
million in a new metal injection molding (MIM) plant in Portage, MI
in anticipation of rising demand.
With the new Injection
will establish a new core competency within its integrated manufacturing department
that will include vertical integration of metal injection molding technology.
"The majority of components that are currently machined will
continue to be machined in the future, but specific components that are
excellent candidates for MIM will be transferred to that technology," says J.
vice president of corporate affairs at Stryker. Stryker currently has no internal
Stryker's investment follows a trend
toward metal injection molding for medical parts. A new report from BCC
research predicts a 12.9 percent annual growth rate for powder molding in North America through 2014. The amount of MIM for the
medical market in North America is more than
quadruple any other region in the world.
Stryker's investment shows why MIM is one of the brightest
spots in American manufacturing.
"MIM rivals many of the mechanical properties found in
traditional machining," says Anderson.
"We believe that it is ideally suited for parts that require complex geometry
and reasonably tight tolerances."
Stryker, which is seeking tax breaks from the Portage City
Council for the new facility, is a global leader in human orthopedic implants,
often using specially developed titanium powder. Orthopedic implants were a $4 billion business for Stryker last year, representing 59 percent
of its total sales. Artificial joints are made of cobalt chromium, titanium
alloys, ceramics or ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene.
Surgical equipment, the focus of
plant, is another fast-growing business. The Portage plant had more than 1 million square
feet in 2008, making it Stryker's biggest plant by almost a factor of two. Surgical
equipment represented $2.8 billion in sales, last year, up from $2 billion in
2006. MedSurg Equipment products include surgical equipment; surgical
navigation systems; endoscopic, communications and digital imaging systems, and
patient handling and emergency medical equipment.
The top competitors to Stryker for
orthopedic reconstructive products are DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. (a
subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), Zimmer Holdings, Inc., Biomet, Inc. and
Smith & Nephew plc.
The company's manufacturing
processes consist primarily of precision machining, metal fabrication and
assembly operations; the forging and investment casting of cobalt chrome, and
the finishing of cobalt chrome and titanium.