Stryker Will Build a Metal Molding Plant

DN Staff

August 6, 2009

2 Min Read
Stryker Will Build a Metal Molding Plant

Stryker Corp., a major medical supplier, plans to invest $5million in a new metal injection molding (MIM) plant in Portage, MIin anticipation of rising demand.

With the new Injection Molding Center,Strykerwill establish a new core competency within its integrated manufacturing departmentthat will include vertical integration of metal injection molding technology.

"The majority of components that are currently machined willcontinue to be machined in the future, but specific components that areexcellent candidates for MIM will be transferred to that technology," says J.Patrick Anderson,

vice president of corporate affairs at Stryker. Stryker currently has no internalMIM capability.

Stryker's investment follows a trendtoward metal injection molding for medical parts. A new report from BCCresearch predicts a 12.9 percent annual growth rate for powder molding in North America through 2014. The amount of MIM for themedical market in North America is more thanquadruple any other region in the world.

Stryker's investment shows why MIM is one of the brightestspots in American manufacturing.

"MIM rivals many of the mechanical properties found intraditional machining," says Anderson."We believe that it is ideally suited for parts that require complex geometryand reasonably tight tolerances."

Stryker, which is seeking tax breaks from the Portage CityCouncil 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 percentof its total sales. Artificial joints are made of cobalt chromium, titaniumalloys, ceramics or ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene.

Surgical equipment, the focus ofthe Portageplant, is another fast-growing business. The Portage plant had more than 1 million squarefeet in 2008, making it Stryker's biggest plant by almost a factor of two. Surgicalequipment represented $2.8 billion in sales, last year, up from $2 billion in2006. MedSurg Equipment products include surgical equipment; surgicalnavigation systems; endoscopic, communications and digital imaging systems, andpatient handling and emergency medical equipment.

The top competitors to Stryker fororthopedic reconstructive products are DePuy Orthopaedics, Inc. (asubsidiary of Johnson & Johnson), Zimmer Holdings, Inc., Biomet, Inc. andSmith & Nephew plc.

The company's manufacturingprocesses consist primarily of precision machining, metal fabrication andassembly operations; the forging and investment casting of cobalt chrome, andthe finishing of cobalt chrome and titanium.

Metal jaws for laparoscopic instruments are often made with molded metal powder.

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