Configurable Components Help Machine Builder and Rebuilder Stay Flexible

 

The TF1 blister thermoformer from Micron PharmaWorks uses Misumi components such as shafts, bearings, urethane rollers, and more.

Micron PharmaWorks Inc. (Odessa, FL), a manufacturer of new and rebuilt pharmaceutical blister packaging machinery, has found a unique way to order essential machine components. Micron PharmaWorks provides pharmaceutical thermoformers, inspection equipment, card-sealing machinery, tablet feeders for pouching, flood/track feeders, foil pinhole-detection systems, and transfer and handling systems. “We bring decades of hands-on engineering talent to our customers, who include many of the major packaging OEMs in the pharmaceutical industry,” says vice president and sales director Ben Brower. “But we realized that fact alone was no recipe for success. We needed to secure vendor relationships that would benefit us in several areas, including metric standards, low quantities of specialized components, full integration into our engineering models with downloadable 3-D files, and, as all companies need nowadays, cost containment and delivery strategies to satisfy our procurement objectives.”

Micron PharmaWorks has begun sourcing components from Misumi USA Inc. (Schaumburg, IL). What intrigued Micron PharmaWorks engineering manager Michael Ruth was Misumi’s configurable component. Through a unique and highly sophisticated CAD Configurator engine on its Web site, this company allowed the Micron PharmaWorks engineers to configure a particular shaft, bearing, or support to the exact dimension required for a machine build, in metric sizes. Once configured, a native CAD file could be downloaded directly into the assembly online to specify critical dimensions. If acceptable, the part number created could be ordered in quantities as low as one piece, with no tooling charge or minimum order requirement. Misumi’s system allows Micron PharmaWorks to archive configured components for future reuse on other machine builds, gang component purchases for immediate or staged shipment, bundle orders for quantity discounting, and use online Web ordering for paperless transactions.

As Ruth explains, “From our side, there was a substantial reduction in machine design time, using the Misumi CAD Configurator, interfaced to our own product design, design validation, and product data management software.”

Brower confirms that many of the company’s standard blister machines today use a wide variety of Misumi components. On its TF1 blister packaging thermoformer, for instance, shaft, bearings, urethane rollers, pulleys, support sections, standoffs, locating pins, rest pads, and levers and knobs are all supplied by Misumi. “Our decision to begin using Misumi was based on their metric component availability and breadth of line,” says Brower. “Configuring components to our specific needs, without any tooling costs, allowed us much greater flexibility in our designs and, at the same time, offered us easy and economical procurement upsides. Misumi continues to provide Micron PharmaWorks with good quality products and services in a build-to-specification marketplace with minimal problems.”

Purchasing manager Kyle Massey notes, “We typically realize a 50% or better reduction in our turn times. We currently use eight outside machine shops, as well as two shifts daily in our own shop, to make components and structures for our machines. Misumi has filled a niche for us on shorter runs and on the configured parts.” Reportedly, there have been no quality issues.


 

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