are not going to be found at a local hardware store or from an
electronics supplier dealing in standard parts.
Where they will be found is from electrical parts suppliers
who can add value to their components for specific medical device projects. Device makers need a partner that can tailor a part
to perform in the way their finished device requires. For this
reason, many OEMs won’t take a second glance at a firm that
doesn’t deal in custom options. Further, electronic component
suppliers are now expected to act less like sellers, and more like
partners—not only providing the hardware, but also the expertise and project support.
“With customers having limited engineering manpower, we
have been able to act like an extension of our customer’s engi-
neering team,” noted Colin Rademacher, area sales manager,
microfluidics for Charlotte, N.C.-based Bürkert Fluid Control
Systems, a manufacturer of measurement and control systems
for liquids and gases for the medical device industry. “More than
ever, our customers are asking us to leverage our knowledge over
multiple fields (mechanical, electronic, and software engineering)
to engineer and manufacture complex fluidic modules and sub-
assemblies. Our customers are relying on us to provide value-add
solutions that allow them to beat their competitors to market and
grab market share.”
Firms providing custom options can also help to shorten an
OEM’s supply chain. Rather than sourcing from multiple parts
suppliers to collect the right mix of electronics—which forces
device makers to maintain several relationships, each of which
have separate requirements and their own set of nuances—one
supplier can ideally provide the necessary resources.
“It is very important to provide value-added options, and as
a manufacturer, there is a benefit to having core competency in
more than one area,” stated Steven Lassen, products and applica-
tions manager for LEMO USA Inc., a Rohnert Park, Calif.-based
designer and manufacturer of precision custom connection and
cable solutions. “The more you can consolidate the supply chain,
the more cohesive your end product will be. The customer may
also require reduction in manufacturing steps.”
Culling the supply chain by partnering with a manufacturer
well-versed in custom electronic parts also keeps the finished
device’s quality requirements in check. Multiple sources means
multiple sets of quality management systems, which can be, at
best, a headache for OEMs, and at worst, a roadblock that adds
costly time to the product development cycle.
“Quality requirements in the medical industry are very high,”
said Carsten Horn, business development engineer, medical, for
maxon precision motors, a Fall River, Mass.-based provider of
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