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The Value of Medical Manufacturing Apprenticeship Programs

As technology evolves, operator skill sets must evolve and adapt to industry changes. Often times, staying on top of the curve can be difficult.

With a rapidly changing industry, it becomes increasingly dynamic to grow and maintain a qualified workforce that succeeds in the market. In 2016, nearly half (40%) of 42,000 global employers surveyed reported talent shortages also known industry-wide as a skills gap.

Employee training apprentice

Mentoring a Manufacturing Apprentice

As a result, manufacturers are crafting in-house apprenticeship programs to help bridge the skills gap and STEM education. Between 2013 and 2017, there was a 42% growth in apprenticeships across the nation, as per the United States Department of Labor. In the 2017 fiscal year alone, over 190,000 Americans entered into apprenticeship programs.

For employers, in-house apprenticeships can create a pipeline of workers with the necessary skillsets. Each manufacturer can target the specific skills needed for their positions in the apprenticeship program and workers have time to comprehend them over the course of the program.

At the apprenticeship program’s end, a credential is given to the worker to certify their occupational ability. By this point the apprentice knows the latest tools, technologies, and analytics from a firsthand source.

Manufacturing apprenticeships provide a long-term solution to talent issues. At Hammill Medical, we have a 4-year apprenticeship program established in 1955. The apprenticeship provides a valuable opportunity to learn a trade. Our program, in affiliation with the National Tooling and Machining Association, gives participants needed work experience and simultaneously covers class credits.

We evaluate participants every 90 days. You need 5,000 hours of experience to complete the program and apply course credit. The apprenticeship is company sponsored and can get participants a two year associate’s degree, or students can opt to continue on for a four year college degree.

The Hammill Medical apprenticeship program has 25-30 people enrolled in it at any one time. As we pay for the student investment, participants join our workforce upon program completion. Today, we currently have about 200 employed.

Teaching necessary skills through our in-house apprenticeship program provide great opportunities to those looking to enter a rewarding manufacturing career. It also advances our workforce so that we can continue to manufacture top-quality orthopedic and spinal implants, implantable medical units, and surgical tools.

Contact us today to learn more. Also, keep abreast of the latest industry news by following our blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Moving Towards a Painless Back: Motion Preservation is Possible with Total Disc Replacement

Doctors and experts lay great stress on the disclaimer: There isn’t a single class or type of spinal treatment that can be considered the best for a patient.

The causes of back pain must be isolated and then treated case by case for a hyper-specialized solution.

But over the past decade or so the most frequently recommended course of action has been resorting to spinal fusion.

Spinal Fusion & Loss of Motion:

The premise of spinal fusion surgery is to eliminate contact and friction. The vertebrae of the spinal cord often rub against each other and surrounding soft tissues resulting in discomfort.

Through a spinal fusion surgery, screws, rods and even pieces of bone, or bone grafts, are used to turn two separate vertebrae into one functional, supported unit.

The upside of the procedure is the reduction of pain by eliminating disc friction.

The flip side of spinal fusion surgery is the loss of motion that results from fusing the discs.

Medical breakthroughs and alternatives have thus focused on the goal of motion preservation.

Research supports that one of the best ways to permit spinal flexibility, post procedure, is to completely replace the discs that are at the root of the problem. FDA approved, artificial discs allow that process to take place.

Hammill Medical is Proud to Manufacture PRODISC C/L:

PRODISC leaves room for hope, offering pain mitigation without stiffness and motion restrictions.

It is one of the only artificial disc variants in the US market.

Hammill Medical will be using our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility and abilities to prototype and produce the next generation of orthopedic devices to ship PRODISC units of unparalleled quality.

This engagement will aim to make motion preservation a more common option for those with disc degeneration and other chronic and acute spinal conditions.

To stay updated on how we bring PRODISC to the market, please follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

You can also contact us here.

Keeping Up with the Fast-Paced Medical Devices Industry

Manufacturing & Medical Breakthroughs

Knowledge and skills are like radioactive atoms. They decay with time. This is particularly true in the medical field as breakthroughs happen almost every day. The voracious appetite of human beings where eradication of diseases and difficulties is concerned has not and will not wane in the near future. The only course of action open to manufacturers keen on supporting this field is constant education. And that’s what Hammill Medical is all about.

A Legacy of Knowledge & Practical Information:

Knowledge isn’t limited to books. Often the best skill upgrades happen at summits, expositions and boot camps. To this effect Hammill, is all set to be a presence at some of the most prestigious medical device and orthopedic events of 2018. Commitment to quality and thought leadership isn’t easy. With that said, our team is ready to keep up with the fast-paced medical sector.

NASS Meeting 2018:

The spine implants market is rapidly growing. And is a very viable segment for us.

The North American Spine Society (NASS) provides enduring material in the form of spirited discussions and presentations which distill the latest in spine surgery, rehabilitation and support devices for quick consumption.

This year’s winter events will highlight both surgical and medical perspectives on spine care.

These events will allow us to learn about the latest technologies and capabilities for new and upcoming customer projects in the medical device industry

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) Meeting 2018:

March 6th to March 10th 2018 New Orleans, Louisiana is home to a prestigious congregation of doctors, physicians, special practitioners, medical service providers and international vendors.

The reason? Up to date, accurate medical information and programs that enlighten registrants about all aspects of medicine and medical support.

We will use this opportunity to expand our circle and also stay abreast of what’s new in the industry.

More About Hammill Medical:

Hammill Medical has a 90,000 square feet state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Toledo Ohio. We operate within manufacturing guidelines mandated by the FDA. We are ISO 13485 accredited. And most importantly, we have experience bringing new products to our buyers – on time and in budget.

We sincerely believe what we absorb at these educational events sharpens our existing abilities and equips us to embrace new capabilities.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter & LinkedIn for the latest industry updates or you can contact us here today.

2018 Predicted to Bring a Multitude of Success for the Medical Device & Implant Industries

Science has given mankind many miracles. But the most enduring and impactful of these has been the introduction and commercialization of modern medicine. It has single-handedly ended the reign of dreaded diseases, improved longevity and provided succour to those who are afflicted.

With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that the medicines, medical devices and implants industries are poised to witness consistent growth not only in 2018 but over the next 10 years.

United States is a Thriving Devices and Implants Market:

The combined value of the various players in the medical devices sector is a staggering 155 billion USD.

Implants alone account for more than 70 billion USD.

There are a few reasons why the projected expansion of this space is extremely optimistic.

–       The population in the US is aging fast. Some of the Baby Boomers – the largest segment of the American population before the Millennials arrived on the scene have already touched the 70 years mark. It is estimated that more than 24% of US citizens will be 65 or older soon. The common maladies of age and bone degradation turn the elderly into busy consumers of medical services, devices, and therapy.

–       The increasingly sedentary lifestyle of generation Y is preparing the stage for spine issues and organ degeneration in the relatively young workforce as well. Both are managed through surgical interventions and the introduction of implantable support systems.

–       Insurance availability has peaked in the past few years. Even if the freedom to visit the doctor is curtailed because of reforms presented by the administration, there will still be people who can now afford medical devices and assistance, and they will opt for them to improve their lives further fuelling growth.

Hammill Medical is Ready to Play its Part

Market research puts orthopedic implants as a leader in the medical devices category. Hammill Medical is an ISO 13485 accredited and FDA registered manufacturer of medical devices specializing in orthopedic and spinal implants.

With the ability to see production through from original concept to high-quality finished item at our 90,000-sq. ft. state of the art facility, our name has inspired trust and embodied innovation for well over half a century.

We are the perfect partner for businesses looking to capitalize on the trend of implantable medical devices. For more information contact us today.

You can also follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

 

2017’s Medical Device Industry Review

2017 has been filled with constructive internal effort and focus at Hammill Medical. Our team interacted consistently with our customers, leading doctors and other industry experts to positively impact our external audience base at large. These continuous initiatives make our team one of the most credible resources and leaders within the medical device manufacturing field. We challenge ourselves to meet or exceed medical standards like FDA requirements for contract manufacturing of implantable medical devices and surgical instruments.  As a result, our manufacturing capabilities consistently evolve to allow us to offer some of the most complex implants on the market. Plus extending our knowledge on fitness, exercise, and other health-related factors keeps our standing top within the sector.

Because of the complex manufacturing occurring at Hammill Medical, we must maintain more stringent operating procedures than other manufacturing companies. The quality standards we uphold are designed to ensure consistent manufacturing results as well as to exceed standards designated by industry and federal regulations.  Hammill maintains accreditations for medical device companies as set forth by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and as required by ISO 13485. Meeting the requirements of these organizations is consistent with our commitment to optimal manufacturing process performance. The basics of the regulations and standards can be found in our February 2017 post.

As a qualified resource, we’re happy to share (and urge you to spread) the best exercises you can do for your body. The big focuses here are spine and back. You might be surprised to learn that all exercises are not created equally, and some of your favorite workouts can actually be more of a risk to your back and spine. The best exercise options will promote spinal health and stability setting you up for possible injury prevention down the road. Options like Pilates, yoga, and swimming help teach your body to move and support your spine during everyday activities. We recommend extreme caution with traditional sit-ups and overhead lifts as they can put too much pressure on the neck, spine, and lower back. Should you ever seek a spinal implant, we’ve got you covered.

Our most recent spotlight is an update on the advances in medical technology, specifically the benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery or MIS. As more procedures become less invasive, the patient outcome and recovery improve. As proven through prior surgeries, MIS means smaller incisions, reducing blood loss and trauma to the patient, smaller scars from such incisions, decrease infection rates, and shorten hospital stays. Many MIS surgeries can be performed as outpatient surgeries and/or require less than a 24-hour hospital stay. As the progression of technology within the medical industry advances, it looks like this surgery option is taking a front seat over older methods.

To stay abreast of industry updates, leading technology, and the best resource for orthopedic implants, spinal implants, surgical instruments, and other implantable medical devices for Complex Spine, Orthopedic Total Joint Replacement and Minimally Invasive Surgery applications, we invite you to follow our blog, add us on Twitter, connect with us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

To learn more about how we can help you and your business, simply contact us today.

We’d like to take a moment to recognize and thank our audience and customer base for adding to our internal success on an annual basis. Your needs are what help us develop the prototypes and product development to advance the medical device manufacturing industry year after year.

We wish you all a very happy holiday season and a healthy and happy new year!

We look forward to connecting come 2018!

 

Medical Advances in Technology: The Benefits of Minimally Invasive Surgery

Over the past several years there have been many technological changes occurring within the medical and medical device industries. One in particular to note is the dramatic increase in Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS). As more procedures become less invasive, the better the outcome is for patients.

In traditional surgeries, recovery time can be anywhere from six to eight weeks — a long time for someone to be out of commission. With MIS, six to eight weeks drops down to around a two-week timeline.

Other benefits include reduced rate of infections, smaller incisions (which means less blood loss and less trauma to the patient), smaller scars from the incision which typically take only one or two stitches to close, and shortened hospital duration. Many MIS surgeries can be performed as outpatient surgeries or require less than a 24 hour hospital stay. As progression of technology within the medical industry advances, it looks like this surgery option is taking a front seat over older methods.

At Hammill Medical, we manufacture a wide range of MIS products, including MIS screws for spinal fusion surgery. MIS screws are just one example of the many manufacturing capabilities we have in-house. Our competencies include up to 13-axis Swiss-type CNC turning, 6-axis CNC mill and turn capability, 50,000 RPM machining, Laser Welding, media blasting, assembly, including bar code lot control traceability, high-energy tumbling, and laser identification.

We also offer CNC profile grinding, robotic finishing cells, 5-axis machining, 5-axis mill and turn, CNC turning, validated cleaning and passivation, and in-house tooling, fixture and gage manufacturing for a wide variety of products. We work from concept to design and all the way through the manufacturing process for high-quality products at an affordable price.

In addition to our cost-effective services, we believe in superior customer service and interaction. We strive to exceed the goals and expectations of all of our customers.

For more about Hammill Medical and industry updates, we invite you to read our blog, follow us on Twitter, connect with us on LinkedIn, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.

To learn more about how we can help your business, contact us today.

National Manufacturing Day and Hammill Medical Help Bridge the Skills Gap

The annual National Manufacturing Day on Friday, October 6th was created to emphasize the importance of manufacturing across the U.S. On the official website businesses can list what events are taking place at their location. Interested parties can find out what is going on nearby. Across the industry, professionals hope that a day dedicated to modern-day manufacturing will inspire a new generation to consider the field as a gratifying career option. Today, there are currently over 2,000+ events planned across the U.S., and that number is predicted to grow through the start of October.

The initiative to mend the skills gap is a driving force that brings awareness to both the National Manufacturing Day and the industry at large. With baby boomers reaching retirement age there aren’t enough millennials pursuing the field to fill such vacancies. Options to chip away at closing the gap include STEM education, training tools, and apprenticeship programs.

At Hammill, we offer a four-year formal apprenticeship program with both state and national accreditation. This kind of training tackles an internal skills gap while teaching participants necessary abilities for future involvement within both Hammill Medical and the industry at large. Creating a classroom and floor experience approach allows applicants to start their careers upon graduation. The program offers the equivalent of a two-year college and a full Journeyman machinist certification.

It’s estimated there will be a shortage of over two million manufacturing workers by the year 2025. One of the key components to overcoming this shortage is to educate the public about what manufacturing is today. Our industry is no longer the same floor shop it once was. It’s time to say goodbye to the notions that it is still your “granddad’s factory.” Today, manufacturing stands for education and execution of the latest industry technology, a secure future, and a stronger U.S. and global economy. With proper training, mentorship, and diversity, we believe manufacturing can recruit and retain high-quality skilled workers needed to keep the industry thriving beyond this time of adversity.

As a manufacturer of orthopedic and spinal implants, surgical instruments, and implantable medical devices, we know how valuable skilled employees are to our industry. To learn more about medical manufacturing, mending the skill gap, and more industry-related issues, read our blog, follow us on Twitter, connect with us on LinkedIn, subscribe to our YouTube channel, or contact us at any time. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Succeed with Us as Your Contract Manufacturer

Why Use Hammill as Your Contract Manufacturer?

There are several benefits in utilizing Hammill as a Contract Manufacturer including our state-of-the art manufacturing capability, remarkable flexibility, utmost attention to detail and our ISO and FDA compliant Quality System. We are committed to working with our customers from initial concept, through the design and manufacturing process. All of which serve to meet our valued customers’ needs and expectations of high-quality products at an affordable cost. We strive to ensure our manufacturing operation is supported, not just by a team of talented professionals but also by the latest in cutting-edge technology.

Additionally, we enjoy unmatched access to multiple markets spanning the globe and a fantastic scalability in serving partners from smaller start-ups all the way up to multinational corporations. The Hammill team has comprehensive knowledge and experience in working with the latest manufacturing technologies. We also ensure there are contingency plans in place to allow for uninterrupted delivery of promised product flow.

Specializing as a Contract Manufacturer

At Hammill, we are leaders in the manufacturing of orthopedic and spinal implants, surgical instruments, and implantable medical devices. We work from concept to finished product, offering our services at prices that might surprise you. As a contract manufacturer, our specialty is working closely with our partner firms to develop validated manufacturing solutions that consistently deliver a myriad of quality medical product and services on time and on budget. In addition to CNC machining and Swiss Turning, we also offer Finished Device Assembly, Laser Welding, Color Anodizing, Media Blasting, as well as Laser Marking and Validated Cleaning & Passivation – all in-house and fully validated.

A Family Owned and Operated Firm

Established back in 1955, Hammill Medical is proudly a family owned and operated firm. With over 175 employees and a location that features a 90,000-sq. ft. state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. You can find our company located in Maumee, Ohio, just outside of Toledo.  Fully registered with the FDA (#1530390) as a manufacturer of medical devices, we meet and exceed the good manufacturing practices guidelines it mandates.  We are ISO 13485 accredited as well. We are also proud to offer a 4-year formal apprenticeship program, with both state and national accreditation, helping to introduce new talent into America’s manufacturing ranks.

Bringing New Products to Market

We at Hammill are dedicated to bringing new products to market on time and on budget with our specialized in-house tooling, gage design, team manufacturing methodology and focus on quality control. Discover more about Hammill Medical by calling (419) 476-0789 or emailing us at info@hammillmedical.com. Be sure to keep up with our latest news by reading our blog, following us on Twitter, and connecting on LinkedIn.

We look forward to working with you on your next project.

The Benefits of Swimming: A Full Body Exercise

When it comes to staying in shape swimming is one of the top exercises you can do to best serve your entire body. The movements work out your whole figure with little impact on the joints or spine. During off-summer seasons, you can easily find an indoor pool to keep up a swimming routine throughout the colder months. Organizations work to make swimming programs less expensive because they understand the benefits. Swimming is great exercise for young and old alike, and in addition to getting a good workout, it can be a lot of fun.

In any body of water, the resistance is 12 times higher than in air, meaning you’re developing muscle tone in all the main parts of your body. Your arms, legs, back, and core muscles all get a great workout while swimming. While improving muscle tone, the body is also building up bone mass, which begins to decline as you age.

Cardiovascular health is also improved with swimming, as is flexibility. Inflammation is reduced which can help to prevent atherosclerosis, a thickening of the arterial wall. Although the entire body benefits from working out, the spine, bones, and shoulders greatly benefit from it in various ways as a general fitness routine.

Beyond muscle, bone mass, and cardiovascular health, swimming can help to reduce back and neck pain from issues such as pinched nerves, herniated discs, and bone spurs. While the muscles in the body get stronger from swimming, they help to better support the spinal column and neck. This helps to prevent pain in those areas.

Another added bonus–swimming is great for mental health. Doing repetitive laps can be extremely relaxing, even when your body is working hard. Many people find the water calming and, as they work out the stress of the day, it can literally seem to disappear. The body releases endorphins (naturally occurring hormones) during exercise, that when released block pain and increase a feeling of pleasure. Endorphins are often referred to as a natural high. This may also be a reason swimming helps to lower depression.

Here at Hammill Medical, we understand the many benefits of swimming and believe that working out can lead to a healthier lifestyle overall. For over 60 years we have been a leading manufacturer of orthopedic and spinal implants, surgical instruments, and implantable medical devices, and we understand that a high quality of life translates to a happy life.

We work from concept through design and into the manufacturing process to ensure high-quality products at an affordable price. We offer orthopedic implants, spinal implants, surgical instruments, prototype manufacturing and product development. We invite you to learn more by reading our blog, following us on Twitter, and connecting with us on LinkedIn to stay up to date. Further questions? We can help. Contact us today.

Sterilization in the Medical Industry

As an industry-leading, family-owned and operated manufacturer of orthopedic and spinal implants, surgical instruments, and implantable medical devices, Hammill Medical is deeply committed to our customers; part of this commitment is the promise to keep all clients and end users safe.

At Hammill, we understand the importance of sterilization for optimal safety in the medical field — especially in surgical instruments and implantable devices that have direct contact with the human body. But within the medical community and many others, there’s no clear-cut answer regarding which sterilization method is best; this will depend on your specific product and packaging materials.

Ethylene oxide gas and gamma sterilization are the two most common forms of sterilization. A rigorous chemical method, ethylene oxide gas treatment penetrates all porous materials and kills every known microorganism. Gamma radiation, meanwhile, makes use of a highly penetrative radioisotope emission and is often used to sterilize the surfaces of disposable medical equipment.

Once the product itself is sterilized, it’s important to make sure the packaging will preserve that sterility by protecting against damage, contamination, moisture, toxins, and the growth of microorganisms. Two of the most common packages for medical devices are pouches and trays, the latter of which have a longer lead-time due to the custom equipment required to make them.

Sealed packages must undergo packaging validation and sterilization validation to increase the shelf life of the product. Though this can be time-consuming, proper medical package design is critical, as it ensures safe and proper functionality for the customer.

While many companies use a two-part process to complete manufacturing and packaging, Hammill is proud to be a one-stop shop, supplying both sterile instruments and the sterile packaging needed for shipping. From beginning concept through manufacturing and final delivery, we ensure our customers receive high-quality products quickly and efficiently — at an affordable price.

If you’d like to learn more about the sterilization processes we use here at Hammill or are interested in discussing a future project, contact us today and one of our staff members will be in touch. And, as always, don’t forget to connect with us by following our blog, Twitter, and LinkedIn, where we’ll help you stay up to date with the latest news in this ever-changing industry.