Tag Archives: manufacturing technology

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.

High Tech Welding Capabilities for High Tech Medical Devices

Complex assemblies involve structural laser welds. Hammill Medical handles the entire process from component manufacturing through assembly and then laser weld culminating in the final inspection and proper function verification process and then cleaning and passivating the assembly prior to shipment to the customer.

What is Laser Welding?

Welding is a common technique used to join two pieces of metal together. Our laser welding uses a laser beam as the heat source to melt and fuse the metal without the fillers that are required in other welding processes. The high-heat of the laser beam is concentrated, resulting in smaller heat-affected zones that ultimately enable precise and high-quality welds. Lasers can weld at different depth penetrations forming surface welds, or deep welds, and are especially effective on tough-to-weld materials such as titanium.

How Hammill Uses Laser Welding Technologies

Laser welding is a key technology for manufacturing many of our complex implantable devices produce. The ability to weld without introducing a filler material is extremely important for medical implant components. By melting the components together there is a tighter joint and less risk of failure or rejection. For example, the pedicle screws we produce are made up of multiple parts. the upper cap (or upper tulip) and the lower cap (or lower tulip), are welded together to form one piece. The saddle is encapsulated in between them. Utilizing a Trumpf TruLaser cell the welding process is automated to ensure precision welds on each assembly.

The Importance of Laser Welding to the Hammill’s Implants

Advanced spinal surgery is successful with high-quality components. The importance of this technology enables successful repair of such conditions as scoliosis, disk degeneration, and spinal fusion with few problems for the patient or surgeon.

A great example of a laser welded component used during surgical repair is a case in which a diseased disk is removed and a titanium device is inserted in its place. The corpectomy cage has an adjustment capability and acts as a jack to properly align the spine. In 6-8 weeks fusion of bone, biologics, and allographs occur and the titanium device remains as part of the fused vertebral repair.

In another instance, the aforementioned pedicle screws are widely used throughout spine surgeries and are extremely important to the system. Rods are often used to realign the spine and pedicle screws are required to hold the rods in place. Surgeons could use up to ten pedicle screws per procedure. Implants and components manufactured by laser welding capabilities have the strength and durability to meet the requirements of demanding medical applications. When complex assemblies are made up of multiple parts, laser welding provides the best outcome.

To see Hammill’s laser welding capabilities, click here. Visit our website to learn about Hammill’s complete line of medical implants and capabilities today.