Open doors to the market for minimally invasive devices:
A Shanghai company relies on Bumotec
Shanghai Medical Instruments (Group) Co., Ltd.
Surgical Instrument Factory, a subsidiary company of Yuwell Group
In the vast city of Shanghai, home to many international companies and fi rms which are well established on the national market, one such company has met with great success in the medical industry since 1928. Hidden away in the rather traditional environment of the suburbs of Shanghai, this prosperous business has been tireless in its pursuit of growth.
Shanghai Medical Instruments (Group) Co., Ltd. is a company in the Yuwell Group. Thanks to its four medical instrument production plants – including three finished product workshops and one workshop dedicated to forging, surface fi nishes and heat treatments – the company produces over 10 million parts, which are used in hospitals throughout China and also in some developing countries.
With a product catalogue of over 8000 items, its flagship brand JZ has won many awards including the “Shanghai Famous Trademark” and “Shanghai Famous Product” awards; JZ is the leading brand in the China Association for Surgical Instruments, which enables it to remain in constant contact with its end users and thereby plan future developments.
YAO JINHUA (Director of Third Manufacturing Department), XU JIUJUN (Chief of CNC Machinetools of Third Manufacturing Department), PENG CHENG (Office Manager)
Your company produces a vast range of products. Can you tell us what your product portfolio comprises?
Your company produces a vast range of products. Can you tell us what your product portfolio comprises? As we specialize in medical instruments, our largest market is for key instruments such as clamps, scissors and surgical knives and our market share in China for these products is approximately 50%. We also produce 400 different types of micro instruments dedicated to anastomosis, treatment of lymphatic vessels, and limb reconstruction. We also offer instruments dedicated to ENT surgery, and for orthopaedic implants. We are experts in Minimally Invasive Instrument Technology: our catalogue contains 300 types of laparoscopic clamps used in endoscopy procedures, and 400 instruments for dental surgery (orthodontics and dental implants). We also produce surgical staplers and electric tools used for surgery.
How do you develop the production of so many different products?
We work closely with the hospitals and universities, in particular with Tongji University in Shanghai, to collaborate on instrument prototypes. Our R&D team works on the entire new product design process, from the studies and validation, right up until production goes live. All this takes place in-house, thanks to our production workshops, which allow us to be more flexible and responsive. Most micro instruments are prototyped using our three machining centers from Bumotec, the third of which was delivered back in March.
After the prototyping stage, how is the production process organised?
We manufacture a huge variety of different products, but we produce these in limited volumes, of around 200 or 300 parts for each reference number. To do this, our four machining workshops in Shanghai are equipped with a moulding unit to prepare the blanks, which are then machined on our CNC centers. In contrast, our Minimally Invasive Instruments and ENT instruments, which represent some 500 references, are machined from bar stock on our Bumotec machining centers. In addition, we work with around twenty subcontractors who support our in-house production, and an independent quality control department comprising 20 engineers.
Why did you choose machines from the Bumotec range to produce your medical parts?
Our conventional processes and machines were not able to produce Minimally Invasive Instruments effectively, as the stability in production, the relative precision obtained and the multiple complex clamping procedures required for the various stages of manufacture made production slow and inefficient. With Bumotec machines, we can work from bar stock to produce complete parts, i.e. six machined faces including finishes, with a single clamping operation and in record time. This has boosted our productivity and enhanced our efficiency. Our Bumotec machines have opened the doors to the Minimally Invasive Instrument market for us, and our business has profited as a result. In fact, with the most recent machine we received – the Bumotec s181 5-axis machining center equipped with the ‘front live tools’ option – finishing operations on the sixth face are carried out concurrently, which has boosted our productivity by 20% on some parts.
Another evidence of Bumotec s181 capabilities in terms of profitability and efficiency.
Can you give us a specific example of parts you have produced using your Bumotec machining centres?
Since we received our first Bumotec s192 center in 2005, we have developed a full catalogue of micro instruments. Here, for example, we have a two-part assembly for an orthopaedic instrument produced on our second Starrag center, a Bumotec s191 installed in our third plant in 2009. These two components are produced alternately on the same machine and are assembled to form the moving part of a clamp. This naturally requires a very high level of precision to be able to assemble the two parts without needing to retouch the components separately. Previously, we would use a turning center, followed by a milling center and electrical discharge machining (EDM) to finish the parts. Now, the Bumotec s191 machining center alone is not only able to produce these two parts on the same machine from bar stock, but also to ensure such a high level of stability in precision that no retouch is required at the end of production. Two teams control the Bumotec machine, taking turns to produce these two parts in 30 minutes and 20 minutes respectively, with unrivalled precision and repeatability. You can imagine the time it used to take us to produce these same parts on three production machines using different finishes (turning, milling and EDM), taking into account the complexity of the clamping methods and the loss of production resulting from setting up these machines. To date, we have developed some 90 references of this type of part for orthopaedic instruments using our Bumotec machines. Another example which is just as interesting, and much more recent, concerns the production of an instrument for ENT surgery produced since our Bumotec s181 center arrived.This micro instrument is now produced in eight minutes instead of ten minutes, using the second machining station simultaneously.
How would you rate your three Bumotec machines installed in your plants?
I am very satisfied with our three Bumotec machining centers, that is why we have recently invested in the new s181 model. Their stability in production is extraordinary, and their ease-of-use makes training accessible even to the newest members of our team. Production changeovers are quick and easy using the recipes which are pre-set and programmed into the machine. The training provided on delivery of the machine by the experts in the Bumotec product range applications enabled us to return to production very quickly and efficiently. Thanks to the support of Starrag’s Customer Services, we have been given quick and effective solutions during maintenance procedures and when replacing wear parts.
What projects have you got in the pipeline?
We want to continue to provide our customers with varied solutions tailored to their needs by speeding up the launch process for new products. We therefore plan to further expand our portfolio, thanks to our manufacturing solutions which enable us to constantly push the boundaries and thereby consolidate the image of our brand JZ. This will enable us to reinforce our standing as a key global supplier of medical instrumentation in China and abroad.
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