Michael Ulanowicz joins the team as Regional Director of Business Development, USA.
As part of our continued investment in people and customer service systems, I am pleased to announce that Michael Ulanowicz has now joined our team as Regional Director of Business Development (USA), for MedPlast UK.
This new appointment is a sure sign of our commitment to giving our existing customers more, but will also allow us to develop valued global relationships with new businesses and organisations.
Michael will be managing one or more of our strategic healthcare contracts, and challenged with developing lasting partnerships with potential and existing Orthoplastics customers. He will also be responsible for planning, directing and coordinating programs, involving direct contact and negotiations with many of our key accounts.
As and when necessary, Michael will provide engineering support to help promote and grow wider business development opportunities.
With over 26 years experience in plastic manufacturing processes, Michael is well respected across our industry assisting customers on product realization. This has included materials, design for manufacturing and cost reduction. He has specific insight of working with purchasing, quality and engineering departments in numerous orthopedic, dental and cardiovascular companies.
Michael will report directly to Mark Allen, Managing Director of Orthoplastics. “I’m delighted Michael is now part of our valued team, and I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing him every success.”
Orthoplastics continue to embrace the need for investment, in research and development, to keep in touch with customer demands, patient expectations, and technology advances in the orthopaedic industry.
Product innovation fuels our future
Product innovation is at the heart of our business and we are constantly looking for ways of improving and extending our manufacturing capabilities, using the technology available.
In 2016, we increased our Direct Compression Moulding (DCM) cell by over 300%, from 9 machines to 28. This has considerably improved our capacity, as the market welcomes this exciting manufacturing technology.
Advances in 3D titanium printing
Through innovation, 3D titanium printing technology has allowed device manufacturers to enhance product design and provide greater device stability.
3D titanium printing, also known as direct metal laser sintering, is an additive metal fabrication process that was first developed in Germany but now widely used throughout the medical device sector.
Benefits for us, benefits for our customers
3D porous metals offer a unique solution to loosening at materials interface which can occur with traditional designs. The innovative DCM processing technology yields a composite structural bond between the polyethylene insert/metal and in-turn leaves a porous metal surface to allow bone in-growth.
The technological developments within the DCM process allow the moulding of most device designs in net-shape or near net shape forms.
“We work in an exciting industry, and recognise the need to develop technology advances to ensure we continue to delight our customers and provide a broad range of technical services, and precision machining capability. We are confident in our ability to take on projects of various sizes and complexity, while still maintaining a cost-effective and efficient service to our customers. With more investment planned in 2017, the future is looking bright." says Mark Allen, Managing Director, Orthoplastics.
Want to know more about our machining capabilities and technology investment? Give us a call.
Orthoplastics is anticipating an audit following revisions made to the ISO 14001 Environmental Management Standard. We have been working hard to put in place the modifications required by the updated Standard and feel confident of demonstrating compliance when the audit team pays us a visit later in the year.
What is ISO 14001:2015?
(The 2004 Standard was replaced by the new amended version on 15 September, 2015.)
ISO 14001 is the international standard for environmental management systems (EMS) and the most widely used EMS in the world.
Orthoplastics continues to invest in robust and traceable quality accreditation systems like ISO 14001 so that it can meet the growing expectations and needs of its customers and partners. This ensures that all those that we work with have the confidence in the products and testing facilities that we provide.
Rebecca Field, Compliance and Regulatory Leader, said: “While we are still registered to ISO 14001: 2004, we have adapted our existing procedures to meet the requirements of the 2015 amendment.”
She goes on: “Thanks to a new common structure, the new Standard has a higher level of compatibility with other management standards that we have an interest in, including ISO 9001:2015.”
What has changed?
There are a number of differences between the 2004 and 2015 versions of ISO 14001. In addition to changes in key definitions, there are also several new requirements.
The changes introduced are designed to challenge organisations to implement a more effective management system, capable of achieving better results in environmental performance.
The key change really is that ISO 14001:2015 has much more business management terms and concepts in it. Orthoplastics believe that this will help it to integrate the requirements into its overall business processes, rather than being stand-alone. This is a huge benefit that helps to improve our internal efficiencies, output and response to environmental issues.
Rebecca said: “Orthoplastics is committed to doing its part in conserving and maintaining the environment by adopting responsible systems and processes that meet the new 2015 requirements. We do this because it’s not only important to us, but to our customers.”
Interested in our quality and environmental certifications? Give Rebecca Field our Compliance and Regulatory Leader a call.
Congratulations to Luke Dabbs
We are committed to producing future leaders and know that the continued success of our business depends on employing the right kind of people, with the right mindset and skills.
Medical Engineering Degree
We are pleased to announce that Luke Dabbs, our Laboratory Technician, has achieved a Masters Degree (MSc) with merits in Medical Engineering, from the University of Leeds.
Luke has been involved with routine batch testing and various research and development projects for Orthoplastics over the past 3 years, and hopes that the knowledge he has gained through completion of his Masters Degree, will enhance his understanding of design concepts and modern machining processes and technology in the implant industry.
Tandy Kehoe, our HR Manager said: “It’s always a pleasure to announce staff achievements. We are very proud of Luke’s recent academic success in securing a Masters Degree in Medical Engineering(MSc) and look forward to his continued contribution to the future growth and success of our business.”
Orthoplastics believe that every business has a responsibility to ensure they maintain the highest possible standards of health and safety management at all times. That’s why we’re exceptionally pleased to confirm that we scored highly in a recent safety audit to OHSAS 18001.
OHSAS 18001 is the International Occupational Health and Safety Management Standard. It provides a framework for the effective management of OH&S, including all aspects of risk management and legal compliance. The Standard addresses occupational health and safety, rather than specific product safety matters.
Our Compliance and Regulatory Leader , Rebecca Field, said: “There are over 90,000 OHSAS 18001 certified organisations across 127 different countries. While we are just one of those, it underpins our belief that all successful and responsible businesses need to adopt best practices when managing the safety of the people that work for them.”
Rebecca added: “In our recent audit, we achieved a pass rate of 80% (to OHSAS 18001) which we are justifiably proud of.”
What benefits has this brought to Orthoplastics?
Apart from our obvious ability to identify hazards and implement preventative controls, it has improved our productivity and general in-house safety culture, it has assisted with pre-qualification processes for our customers, and it has challenged us to be looking for new and better ways of addressing health and safety issues throughout our business.
Our certification to OHSAS 18001 effectively means that we have a clear management structure with defined authority and responsibilities in place, defined objectives for improvement with measurable results, and a structured approach to risk assessment.
“The fact that an independent auditor has visited our site, and thoroughly checked all of our processes and safety management procedures, is a clear indicator to the people that we employ, supply and work with, that we uphold the most stringent and traceable systems possible. It’s also a sign of how important health and safety systems are to our business as a whole.”
Want to know more about our health and safety management certifications and commitment? Give us a call.
A change in ownership for Orthoplastics
It gives us great pleasure to announce that as of January 2017, Orthoplastics (Medplast Group) has been acquired by Water Street Healthcare Partners and JLL Partners.
Both Water Street and JLL are highly respected investment firms with specialist expertise of the healthcare industry. Each business has many years of medical device experience and has committed significant resources to invest in the Company’s future.
Business as usual
While the new ownership will not affect the day to day running or operations of Orthoplastics, it will mean that we have the necessary finance, expertise and advice in place to guide us into the future and ensure that we continue to keep abreast of market demands, technology advances and legalities in the field of orthopaedic UHMWPE innovation.
It’s still the same Orthoplastics
Chris Turner, Quality Manager, said: “Nothing has changed in terms of what we do, or how we do it. It is very much business as usual for us.”
He goes on: “It’s important at this time, that we reassure all of our existing contacts and customers so that they understand there will be no changes to our management structure. Likewise, we will continue to supply the same products and quality services associated with our name, on which we have built our industry reputation and standing.”
So as 2017 starts it seems that, while the ownership of Orthoplastics has changed, its future success and growth in the orthopaedic UHMWPE industry, is even more secure.
Orthoplastics, the recognised global leader in UHMWPE machining and manufacturing for the medical industry, has recently launched a series of short films to connect with its European audience.
Now in French and German
Available in English for some time, the new videos are now viewable in both French and German and deal with Orthoplastics’ component machining capabilities.
The films are part of our European outreach programme and designed to reinforce our status as a global leader in the supply and manufacture of implantable grade plastics.
Keeping pace with viewing habits
“We understand that people are now preferring to view video content over the internet. Very often this might be on a mobile device and/or their PC/laptop. This trend has matured in recent years and caused Orthoplastics to consider how best to connect with potential customers across the globe. By commissioning these latest German and French films, we hope to grow the market’s perception and understanding of our broad component machining capabilities, in their preferred language.”
Bernadette Dabbs – Sales & Marketing Manager
Unique machining capabilities
The medical industry is highly complex and tightly regulated making it difficult and costly to take new products to market. As a world leader in implantable component machining, Orthoplastics has the in-house expertise to help customers navigate their way through a maze of production, compliance and accreditation issues.
“We are a robust business that has helped to produce and take to market premium orthopaedic components that have transformed many lives. Our wide-ranging, component machining capabilities are featured in our latest online films and will give a much wider audience an opportunity to understand our specialist expertise.”
Watch this space
Given the early success of the new French and German films, Orthoplastics plans to release other content in different languages in the foreseeable future.
Orthoplastics is a Medplast company – science making a material difference.
As a world-class leader in the development, supply and manufacture of the highest grade, UHMWPE implantable plastics, we think it’s exceptionally important to push the traditional design limits for orthopaedic components.
Orthoplastics’ investment in Direct Compression Moulding has created exciting opportunities for producing innovative, superior performance products
Direct Compression Moulding
Whilst Direct Compression Moulding has been around since the 1990s, the latest generation of metal 3D printing technology has created new potential for product design. Using Direct Compression Moulding to sinter polymers, Orthoplastics can create products with a high gloss finish, which cannot currently be produced….pushing the design envelope for orthopaedic components.
Investment and innovation are vital
Our investment in Direct Compression Moulding means we now have a unique over moulding capability that produces Mono block components with a high gloss, moulded surface. Given each component is individually moulded, we can control all aspects of pressure, temperature and time, during critical consolidation. This ensures that the finished product’s gloss finish and tolerances are far superior in comparison to machined UHMWPE components.
“It’s important to our business to be at the forefront of developing these specialist parts of our organisation so that we can respond to growing customer and industry expectations. With Direct Compression Moulding, each orthopaedic implant is moulded individually. This allows us to produce a component with a highly polished surface, by removing machining surface definition present on the articulated surface of conventionally machined products. It’s a real breakthrough.”
Mark Allen – Managing Director
This alternative way of producing implant components is being heralded as an important development. It further underlines Orthoplastics’ global commitment to maintaining and setting new standards for high-grade UHMWPE components.
New online presence
Read about our Direct Compression Moulding capabilities on our new dedicated website at www.directcompressionmoulding.com
This explains the capability we now have and about our wider research and development, laboratory and testing services.
Orthoplastics is a Medplast company – science making a material difference.
Implant engineering techniques and manufacturing processes have been through many stages of development over the years.
Neil Anderton, Technical Manager at Orthoplastics, is at the forefront of introducing the market to the latest technologies and advanced, additive manufacturing processes. These are designed to push the boundaries of what is possible in terms of developing high-quality, patient-specific implant solutions.
“Far too many businesses still don’t recognise the incredible potential that additive manufacturing and 3D printing hold”, said Neil. “There is definitely comfort in using more traditional equipment such as CNC technology. Whilst there have been some breakthroughs in CNC tooling and machine software capabilities, this has been limited.”
Neil believes that CNC machines combined with other equipment, such as lasers for cutting, welding or etching, are the way forward. For example, five-axis machining centres can use data from medical scans to create a broader range of patient-specific implant components, especially for skeletal requirements such as the bone, jaw or skull.
A patient-specific approach
To meet challenging OEM requests for patient-specific implant components, Orthoplastics has created a New Products Innovation Group to explore different sciences, control technologies and manufacturing techniques.
In addition to developing custom devices, there are unique composite device constructions that pose real challenges in respect of component fixation and the need for production controls to an exceptionally high tolerance. “We have invested in innovative fixation techniques and specification-controlled environments within our plant, to respond to customer requirements.”
Neil goes on: “Although industry experts generally believe that additive manufacturing will be the death of traditional machining”, I don’t agree.”
Working alongside a leading implant manufacturer, Othoplastics has used net shape and additive manufacturing to produce a manufactured component with tolerances of 0.01 inches, and machined the final tolerances of 0.001 inches required. This involved sophisticated work holdings and machine probing, along with conventional multi-axis machining.
“All of this clearly demonstrates what innovative approaches can achieve in the OEM market”, said Neil.
“Orthoplastics remains committed to this development work and to spearheading different approaches and cutting-edge advancements in processing technologies.”
To read the ODT publication article in full please click here.
Without proper testing, validation and certification, new orthopaedic implant products cannot succeed.
Given advancements in technology and increasing regulatory requirements, the need for professional testing, quality management and control during each stage of the production process, has never been more important.
It is widely accepted that compliance, accreditation and associated timelines can be long and expensive when introducing new or improved products. That’s why it’s important to work with a global partner like Orthoplastics that has the appropriate expertise, knowledge and in-house laboratory test facilities. By working with an experienced business, development time (and costs) will be reduced and products will reach the market much quicker.
Investment in technology is key
Orthoplastics is a respected, global expert in the development, production and supply of both implantable grade plastics and biocompatible plastics products for wide-ranging instrument applications. We aim to produce the highest quality, premium grade UHMWPE and work closely with all of our partners to produce new and innovative implant technologies.
Over the years, Orthoplastics has invested time, resources and finance into developing its knowledge of medical plastics, hi-tec manufacturing techniques, test standards and accreditation requirements.
“We have our own fully equipped, laboratory. This is a thriving hub for research and product innovation, ongoing testing and accreditation work. We aim to ensure that each product we manufacture meets the full application, specification and rigorous technical demands required. We believe we provide industry-leading services that are designed and built to support new product developments for our customers.” Neil Anderton – Component Cell Manager
UKAS accredited laboratory
Orthoplastics’ laboratory is UKAS accredited and the majority of projects are carried out in accordance to ISO17025.
Our research and development laboratory has vast experience of testing materials and products manufactured from Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE), Polyether ether ketone (PEEK) and other polymers, primarily within the medical device sector.
Orthoplastics is a Medplast company – science making a material difference.
Orthoplastics attends the global Orthopaedics AAOS and ORS 2016 meetings in Orlando, Florida
(These meetings are a pivotal launch platform for major OEM’s worldwide).
This year we have seen the further growth of UHMWPE material containing protective antioxidant Vitamin E. As the exposed clinical history for these materials is observed, we continue to secure additional patient benefits, including improved long-term performance.
A huge variety of new porous metal products were exhibited at the show. With advancing 3D printing technology, OEM’s introduction of this and the Monoblock component, are key. We have been instrumental in the design and development of OEM’s worldwide. This novel over-moulding technique, combining UHMWPE with a porous metal, removes the need for complex interlocking features within a design.
Orthoplastics has over 30 years’ experience of providing orthopaedic services. We are a recognised expert in CNC machining and offer the following services:
Complex CNC Machining
Full Scale Outsourcing.
Our team of skilled technicians use the latest laboratory equipment to provide a range of testing services. These tasks, which are seen by some as complex, demonstrate our proven technical abilities. Our capability in the manufacturing of moulded products, gives us a competitive edge. Reducing product development costs is at the heart of our business, and our teams are currently working together to achieve this goal.
Successfully engaging customers in today’s world requires a Company-wide commitment and recognition that, to stay ahead, a business needs to be constantly reinventing itself.
Orthoplastics, the recognised global leader in UHMWPE machining and manufacturing, with over 30 years’ industry experience to its credit, has recently launched a brand new, browser responsive website for optimal viewing.
“Given the nature of our business and the unique requirements of the medical industry, we have to be continually investing in our machining, testing and development facilities. It’s right, therefore, that our online presence keeps pace with this.
Our new website gives the global market an opportunity to understand our strengths and abilities in the areas of UHMPWE plastics, direct compression moulding, laboratory/test services and component machining. We’re very excited about the launch and see it as a significant step in our development as a business.” Bernadette Dabbs – Sales & Marketing Manager
Complete solutions for orthopaedic components
Over the past 30 years, Orthoplastics has become a leader in the global orthopaedic implant industry.
Our business supplies and manufactures premium-grade UHMWPE to leading orthopaedic device manufacturers and is a first choice for a range of modern implants/devices.
Read more here
Direct Compression Moulding
A new generation of metal 3D printing technology has created opportunities for innovative product design. We can now produce Mono block components that have a high gloss, moulded surface. Given the nature of production, we have finite control over the final surface finish and tolerances.
Read more here
Our world-class technicians, well-equipped laboratory and extensive testing and research/development facilities, ensure that new products meet required application, specification and technical demands of the industry.
Read more here
By choice, our machining capabilities relate to plastics, both implant grade and instrument. We have an impressive portfolio of high-end CNC machines and lathes that can meet any manufacturing requirement.
Read more here
Orthoplastics is a Medplast company – science making a material difference.
Taking new orthopaedic products to market can be a difficult and costly process. The medical industry is tightly regulated and controlled and, therefore, complex to access. Unfortunately many great concepts don’t get past the initial development stage.
The need for quality orthopaedic implant products has grown in recent years and the market is becoming increasingly competitive. With doctors, surgeons, consultants and patients demanding better and more robust treatments, there is now a huge demand for affordable implant innovation.
When developing a product for market, it makes sense to work with a professional machining partner that can provide hands-on help, advice and support, from initial planning and tooling through to materials handling and full-blown production and testing. This will ensure that your investment is secure and costs are controlled.
It takes industry experience, investment in cutting edge equipment and technical insight to produce precision manufactured, orthopaedic products that meet the necessary production, compliance and accreditation requirements set by governing bodies.
Turning concepts into reality
Orthoplastics is a respected, global leader in UHMWPE machining and manufacturing, with over 30 years’ industry experience. We excel in producing the highest grade UHMWPE (Orthopaedic Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene) and work with all of our partners to turn innovative concepts into reality.
Experts in milling, turning, grinding and drilling
By choice, our general machining capabilities relate to plastics, both implant grade and instrument - our CNC machining centres and lathes can respond to any manufacturing requirement.
Alongside our CNC machines, we offer various surface treatments to meet and often exceed customer specifications.
Our component machining services are just part of the story. We provide full consultation, design and engineering and research/development support, as well as rigorous in-house laboratory testing to recognised quality standards.
Over the years our business has been instrumental in producing and testing many new and pioneering orthopaedic implant products that have had a profound effect on patients’ lives.
Our new website is live
Visit our new component machining website at: www.orthoplasticsmachining.com to find out about our 30 years’ experience in the orthopaedic implant industry. This site outlines our component machining strengths and is part of our wider strategy to reinforce Orthoplastics as a world-class leader in UHMWPE machining and manufacturing.
Quality is absolutely crucial to our business. Over the years, we have heavily invested in resources and equipment to provide our customers with everything required for regulatory compliance on a global scale.
3rd Mitutoyo scanning heading CMM, along with statistical monitoring software, enable a live data capability analysis. These take traditional inspection and processing to a new level of compliance and control.
Validation and compliance team expansion
As our business grows so must quality. With our recent investments and expansion, we again demonstrate the cost of quality can never be too high, particularly when lives are dependant on our products, services and materials.
The needs of the medical sector are constantly changing to cope with advances in medical science. Orthoplastics continues to respond and to nurture the confidence of its employees. The standards set by the market are increasingly high, but the value added services we provide are designed to match that standard. Most recently, our research centre has realised that their core potential lies in UHMWPE materials hence it is focusing their talents in this area.
Responding to the demands of modern medical science requires a fully integrated approach. At our Orthoplastics facility in Manchester there is evidence of great innovation. This is where our experienced team come together to develop a range of products that are highly efficient and capable.
We have been excited by the rapid expansion of our polymer implant-manufacturing cell. The introduction of five state-of-the-art axis milling machines has highlighted our commitment to adopting modern machining practices, leading to shorter lead times and highly competitive pricing.
Component machining is an effective way of converting orthopaedic component concepts into today’s reality. Being world leaders in implantable plastic manufacturing and component machining, Orthoplastics is considered among the leading experts in CNC machining. Our environment-friendly machines and in-house capacity, allow us to provide a full range of machining services.
Some of the services we provide include:
- One-off prototyping
- Pre-production validation runs
- Outsourcing service.
We provide a bespoke design service so we can respond to each customer’s requirement. Rest assured, each and every investment that we make is for our customers and to create even higher standards of performance.
Orthoplastics is committed to providing exclusive product solutions, serving the needs of SMEs. Working with us, gives SMEs a real opportunity to overcome technological, regulatory and financial constraints that can stifle their success. We do this by using our in-house talent and expertise to help with complicated legal requirements such as accreditation, compliance, affiliation navigation processes etc.
Orthoplastics was pleased to make a presentation at the recent 7th UHMWPE conference in Philadelphia. This brought together experts from various fields such as engineers, scientists and clinicians from academia and industry. It was an opportunity to hear about the latest research, advancements and developments in medical grade UHMWPE technology and clinical applications.
The results of various clinical and retrieval studies of immensely correlated UHMWPE (HXLPE) work was presented to the panellists. Special mention was made about thin acetabular liners and knee arthroplasty performance. In addition to this, the following was also discussed:
- Long terms consequences of 1st generation HXPLEs
- Risks and benefits associated with HXPLE
- A detailed comparison of short term results of anti-oxidant additive stabilized HXLPE and the 1st generation HXLPE
- Thermal processing effects and advancements for HXPLE
- Fibre application advancement of UHMWPE for surgical applications
The organisers accepted three technical research papers and selected two for podium presentations.
The use of high powered x-ray for the manufacture of highly cross-linked UHMWPE, the improved dose uniformity when compared to alternatives such as Gamma and e-Beam
The physical/mechanical performance of highly cross-linked UHMWPE processed using the new novel X-Ray facility.
The use of highly modified UHMWPE in spinal applications, when compared to the costly modern day spinal biomaterials.
In October 2015, Orthoplastics secured a major machining contract win with one of the World's leading orthopeadic device manufacturers. This prestigous and exciting development has resulted in the acquisition of three new 5 axis CNC machines that will increase the overall capacity within the machining department.
As a world leader in implantable plastic manufacturing and component machining Orthoplastics have the expertise to navigate customers through the complexities of production, compliance and accreditation, getting medical component products to market quickly and saving customers valuable time and money.
If you would like to know more about these unique services then click here
The expansion of Orthoplastics China has taken place over many years. Kelvin Wu has represented us in this territory and has been instrumental in securing our success. As part of our planned growth in this region and within Asia generally, Mr Wu has now been appointed as our official representative for China, Japan and Korea.
In addition to Kelvin’s new geographic responsibilities, we have expanded the role of Bernadette Dabbs to include sales, marketing and account management, in addition to her already successful leadership of our customer services team.
Orthoplastics is solely dedicated to the medical sector around the globe. There are no geographic boundaries when it comes to helping our customers. This is part of the strategic growth and expansion strategy.
We firmly believe that quality standards are maintained throughout the world because of our accreditation to ISO 9001, ISO 13485 and ISO 14001. The supply chain mechanism and distribution network of Orthoplastics, ensures that products can be transported to each corner of the globe, in full compliance with relevant security and safety standards. The export quality of our products is unrivalled - we are considered to be the market leaders in providing specialist guidance and support to customers in the medical sector.
The growth strategy of Orthoplastics is evidence of great leadership and rigorous quality assured products and services, ranging from cross-linked UHMWPE and Vitamin E UHMWPE, component machining, to direct compression moulding and laboratory services.
We adopt the most stringent of orthopaedic test methods and global standards. Over the years, we have developed a world-class testing facility, compliant with ISO 17025. To further expand this capacity and requirements from OEM customers, we are now offering long-term device package testing.
The validation and characterisation of polyethylene often crosses the boundaries into packaging, especially when it comes to long-term shelf stability.
Our laboratory is fully equipped with:
Cambridge Polymer Group Swell Ratio Tester SRT-1
Multi-axis Tensile Test
Our lab is equipped for multi-tasking hence we are able to deal with a number of jobs consecutively. With our extensive range of testing equipment, ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene and other polymers have become key products.
We have invested in the latest technological equipment so that we can innovate different ideas and products. We conduct related research and development in our laboratory so that we can respond to market trends and are more able to serve our customers. The whole concept of the implantable industry is founded on the rigorous testing and manufacturing of plastics products in the laboratory, hence we are extremely proud of our achievements.