Walking the virtual exhibition hall floors at Digital Manufacturing Week our Deputy Editor Tom Lane had an interesting catch up with Mike Rimmer, Operations Director at Brandon Medical Company Limited.
Manufacturers come to Digital Manufacturing Week to learn what technologies can improve their business. With a whole host of keynote talks, discussion rooms and companies exhibiting, there is plenty information available at the click of a button to sink your teeth into. Mike Rimmer of Brandon Medical is a seasoned visitor to Digital Manufacturing Week and has been enjoying the first day of this year’s virtual event from the comfort of his home office.
How are you finding Digital Manufacturing Week so far in its new virtual home?
Pretty good. I am doing work and listening to it in the background, I pop in and out when I hear something interesting. It is a good format, I am looking forward to the operational improvement master class agenda tomorrow. There is a lot of good advice out there for manufacturers.
How has this year been for Brandon Medical?
This was a very good financial year. We just finished the year off in October, with a 34% increase in turnover, not COVID linked. We did do some work for the ventilator challenge, getting some machining components for a UK medical manufacturer. I think we did about 5000 units in a pretty quick time.
Then we did supply some ventilators and medical suits into the NHS, but pretty much it is organic growth overseas, and we have jumped from £8.4 m to 10.8m turnover with a 10% net profit, which is great.
It has been our best year ever for Brandon Medical, and it looks good for next year, where we’re predicting, about 20 – 28% growth, we’re moving forward and that’s the main thing.
Even with COVID and Brexit disruptions we have done blisteringly well, and the turnover was about 60% overseas and International orders. So that is a good news story that’s worth getting out there, it’s not all doom and gloom.
What are you looking for at DMW?
We are a traditional sort of assembly plant, so we are machining stuff and manually assembling it. We just put it in a smart cell, but I am more interested in shop floor data analytics. Getting data capture for traceability.
Also, for digitally marking our products, so that when they are out in the field, we can basically either scan them on a QR code or an etched barcode and get the information. A lot of the time, we will ship stuff abroad and we lose the traceability on it because it is a modular kit. Once you ship multiple units, anywhere in the world, into another country, they can go anywhere. So it can end up anywhere in a country or in any institution, and in any format, then we lose that traceability and as it is for a medical devices, we must have that traceability. So I’m particularly interested in that sort of technology that’s out there for us to be able to track it, from the point of raw material supply, right the way through the stock, the usage and batch number out to the customer.
Being able to look at that technology is something that we have been trying to do. Currently as soon as we machine a part, it goes into stock and then we have to wait for our paperwork to come through the office before it’s booked off. That is all really slow and time consuming to data capture manually by types of fields. So, all of that sort of stuff, I want to find out about over the course of the week, I’ll be looking at various companies who can provide this sort of technology.
We do a little bit of 3d printing, but only on a small scale. We do use it in production, but it’s only for a very small plastic component. I think as a as a company we would love to go down the line of a bigger metal 3d printing unit too.