SANTA ROSA – Sonoma County is home to a number of medical device original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) — as well as major suppliers to this industry, such as SMC Ltd., the West Coast division of a global contract manufacturing firm based in Somerset, Wisconsin, specializing in the medical and pharmaceutical sector.
SMC Ltd., located at 3250 Brickway Boulevard in the Airport Corporate Center, is one of 10 company divisions located in California, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Ohio, in addition to plants in Bangalore, India, and San Jose, Costa Rica.
The company focuses on high and low volume medical device manufacturing for markets such as orthopedic, hand held surgical devices, neurological and other medical markets.
The facility has both class 7 and 8 clean rooms that house molding and assembly operations utilizing special machines for thermoplastic molding processes.
The company’s medical operations offer ISO 13485 quality systems certified and compliant with regulatory and other requirements for the management and production of medical devices.
“We assist in design, prototype development, production, assembly, and packaging of finished devices for many of the largest OEMs in the industry,” said Bob Stoesser, vice president of international operations for SMC Ltd.
“All of these capabilities allow us to provide our customers with greater supply chain management by meeting their logistic needs. We are one of the few privately held contract manufacturers in this space giving us the flexibility to service the largest customers while maintaining the greatest amount of control.”
Mr. Stoesser’s father started a plastic molding business in 1947 called Stoesser Industries. The firm moved from Mountain View to Santa Rosa where it acquired Petaluma-based Gordon Manufacturing in 2002 and began doing business as Stoesser-Gordon Plastics. In August 2008, Stoesser-Gordon Plastics was acquired by SMC Ltd.
According to Mr. Stoesser, Northern California and the West Coast region is a very strategic location for SMC Ltd.’s medical device contract manufacturing services.
“Not only do we have a lot of startup activity here, but we also have several established medical OEM’s in the area that require our services. Our business model is built around a flat hierarchy, meaning we are more nimble when it comes to serving established companies involved in medical techno innovation. Other firms are not as flexible. Our strength is in having years of experience in working with firms bringing new products to market as well as those with mature product lines.”
Annual sales for SMC Ltd. worldwide were estimated to be $215 million by Plastics News in a report issued in June 2012. Of the 565 firms ranked by this industry publication, SMC Ltd. was listed in the top 5 percent.
“By all indications, the need for our global services will continue to grow, and it is SMC Ltd.’s goal to keep up with and exceed our customer’s expectations. The main objective for establishing overseas operations is to give our customers the global support they need. Our worldwide expansion strategy is largely driven by input from our customers, along with the desire to support products being developed for specific country needs,” Mr. Stoesser said.
The Santa Rosa plant has 62,000 square feet of manufacturing space. SMC Ltd. employs 152 workers in Santa Rosa and approximately 1,500 worldwide.
“We track advances in automation closely and keep pace by adopting new programs that enhance quality. While OEM’s create the technology and large, cutting edge capital equipment and techniques required to deliver it, our mission involves developing the essential interfaces between the capital equipment and the patient. We have trade secrets that give us the edge when it comes to enabling us to manufacturing things that others can’t, while accelerating speed-to-market,” he said.
SMC Ltd. Plant Manager T. J. Shadid said his firm has special expertise in niche technologies, such as silicone liquid injection molding and micro molding core competencies that few others can provide.
“We are also big advocates of continuous education for our employees and collaborate with colleges and universities for fulltime, part time and internship opportunities,” he said.
“In a highly service-oriented business, we need to solve our customer’s problems, while continuing to maintain and grow our spirit of initiative and improvement. We also need to service ourselves and our customers with the same respect and enthusiasm that we had when we started.”
He observed that Sonoma County has many advantages. “Santa Rosa in particular is a great location for manufacturing. Our facility here offers us the balance of proximity to customers and a lifestyle that is attractive to management and employees alike.”
For more information about SMC Ltd., go to www.smcltd.com.
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