ROHNERT PARK — IDEX Health & Science LLC, produces a variety of precision fluidic components and sub-systems for the analytical chemistry and clinical diagnostics markets, including rotary shear valves and liquid-line degassers manufactured in its Rohnert Park facility.
Parent IDEX Corporation has three major divisions and a total of 120 manufacturing facilities around the globe. The firm as a whole has annual revenues of $2 billion. Some 50 percent of company revenues are from outside the U.S.
The IDEX Health & Sciences division is responsible for over one-third of this total with $700 million in sales per year.
Some of the most commonly known IDEX brands and recognizable products are the Jaws of Life and paint mixing equipment often seen at local home improvement centers. However, most of the firm’s products are embedded in literally thousands of OEM applications.
The Rohnert Park facility has over 75,000 square feet of space and stocks 5,000 parts used in the assembly of a wide range of final products.
IDEX Health & Science has 140 employees, including 20 temporary or part time workers, supporting separate product lines destined for Original Equipment Manufacturers from three previously acquired companies, including the Rheodyne, Systec and Innovadyne brands.
The firm also employs a team of workers with special needs, obtained through the North Bay Industries, also known as North Bay Rehabilitation Services, to assist with assembly and packaging.
he local IDEX division is doubling its existing engineering laboratory to 3,500 square feet and plans to bring five additional engineers to this facility when the new lab is completed later this year.
The company also operates a machine shop were prototypes of new products are made for customer review and approval prior to volume manufacture.
“We serve the global life science market but some sectors are more active than others. For example, the biotechnology market is expanding rapidly. Our products are used in DNA sequencers (a market growing at 15 percent annually), as well as for in-vitro diagnostics, analytical instruments and laboratory automation,” said Gregory R. Orr, General Manager.
“The DNA space is rapidly evolving. At some point I expect you will be able to go into a doctor’s office, provide a sample and have your DNA mapped on site. Not long ago this procedure was only possible in university settings or at large, central laboratories. This trend will likely start within group practices where the number of patients and physician resources will make it economically feasible.”
Mr. Orr said his firm makes a concerted effort to keep most of its production capacity and back office operations here in the U.S., from R&D and product development through final assembly and testing.
“Saving a few bucks by going offshore often does not equal the cost of transportation, handling and the reduction in delivery time we can achieve by keeping a majority of functions onshore.”
However, the company sources some components offshore to enable it to be cost-competitive, but strives to use local suppliers whenever possible.
Management is a firm believer in lean manufacturing principles throughout all stages of production, as well as quality control and delivery to customers. In addition, the firm is always on the lookout for ways to expand internationally.
IDEX Corporation recently purchased ERC K.K., based in Tokyo, Japan, for $24 million. This firm has 73 employees producing diagnostic degasser products that are complementary to IDEX’s current product line. The chief technology officer and site manager of ERC reports to Mr. Orr.
The parent firm also owns two additional facilities in China making existing, long-established products primarily for the local China market.
According to Mr. Orr, being in a position to serve a global market helps to make IDEX products readily accessible to overseas customers.
“One of our key strengths is being both nimble and focused. We concentrate on just 15 product platforms, which can translate into several hundred customized products involving a small number of different parts, ports or materials. Our internal team of scientists is always exploring new opportunities and materials.”
He said his division works closely with the company’s strategic marketing group to anticipate future customer and market needs five years or more down the road.
Mr. Orr said that while the Santa Rosa area is not a hot bed of manufacturing activity, the growing number of manufacturing firms locating here is encouraging, making the area a hub to attract talent.
“With double-digit growth at IDEX since 2009, it has become difficult to find the skill sets we need, such as experienced electrical engineers and supplier quality engineers. We have been trying to find such talent for a year.
“At the end of the day, we strive to help our customers reduce their cost per test while increasing throughput. Our goal is to help our customers drive efficiency with increased speed, yield, sensitivity, and innovative new technology to meet OEM requirements.”
For more information, go to: www.idex-hs.com.
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