Visiting a global manufacturer of orthopaedic implants
May 30, 2014
In January 2014 we launched an early career researcher forum to foster the professional development of tomorrow’s rising stars in innovative manufacturing in medical devices. Their first meeting was hosted by JRI – a manufacturer of orthopaedic implants. Marlene Mengoni, an ECR Forum Ambassador based at Leeds has given us her account:
On Wednesday 28th May, our ECR Forum and I were given the privilege of a tour of the facilities of a global manufacturer and innovator in orthopaedic implants.
Our early-career researcher forum, a group of PhD students and post-doctoral researchers from across the MeDe Innovation academic-base, were invited to JRI’s factory in Sheffield where their manufacturing, research, product development, customer service, marketing, warehousing and distribution is all centred.
JRI was formed by Mr Ronald Furlong FRCS in 1970 and is renowned for the innovation of the Furlong® Hydroxyapatite Ceramic (H-A.C) Coated Total Hip Replacement (THR), which was the first H-A.C Coated THR in the world. Today, the Furlong® H-A.C Coated THR has achieved clinical success globally.
Edward Draper, Innovation Manager at JRI gave an introduction to the company and an overview of their intentions for the existing product lines and new product development intentions. JRI faces some exciting times with the technologies underpinning joint replacement and regeneration changing rapidly – as are manufacturing technologies – and the team are working with MeDe Innovation to develop novel approaches to the design and manufacture of medical devices.
The JRI company formation is an interesting one – it is wholly owned by Orthopaedic Research UK (ORUK), a registered charity, to whom it gift aids its profit (after operational costs). ORUK independently funds orthopaedic research for the advancement in knowledge for the prevention and treatment of bone and joint disease.
The group was divided into two for the tour – one group hosted by Sarrawat Rehman, one of the founding industry members of the ECR Forum, and the other by Dave Norris, a quality engineer at JRI
The tour started at the beginning of the manufacturing process, being shown how the metals look on delivery, and control systems for logging the components’ journey – through to close up views and explanations of machining, metrology and polishing – then how one-off, unique implants are designed and made – finally the cleaning area, packing, sterilisation methods and warehousing.
I was most surprised by the large research grant portfolio this SME supports and leads, allowing them to explore new routes and technologies to further expand without compromising their core-business.
We finished the visit with an informal question and answer session. I think Edward was tested with some of the questions our researchers asked – we’re obviously creative thinkers!
From our ECR Forum I’d like to thank Sarrawat for arranging our first group visit to their factory and offices, it’s been a great experience and opportunity for us – and to their staff for making us so welcome.
Join the Early Career Researcher Forum in Innovative Manufacturing in Medical Devices