A medical manufacturer approached Buell Automatics about manufacturing a knee prosthetic known as a stance rod. Stance rods provide patients with a knee-like joint in an above-knee prosthesis. Though this client had been manufacturing the prosthetic in-house for about 30 years, its new management decided that their most vital competency was design and development. 

The Problem

This customer had been manufacturing this product for three decades. The Buell Automatics team had 12 weeks to learn what the customer had spent 30 years developing. Over many years, modifications and adjustments to the design and manufacturing process resulted in irrelevant or conflicting information on the original prints. 

The assembly features two different materials, different plating callouts, varying torque requirements, and specific aesthetic needs. With 273 total components involved in the stance rod, this project relied on our ability to manufacture precision components in-house while also managing numerous subcontractors and vendors. One misstep throughout the process could result in full project failure.

Applied Capabilities

The Buell Automatics team applied a variety of capabilities to produce the necessary components, including:

  • CNC turning
  • Grinding
  • Hard chrome
  • Anodization
  • Secondary machining
  • Assembly

This project required precision component manufacturing within +/- 0.0005 inches. To ensure compliance with these very narrow tolerances, we used a variety of in-process testing and inspection methods, including:

  • Dimensional gauging
  • Functional gauging
  • Vision testing
  • Torque testing

The Solution

This customer likes us because we ask a lot of questions. Previous vendors they had worked with didn’t ask enough questions, which ultimately resulted in problems and extended the learning curve. Our engineers and technicians came to the customer numerous times to clarify processes or gather tribal information that hadn’t been written down on any prints or designs.

Our team completed the first production run within 18 weeks, with additional runs taking only 10-12 weeks. Our client has been thrilled with our capabilities and service, and we’ve begun quoting other parts for them as well. We’re working with them to update numerous other drawings, which would allow them to outsource those products as well. 

Working With Buell Automatics  

Our precision capabilities at Buell Automatics make us an ideal partner for projects that require close tolerances with high repeatability across the production run. We have more than 50 years of experience working with small precision parts across numerous industries.

With our end-to-end project management capabilities, we allow product designers to bring their designs to life without diverting resources from their core competencies. To see how we can support your project, please request a quote today.

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