Making It In Medical

Examining this shop's healthy medical machining business shows that both medical components and medical customers require special care.

 "Can you machine Natural Coral?"

That's one of the more unusual questions asked recently of Tanya DiSalvo, operations manager of Criterion Tool & Die, a 22-person precision job shop in Brook Park, Ohio, near Cleveland's Hopkins Airport.

As a matter of fact, the shop doesn't machine coral—at least not for now—but it does machine titanium, Inconel, brass, aluminum, various stainless steels and a number of engineering plastics such as Vespel and Ultem. The shop machines these materials into complex components for medical implants and orthopedic instrumentation using a variety of milling and turning machines, including some eight-axis Swiss-type lathes and a turn/mill with B-axis capability.

The inquiry about the coral didn't entirely surprise Ms. DiSalvo. She not only expects such startling questions, but also welcomes them. "We want designers, developers and engineers in the medical field to come to us for novel machining solutions to medical part manufacturing."