Edition #13

MiniFAB Newsletter, July 2014

CEO Report

There is a lot of discussion about the importance of manufacturing to the economy, and much national introspection as to the role of Governments in supporting local industry at a time of unstoppable change. The response to these challenges is always regional, and varies considerably around the world. However Government interventions become more and more difficult to target as successful industrial players have to be more and more international in their business strategy.

Clearly large economies have more capacity to support different strategies, for example the huge Horizon 2020 program that the European Union has launched. Grants are great, however at some point robust businesses must evolve to stand on their own feet and provide a product or service that competes in the international market.

Of course I would prefer that the Australian economy was one of those that provided excellent Government support for emerging industries. The stark reality is that it is not. While tough to get started, there can be little doubt that the Australian businesses that succeed are indeed much more robust and much better tuned to the needs of customers, rather than the hurdles of grants.

Many of MiniFAB's clients are living examples of this challenge. Indeed MiniFAB was and remains a founding tenant of a business incubator, the Small Technology Cluster, created back in 2002. We are surrounded every day by inspiring entrepreneurs, and every day we talk with visionary researchers from around the world. A recent visit to MiniFAB by Prof. Don Ingber from the Wyss Institute, Harvard University, was just such an example. At a public lecture in Melbourne Prof. Ingber told rouhgly 1,400 people about his exciting research in organs-on-a-chip. If you weren't lucky enough to be in Melbourne for his speech, you can still watch his oration online.

Biosensors 2014 was held here in Melbourne at the end of May, and it was great to meet many friends and colleagues involved in developing the next generation of technology. As I write this we have the 20th International AIDS Conference happening in Melbourne, and then we are off to AACC to meet with colleagues in Chicago and make new acquaintances. The feeling from all of these meetings is one of great activity, great potential and terrific opportunities for new products in health and medical devices.

Getting back to manufacturing: at MiniFAB we continue to invest in production and automation to boost our manufacturing capacity in microfluidic lab-on-a-chips. We have recently brought on line our newest custom automation system, and have significantly expanded our capacity to meet global production demands. We believe in a manufacturing future where we make products for our clients that are revolutionary, inspirational, and in many cases make a tangible difference to the lives of individuals. We can do that because our customers challenge us to bring their ideas to reality.

We are excited about the future of manufacturing, and look forward to the rapid changes we are all enjoying. If you have found an innovation niche that you are aiming to exploit, and if you need a partner for product development or manufacturing, then we should talk about how we could work together to make that change happen.

Erol Harvey - CEO

FAB People

Welcome to FAB People; a chance for you to get to know the team that makes MiniFAB the world-leading custom development and manufacturing company it is. Each edition we'll speak with one of MiniFAB's expert engineers, scientists, designers and business managers. Today we meet Project Engineer Matthew Springer.

As a Project Engineer, Matt works with MiniFAB's clents from project conception, through successful proof of principle devices to low level production. Major projects have included development of prototypes into clinical study disposable diagnostic devices, design for manufacture consultation and re-tooling for processability improvements for a quality mangement system governed project. Matthew joined MiniFAB in 2010 after completing his Masters of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. He is a registered chartered engineer and a member of Engineers Australia and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

What does a day at MiniFAB look like for you?

A typical MiniFAB day starts early with teleconferences with our North American clients, talking through project progress updates, new concepts and working through any technical details. Following a quick Melburnian coffee and catch up with colleagues, the day is full of solving clients' problems, designing microfluidic systems, assembly and manufacturing jigging and processes. The day is finished with an update to MiniFAB's European clients, and it all starts again tomorrow.

You work closely with MiniFAB's clients to develop their products for manufacturing; what's your favourite part of the process?

My favourite part of the process is when proof of principle devices are integrated together into a working concept demonstration prototype. At this stage the original concept designs come to life and the device takes the first step towards a product. From here the team, that is the client and MiniFAB's engineers, can shape the future look of the product.

Tell us something about MiniFAB that you wouldn't read on our website.

Every month we stop what we are doing for a company-wide update, we call it a 20:20. It's a time for pizza and reflecting on MiniFAB's successes, learnings and goals. We're a close-knit team, despite being from all four corners of the planet with varying backgrounds and experience, we all have a passion for what we do. There are tight deadlines and technical hurdles involved in any project, but there is always laughter and celebration at the 20:20.

You're very active in the broader engineering industry, participating in industry bodies and newsletters; what do you love about this space?

I am a keen volunteer with the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Volunteering offers great opportunities to develop my knowledge and appreciation of the wider world of mechanical engineering. My role with the global professional body has me speaking with young engineers locally, organising events for members and travelling to New Zealand, Hong Kong and the UK to be involved in Institution events.

You joined MiniFAB in 2010; any favourite memories? 

We've had some massive moments at MiniFAB, spending two weeks in the USA working with a client working on a particular project was incredibly rewarding and resulted in a close working relationship at all levels of the project. It's a professional highlight I remember fondly.

Connect with Matthew on LinkedIn

Partner News

It's been a busy few months for MiniFAB's global partners, here's a snapshot of their latest news:

  • Micro-diagnostic systems in the spotlight via IEEE Pulse
  • MVG's Bionic Eye Project is seeking participants for a Visual Cortex study
  • TearLab welcomes Manoj Venkiteshwar as VP of Medical Affairs

To keep up to date with MiniFAB's news, visit the news page on MiniFAB's website. Check it out here.

Let's meet at AACC

Let's talk about unique POC solutions at AACC 2014
27 - 31 July 2014
Booth #6562

One of MiniFAB's favourite annual conferences, AACC 2014 is on this week. Visit MiniFAB at booth #656 to discuss how we could work together to develop and manufacture unique Point Of Care solutions for your product.

Meet some of MiniFAB's expert team at the show, including Andrew Campitelli and Bob Mehalso.

This is MiniFAB's seventh year at AACC. Each year we return because it's an event that brings together global leaders in molecular diagnostics, clinical chemistry, translational medicine and other cutting-edge technology areas in laboratory medicine. Industry and academia meet to share research, demonstrate new products and connect on a global scale.

If you're planning on being at AACC this year, send Andrew an email and let's organise a time for you to meet with the team.

Conference Information

27 - 31 July 2014
Booth #656
McCormick Place, Chicago, IL
Find out more about AACC here.

1 Dalmore Drive, Scoresby VIC

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