With 50,000ft² of dedicated 'clean facility', and a variety of fully automated, hybrid and lean manufacturing systems, ATC Automation provides custom assembly and testing solutions for the medical device and life sciences industries. Sales and marketing manager Tony D Green tells Medical Device Developments why the company is so popular with customers around the world.

Can you give us a brief introduction of ATC Automation and its services within the medical devices industry?

Tony D Green: ATC Automation provides custom assembly and test automation for a variety of industries, including transportation, energy storage, life sciences and consumer products. The size of ATC's automated systems ranges from complete 'factories in a box' to small, lean systems that can be integrated into a current manufacturing process. ATC is a certified ISO 9001:2008 company with decades of experience building automated solutions.

ATC manufactures in Cookeville, Tennessee, with a facility stretching 134,000ft². Of this, 50,000ft² is considered a 'clean facility', catering primarily to high-tech sectors such as life sciences, which ATC added five years ago in order to meet demand. Within the medical device industry, ATC provides a range of solutions around intricate part-assembly and the testing (electrical and functional) of devices. ATC has also designed and manufactured several custom solutions for the bio market, primarily within the filling and testing of various containers. ATC is a member of the TASI group.

How can customers profit from your expertise in order to improve production line efficiency, reduce cost and speed up time to market?

One of the most recognised benefits our customers see is that we understand the stringent validation requirements within the life sciences industry. We have a validation manager focused on following developments within GAMP, and document, installation, operation and performance qualifications (DQ, IQ, OQ and PQ), to ensure we are always up to date. This means our customers do not have to go through this process themselves, saving them time and money. ATC also keeps up with the latest technologies, which means customers don't have to teach us anything about their preferred technologies, and they can be assured the best solution for their specific project will be used.

You offer three kinds of manufacturing solution: hybrid/semi-automatic, fully automatic and lean systems. What advantages do each of these bring?

Each of the three has its own place in the manufacturing environment, and geography plays a big part in the decision of which to use. In areas where wages are somewhat lower, a medical device company may choose to use a less automated system and opt for a lean or hybrid system. In higher-wage-rate areas, however, the fully automated systems seem to be more advantageous. The main focus is to ensure the highest quality and test measures are taken, as is always the case when dealing with any type of life sciences product.

Do you think fully automated solutions will become more widespread in the future of medical device assembly?

Yes, because we are seeing more reshoring of medical devices into the US. As a result, companies will need to continue to be competitive and make use of their labour resources in areas that are not automation-conducive. Thus we expect life sciences companies will feel increasingly comfortable with automation and begin using it in areas that were not originally viewed as automation-friendly.

How have three decades of experience helped you to shape your offering to customers, and how do you support your clients to meet their requirements?

As a leading manufacturer of life sciences assembly and test automation, ATC Automation provides a wide range of innovative solutions. That's why suppliers all over the world choose to work with us. We meet the life sciences industry's unique product requirements to satisfy the validation and manufacturing guidelines of 21 CFR, GAMP, US FDA regulations and DQ/IQ/OQ/PQ validation testing. Combined with ease of use, quality and competitive designs, this has made ATC Automation a supplier to some of the largest life science companies worldwide.