Burlington Medical Supplies: Reduced lead times and optimized material utilization with AccuMark Made-to-Measure.
In 1969, BURLINGTON MEDICAL SUPPLIES (Burmed) was established as a small X-ray apron repair operation. As the medical industry grew, so too did Burmed. Currently, the company employs more than 100 people. Over the years, Burmed’s product offerings have continued to expand and, today, include protective eyewear and gloves as well as a full line of medical accessories.
As Burmed grew, the company realized it had to automate its pattern design process – and do so without compromising quality. Without automation and significant process improvements, further growth would be challenging.
“Not until 2003 did the company decide it was time for a change,” said Betsy Laster, manager for Burmed. “So we purchased a single-ply cutter and AccuMark® Made-to-Measure (MTM) software. We’ve taken off since then and now we are really rolling.”
AccuMark MTM pattern design software provides true automation from pattern modification through advanced rule-based specifications and order creation. It creates patterns using measurements derived from either high-tech, three-dimensional body scanners or traditional tape measures, and creates orders, models and size codes based on unique customer requirements.
Burmed X-ray ApronsPrior to implementing AccuMark MTM, the company relied on one person to process an apron from order through design. Burmed received an order and one individual would take body measurements, create the custom pattern pieces and grade the patterns – everything was done manually.
With AccuMark MTM, Burmed successfully transferred years of pattern design knowledge into a single CAD system that all members of the technical design team could utilize. As a result, the entire design process now takes only one day to complete.
Because AccuMark MTM is customizable, Burmed is able to configure the system according to its various design details and rules. When there’s a change in the design, the information is incorporated into AccuMark MTM and automatically applied to future apron orders. “As we continue to add design details and rules, the system gets easier and easier to use,” noted Laster.
In addition, Burmed installed a single-ply conveyorized cutting system. The lead-based protective material used to manufacture aprons costs approximately $75 per yard, so material utilization is critical to the company’s profitability. Burmed’s cutter operates 10 hours a day, with exteme precision, and as a result, Burmed now realizes nearly 90 percent material utilization, up from 54 percent.
The Client: Burlington Medical Supplies
Brief about client business: Burmed, located in Newport News, Virginia, USA, specializes in custom fitting, lightweight, non-lead and lead aprons that protect healthcare workers from harmful radiation.
The Challenge: Burmed relied heavily on one person for most everything, from order entry and taking individual body measurements, to designing and grading patterns. In addition, the company was seeking ways to improve the utilization of their expensive, lead-based materials.
The Solution: In 2003, Burmed implemented Gerber’s AccuMark Made-to-Measure (MTM) software and a conveyorized, single-ply cutting table. AccuMark MTM enabled the company to effectively transfer years of pattern design knowledge from one individual to a team of technical designers. Material utilization also improved significantly using automated cutting.
The Benefits: Automated pattern generation and cutting enabled Burmed to reduce lead times from five weeks to two and improve material utilization significantly, thereby reducing material costs.
- Burmed successfully transferred years of pattern design knowledge from one individual to an entire team to balance workloads.
- With AccuMark Made-to-Measure, Burmed is able to design and manufacture custom-fitted aprons according to a client’s specific body shape and size.
- Lead times were reduced 60 percent – from five weeks to two weeks.
- Material utilization now averages 90 percent, up from 54 percent.
- Changes made to pattern designs are automatically relayed to AccuMark MTM and incorporated into future orders.
Contact us to learn more about AccuMark MTM.