Profiles

A vehicle for change

Reimagining the future is all in a day’s work for Arcimoto, the electric vehicle company with a mission to catalyze the shift to more sustainable modes of transport

Mark Frohnmayer might be Arcimoto’s Founder and CEO, but first and foremost, he sees himself as a customer. “I started the company because I wanted the product it would eventually come to build,” he declares. “Arcimoto was born of a felt need that I had for getting around my local area. I was the prototype customer.”

The journey began in 2007 when Mark went in search of a vehicle for everyday driving. Concerned about the growing proliferation of expensive, polluting, oversized automobiles used to travel short distances, Mark was not looking for a car, but something more attuned to the trips people take on a regular basis. The criteria he set Arcimoto 178 awas simple – the vehicle needed to be lightweight, electric, and capable of transporting one or two people, and the things they needed to take with them, over a short distance to their destination. Mark’s quest ended in disappointment.

“I couldn’t find the vehicle I was looking for,” he says. “It just simply did not exist. The closest I came was a three-wheeled kit vehicle I saw at a parade in my hometown. It had two wheels at the front, one wheel at the back, and it was a lightbulb moment for me. I suddenly realized, for the first time in my life, that there is a giant gap between the motorcycle and the car. If you live in Europe or South East Asia, there is usually a lot more filling that gap, but in the US market, there is an ever-widening disparity between the two-wheeled motorized scooter and the large four-wheeled car.”

Following this epiphany, Mark decided to act. He ordered a kit and convinced some friends to help him put it together, but the vehicle still wasn’t right. Though the basic concept of three wheels, motorcycle class efficiency, and a small environmental footprint ticked a number of boxes, Mark wanted more. He needed a vehicle that was faster, that could carry an extra passenger, and that offered a superior ride feel. Unsatisfied with his existing options, Mark concluded that sometimes, if you want something done, it’s best to do it yourself.

“Arcimoto became a company in late 2007 and we actually went through eight distinct design and engineering iterations before we arrived at the platform we ultimately developed,” Mark reveals. “Over the span of the first seven years, we built seven distinct prototypes, all in the three-wheeled Arcimotovehicle space, and where we really felt like we achieved victory was on number eight. That is the platform we first conceived in late 2014. We put it on the road in 2015 in the form of looks-like, works-like prototypes. The prototypes became what is now known as the Fun Utility Vehicle (FUV), our flagship consumer product. It is a unique way for an individual to have a much lighter footprint for getting around town. As the name suggests, it is incredibly fun to drive and very useful for day-to-day trips.”

With a top speed of 75 miles per hour, and up to 102 miles per charge, the FUV is a fully electric two-seater, sustainable transport solution. Built for fun, the vehicle offers a panoramic roof, removable West Coast doors, heated seats, and lockable storage. Highway legal in all 50 US states, a base model FUV will soon be available for just $11,900, meaning more consumers will be able to access revolutionary technology at an affordable price.Arcimoto 178 b

Product portfolio
Using the very same platform as the FUV, Arcimoto recently added two additional products to its portfolio. The first is the Rapid Responder, a lightweight, maneuverable transport solution designed to get first responders to the scene of incidents as quickly as possible. The vehicle is already being trialed in Oregon by the Eugene Springfield Fire Department.

“We took the fundamentals of the FUV and applied those benefits to emergency response,” Mark explains. “The Eugene Springfield Fire Department is our first pilot for the Rapid Responder and one of the things they like is that they can take it on bike paths. We have hundreds of miles of bike paths in Eugene and Springfield, so that’s an advantage that can be very useful in an emergency.

“The Rapid Responder’s vast capabilities extend its effectiveness beyond the realm of emergency medical services to law enforcement, campus security, stadiums, and dense metropolitan areas where full-size ambulances can get stuck in traffic. The vehicle is a viable transport alternative in all these situations.”

The third new product Arcimoto has announced is the Deliverator, a next-generation, last-mile delivery vehicle that can improve delivery times, reduce maintenance, and ultimately, increase revenue. Suitable for transporting a variety of goods, from parcels to takeaway food, the Deliverator is a general-purpose fleet utility vehicle with over 23 cubic feet of storage.

“The FUV, Rapid Responder, and Deliverator represent our core three-product offering, but we are not done yet with the full range of the Arcimoto platform,” Mark proclaims. “We have additional products on the drawing board, but right now, we are very focused on getting our first three vehicles out into the market and building the scale of production on what we have announced so far.

“Now that we have around 100 vehicles out there in the field, we are looking to our early customers and asking them about what works, what doesn’t work, and what they would like us to add in order to make their vehicle as effective as possible. Getting feedback from real customers is a really critical part of the development process for us because we want to continuously improve our product for the broader marketplace. Our biggest challenge at the moment though is finding a way to increase our production scale, while reducing cost.”

Green credentials
Arcimoto’s manufacturing plant in Oregon is primarily focused around the automated manufacture of parts, followed by the lean assembly of the company’s final vehicles. When the site was first constructed, the firm decided to vertically integrate the majority of its metals production, meaning the facility is able to take raw tube and sheet steel through to finished parts for the chassis, suspension, and cage of Arcimoto products. Of course, as the firm attempts to increase the scale of its production, it will likely be presented with a variety of manufacturing choices and challenges.

“In the coming months, we will have to ask ourselves, how are we going to increase the number of vehicles we’re moving through the production process?” Mark suggests. “More than likely, we will have to replicate some of the automated manufacturing cells we have in place, as well as think about additional components we could vertically integrate within our own manufacturing footprint. This could include materials like plastics for the body panels, or coating processes for the metal parts in terms of electro dipping the frames.

“Fundamentally, when it comes to automation, we ask, what is the low-hanging fruit? What should be done immediately by robots and then what can be done by hand? As we continue to scale up, we will no doubt see additional opportunities for automation all the way up the production stack.”

One thing that will remain the same for Arcimoto is the company’s commitment to the green agenda. Environmental efficiency has always been one of the company’s core values, and in the near future, Mark and his team plan to carry out a deeper inspection into Arcimoto’s supply chain, as well as a life cycle sustainability analysis of every part that goes into its vehicles. It is indicative of the drive for continuous improvement that is set to power the company to future success.

“I think we have got to a point where we’ve got the initial stake in the ground and now it’s just about improving on every dimension of our operation,” Mark asserts. “We are dedicated to improving environmental efficiency, improving driving efficiency, improving cost, and improving customer experience. Our initial stated goal was to produce a vehicle that is 230 miles per gallon equivalent. We launched with a vehicle that was 173.7 miles per gallon equivalent for city driving, which I think is a remarkable accomplishment, but we still see room for improvement.

“After that, the next step is to look at new business models that can drive growth. We want to understand what a franchise model might look like for tourist destinations, for the gig economy, and eventually, for an autonomous fleet. We believe the autonomous vehicle world should operate on a much more human scale. The real win for autonomy would be personalized mass transit - the ability to get in a small-form vehicle and have it take you where you want to go, sharing the road with other modes of active transport, like bicycles and scooters. These are all things that we’re going to be developing in the coming months and years.”

Arcimoto
Products: Electric vehicle company
www.arcimoto.com

A healthier world

When it comes to the design and production of integrated containment and delivery systems for injectable medicines, customers around the globe rely on the exemplary services of West Pharmaceutical Services

Founded nearly a century ago in 1923, today West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc. (West) manufactures over 100 million components every day, totaling over 40 billion a year. From its 25 manufacturing sites operating in North and South America, Europe and Asia Pacific, more than 8000 team members pride themselves on the delivery of excellence, safety, and dependability in injection molding, highly automated contract manufacturing assembly, and finished packaging.

As a global business, West maintains extremely high standards of quality and reliability wherever its customers are located, and this is achieved via the ‘West Business System’, where cross-functional teams work towards having its activities aligned and focused on the customer. “We are all focused on our mission of improving patient lives,” is how David Montecalvo, Senior Vice President, Chief Operations and Supply Chain Officer, aptly describes it. “We are positioned to serve as a global partner to our pharmaceutical and medical device customers wherever they manufacture their products. The ultimate goal is to implement efficient processes and utilize innovative approaches to meet and exceed our customers’ requirements. Our objective is to drive the highest quality in the work that we do for our customers and ultimately the patients we serve.”

Working in partnership
This focus on the customer is shared with careful attention to the patient – the ultimate end user of a West product. While the contents of a vial or injectable system may steal the limelight from the packaging itself, in fact these outer components are of critical importance to the successful storage and delivery of many lifesaving WPS 178 bdrugs and the vital role they play should not be underestimated. David continued with some more details about the range of systems that West creates, designs, manufactures, and delivers. “Within West’s proprietary business, we produce products to serve our customers in the Biologics, Generics and Pharma market areas,” he began. “Our elastomer and seals products, which are used in injectable packaging systems such as vials, help ensure drug compatibility and stability, while also supporting operational efficiency in the filling operation.

“We offer a range of High Value Products, such as Novapure® and FluroTec® which provide an effective barrier and stability for drug molecules while maintaining container closure integrity. We also provide syringe and cartridge components, including custom solutions for the specific needs of injectable drug applications. Our Analytical Services capabilities also provides our customers with expertise in particle analysis, container closure integrity, and performance in packaging and delivery systems among other methodologies. As a result of our understanding of our delivery systems and their compatibility with drug products, we can assist our customers in navigating the challenge that they have in the evolving regulatory landscape.”

Daikyo Crystal Zenith® vials and cartridges are also part of the product line, and these are made of a proprietary material that provides higher performance than glass. It is break resistant and withstands cryogenic or ultra-low temperature environments.

“We also offer a range of devices used in both the hospital and in-home environments, including patient-centric wearable self-injection systems,” he continued. “These devices are easy to use and can be combined with connected health technologies for delivering drugs directly to the patient.”

Another essential element of West’s Operations is West Contract Manufacturing services, which features six contract manufacturing locations, both in the US and Europe, and provides a single-source solution for customers from product conceptualization through to manufacturing and final packaging. “In support of our contract manufacturing customers, we partner to assist in the design and the development of the manufacturing processes for their device product. We often partner to implement higher levels of automation as a way to increase the output of high-quality devices, where high volume efficient manufacturing is needed and offer vertically integrated material capabilities such as advanced injection molding technologies,” David noted.

Single source solution
Closely linked to West’s contract manufacturing expertise is the West Integrated Solutions Program, which in David’s words “brings together our primary packaging, our device analytical testing, our regulatory, and then our contract manufacturing expertise into a single source solution for our customers.” The Integrated Solutions Program is designed to help reduce risk, mitigate regulatory complexity and ‘Simplify the Journey™’ from molecule to market, and West is able to work with clients at any stage of their drug development life cycle across all injectable formats.

Vital role
Moving onto the Global Operations function at West, its strategies are focused across the key areas of manufacturing strategy, global supply chain, process excellence, global procurement, and advanced manufacturing engineering. “One of the goals of our manufacturing strategy is to optimize the global footprint of our facilities, including the development of our capabilities and core competencies to ensure that our manufacturing processes are creating competitive advantage in the marketplace and delivering the highest quality products, on time, with efficient lead times, all in a safe environment,” said David.WPS 178 a

“Our integrated global supply chain strategy facilitates a sustainable and efficient supply of products through optimizing the utilization of all our global manufacturing facilities and assets. This includes harmonization of our planning systems, driving market leading lead times, and an ability to efficiently scale when needed. We also offer redundancy of supply for customers who require risk mitigation by having multiple sites able to produce a product for them.

“Process excellence is another key focus area, which links to our integrated West Business System that I mentioned earlier – ensuring a customer-centered focus and efficient processes to meet and exceed the needs of our customers. At each of our global facilities we’ve implemented a lean daily management system, with common KPIs, and process improvement initiatives centered around value stream mapping, maturity modelling, Gembas, and lean kaizens which have become integral in our daily operations.

“We are always focusing on driving advanced manufacturing engineering,” David added. “This core competency provides early stage design considerations for manufacturability, ensuring lean principles, automation, and digital manufactured environments are established within our global plants, with our goal of driving towards zero defects and optimizing lead times.

“During the last three years we have seen that implementing this overall program and strategic initiatives have improved our ability as a company to be in an effective position to support our customers, as we strive for year over year improvement in our operations performance in our key KPIs of safety, quality, service, and cost.”

David noted how West’s strategy has also proven essential during the Covid-19 pandemic, before shedding light on how the business itself is playing a vital role in the race to develop an effective vaccine to the virus. “We are receiving requests for containment solutions for the development of vaccines for Covid-19, and our product offering, FluroTec®, is preferred by most customers having proven to be compatible with a variety of drug molecules, particularly in the area of vaccines.

“We are already the critical supplier of coated stoppers and seals for many pharmaceutical companies who are working on vaccines for Covid-19. We have been approached by our customers because of our reputation for certainty of supply for their manufacturing plants which is derived from our global scale and our ability to flex our operations. These customers are seeking components to support the development work, clinical trials, and potentially post-approval launches, and we are committed to scaling the production to meet our clients’ future volume requirements.

“We are also supplying primary packaging components for therapeutics used to treat Covid-19 patients. In addition, we are supplying critical components that are used in some of the diagnostic kit products that are being used to detect Covid-19.”

The urgent demand for a Coronavirus vaccine places a considerable amount of extra pressure on West and its clients, and this can magnify the challenges that come with any new product development. “Communication with customers is crucial, so we listen carefully to their needs, which can range from the material component selection, the biocompatibility, and the component requirements for storage, right up to the delivery platform. Vaccine formulation is challenging and the compatibility of the vaccine with the vial including containment features as well as the injecting device is integral to ensuring an accurate and efficacious dose based on the viscosity and the volume to be delivered,” David explained.

Improving patient lives
West is understandably proud to be part of the fight against Covid-19 and David described the West team’s response as ‘humbling’. “We’ve had two priorities at the outset. First to ensure the health and safety of all of our team members and second, to ensure we have our global plants executing and supplying product to our customers without interruption. Our team members have been outstanding and I am so proud of the high levels of engagement and a high sense of pride that exists in having the opportunity to significantly contribute to the health of our global patients in this Covid environment,” he added.

From speaking to David, as he described the integrated systems that West has introduced and the innovative products that it manufactures, it was apparent that creativity and invention are two areas of focus at West.

“We strive to continuously innovate, not only to further develop our product and service offerings, but also to create disruptive opportunities,” he confirmed. “We utilize an innovation process focused on the needs of patients and customers in seeking to understand the whole user experience. We also leverage rapid prototyping techniques and are constantly exploring new possibilities to accelerate our development times and allow our teams to learn an idea quickly and early.

“We have invested in several centers of excellence here in the U.S., in Europe, and in Asia Pacific as part of our evolving research and development strategy to support our global customers. Our global investment in R&D and innovation demonstrates our focus to deliver the most advanced packaging and delivery systems designed to meet our customers’ growing demands.”

As West approaches its 100th anniversary, David is confident in the long-term prospects of the injectable drug market and predicts new therapies in clinical trials to be predominantly injectable drugs, especially biologics and large molecules. “These sensitive drugs, particularly in the Biologics areas, require some of our highest value product components and delivery platforms,” he said. “So, we will maintain our focus on the primary containment and delivery of injectable drugs. We will continue to scale our worldwide manufacturing footprint to meet future demand, while raising the bar on our industry leading quality and service levels, and we will operate more efficiently and open up opportunities to add more innovative products. Overall, we will always be guided by our mission and that is to provide products and therapies that improve patient lives.”

West Pharmaceutical Services, Inc.
Products & Services: Leading manufacturer of packaging components and delivery systems for injectable drugs and healthcare products
www.westpharma.com

CROnsrud

U.S.-based CNC manufacturer C.R. Onsrud vertically integrated its CNC plant to streamline manufacturing and expand its product line.

By Staci Davidson, Knighthouse Media

It’s no secret that manufacturing technologies and processes are evolving faster than ever before. Fueled by the relentless pursuit for a competitive advantage, cabinetry shops, aerospace companies, RV manufacturers, boat builders and more are all looking for an edge over their competition. For some, this edge has come in the form of implementing CNC machinery to help automate their manufacturing process.

Manufacturing Today recently spoke with North American CNC manufacturer C.R. Onsrud to get the inside scoop as to how it has grown to become the leading American manufacturer of CNC routers and CNC machining centers for thousands of companies across the globe, and done so while maintaining its reputation for quality and service.

DISTRAN2

DIS-TRAN Steel builds strong client relationships with its dedicated staff and continuous improvement.

By Staci Davidson, Knighthouse Media

DIS-TRAN Steel, a wholly owned subsidiary of Crest Industries, LLC, has been family owned and operated since it was founded in 1965 and believes it will remain this way as long as it is in business. This speaks in part to the company’s internal, family-like culture, as well as to DIS-TRAN’s sense of service and dedication to its customers. By keeping clients’ best interests in mind and meeting agreements that it promised, DIS-TRAN Steel continues to be a provider of choice for electric utilities, users of electrical power and general industry.

COLOURS GO 58

Colours Inc.’s new headquarters and warehouse has boosted its efficiency.

By Alan Dorich, Knighthouse Media

When people look at a car or truck, one of the first things they immediately notice is the color. The majestic hue of a vehicle’s paint job can be a major factor in how it makes an impression, and Colours Inc. plays an important part in that process.

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