The chairman and chief executive of NuVasive Inc., Greg Lucier, on Wednesday declared the company’s West Carrollton facility the “largest and most advanced spine medical device factory in the world.”
The plant on Liberty Lane is also “the finest factory I have ever been associated with,” Lucier said.
The plant is a former Motoman robotics factory. In 2013, NuVasive acquired ANZ Manufacturing, which led to the acquisition of a site in Fairborn off Xenia Drive. That was an early step in the opening of the West Carrollton plant.
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Then NuVasive leaders decided to have the company perform more of its own manufacturing.
“We looked at doing it outside the United States, honestly,” the CEO said. “We looked at different states other than Ohio.”
West Carrollton was just chosen some 18 months ago, and today, there are 135 employees at the site, with 100 still in Fairborn, waiting to be transferred to West Carrollton by year’s end, said Suzanne Hatcher, a spokeswoman for NuVasive.
And there are still 35 job openings to fill.
While the company did not allow photographs on its manufacturing floor during Wednesday’s grand opening event, the tour did show that NuVasive has plenty of room to grow. Steve Rosow, vice president of global operations at NuVasive, wouldn’t commit to higher employment numbers, but he said the site will have 100 “high-tech pieces of equipment” by the end of 2017. About 60 percent of that is in place today.
“This is just amazing, what you’ve done here,” West Carrollton Mayor Jeff Sanner told NuVasive leaders.
The company prides itself on creating flawless pieces and instruments that can be customized to individual human bodies.
“We engage with the bones, basically,” Rosow said. “Because of that, there are a lot of pieces and parts, and people come in all different kinds of sizes.”
That ability to customize “is really a manufacturer’s dream,” he added. “It’s not the same thing, day in and day out. It’s a lot of different stuff that you have to produce and put care into — and master.”
The company normally works with titanium and a high-performance polymer Rosow called “peek.”
Rather than focusing on making as many products as quickly as possible, the company has crafted a manufacturing process that allows it to focus on small batches, producing only what is needed for that day’s sales.