By Jennifer Kotila
COKATO, MN VitalDyne, a medical device manufacturer, recently moved its headquarters from Waverly to Cokato due to the need for more space. It is located in the building which formerly housed Paisley Consulting near Olson Boulevard on US Highway 12.
The building in Cokato has a large, open central space that was perfect to create a Class 7 clean room, which is needed when manufacturing sterile medical devices.
Owned by Mike and Mariellyn Kuske, of Waverly, and Michelle Zuelzke, of Watertown, the company has 45 full-time employees, most of them from Cokato, Dassel, and Waverly.
The company contracts with larger companies to develop and manufacture implantable medical devices for orthopedic, cardiac, urological, and other surgical procedures, including components used in neurostimulation devices, spinal implants, medical instrumentation, and more.
The company was formed in 2000 manufacturing components for the medical device industry, with the vision that it would finish assemblies, according to Zuelzke.
It is still a growing company, focusing on new products and technology, and providing cutting-edge technology for the medical industry, she said.
“We probably won’t ever make a million of any part. Our goal is to look at the technology, and drive the technology with our partners,” she added.
VitalDyne uses a variety of different lasers to build components for medical devices, and the company has continually added more capabilities.
“We don’t just make one piece. We build it all the way to sterile, and send it to the hospital,” Zuelzke said.
VitalDyne works with companies that mold and machine the different components of medical devices, assembles the device at its facility using laser welding and cutting, and also provides serialization for the devices.
The components employees work with are very small devices, or micro-components. “Pretty much everything is done under a microscope or in a magnified environment,” Zuelzke noted.
All the manufacturing is completed in the clean room, which is a controlled environment. Employees are not allowed to wear make-up, and are required to wear clean smocks and hair bonnets.
Because of the nature of the work, employees must have good dexterity and the ability to work with small items. Some also must have the ability to program lasers or CAD/CAM (computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacturing) training.
Since quality is the number-one focus at VitalDyne, noted Zuelzke, the company also looks for employees with medical device or quality-control experience.
“The medical device industry is booming, and Minneapolis has a market for medical devices,” Zuelzke said, noting some of VitalDyne’s customers are Medtronic and Boston Scientific.
However, the company also serves industry clients in other US states and internationally.
Another facility for VitalDyne is located in Milan, with six full-time employees.