Staying Connected - May 2010

Affinity Medical Celebrates 13th Anniversary

Affinity celebrated its 13th anniversary on Monday, May 17th, 2010.  In order to allow all Affinity team members to celebrate, second shift team members were brought in early to overlap with a late lunch for the first shift. 

Mary Phillipp, Affinity founder and President, spoke to the group and showed how the company grew from two employees in May, 1997 to over 170 employees in May, 2010.


Team Affinity on 13th Anniversary

Affinity Beginnings


Affinity founders Bob Frank
and Mary Phillipp

Affinity was founded in 1997 by Mary Phillipp and her husband Dave Johnson, Bob Frank, and two outside investors.  Before founding Affinity, both Mary and Bob worked for Tronomed, a large cable manufacturer that moved out of state after being acquired by a conglomerate.  Mary was the President for Tronomed and Bob worked for Mary in various sales and engineering positions.

When the new owners of Tronomed announced that production would be moved to New Jersey, Mary and Bob realized that customers would suffer.  They saw it as an opportunity to establish a new company and offer a level of service not found within the industry.  “We just knew we could do a better job than anyone out there,” said Mary Phillipp.  “We knew from personal experience what customers wanted and we knew that we could give it to them.”


Affinity plant in Irvine California

Affinity started business in a 400 square foot office but within a few months moved to a 5,000 square foot production facility.  Increased demand from OEM customers caused Affinity to move again in less than three years to the 24,000 square foot building it now occupies.  Affinity is located near John Wayne Airport in Orange, County California and operates two production shifts.

Differentiating Affinity

When Mary and Bob started the company, they knew they would have to differentiate Affinity from their larger and more established competitors.  By focusing on building personal relationships, giving excellent service and manufacturing the highest quality products; Affinity has grown and prospered.

“Mary makes it a priority to visit our OEM partners as often as possible,” said Business Development Manager, Hank Mancini.  “She wants our customers to know her and know that she appreciates their business.  She also wants our customers to know that she is available and personally committed to their satisfaction.”


Affinity earned ISO certification
in its first year of operation

To add immediate legitimacy to their new company, Mary and Bob made it a priority to achieve ISO certification quickly.  The Affinity team worked long hours and achieved ISO certification within nine months of beginning operations.

Another early priority at Affinity was the investment of time and money in an in-house test lab.  “Being able to offer in-house test services to our OEM partners is another way we differentiate Affinity from our competitors,” said Bob Frank. “We not only test the products we build, but often do baseline testing of cables manufactured by others.  Being able to get test results quickly benefits both Affinity and our customers.”

Made in the U.S.A.

While other manufactures have moved manufacturing to Mexico or Asia, Affinity still manufactures virtually all of its products in Irvine, California.  When asked how Affinity can compete with foreign suppliers, Bob Frank replied “When we design an interconnect system, we do our best to engineer the labor out of it.  When you build products that are labor intensive, you not only open the door to variations in product quality but also make it easier for competitors in Asia and Mexico.  We try to design products that minimize labor and are not operator dependent.  This gives us both a cost and quality advantage,” said Bob Frank.


Affinity’s Irvine, California plant offers the
many advantages of domestic production

“One of the reasons our business is strong is that many of our new customers have decided to buy domestically after experiencing problems sourcing in Asia,” said Hank Mancini.  There is a saying in the industry that seems to be proving true.  Offshore manufacturers can offer a good price, high quality or fast delivery – pick one.  At Affinity, we do our best to offer our OEM partners all three and it seems to be paying off.

Innovative Engineering

Another reason for Affinity’s success has been its innovative product designs.  “We manufacture many cable assemblies and connectors based on our customers’ designs.  But, we really get excited when we are called in at the beginning of a project and can use our talent and experience to enhance their ideas,” said Bob Frank.  “The Affinity engineering team likes challenges.  We love it when we are able to offer an innovative design and cost effective solution to our OEM partners,” said Bob.


A few examples of innovative Affinity designs

Our OEM Partners

At its first year anniversary, Affinity had 14 customers.  Thirteen years later, the number is over 200 and includes just about every major medical device manufacturer.  “We grow because our OEM partners like the way we do business” said Mary Phillipp.  “Because we are privately held, we make every decision with an eye on the long term success of the company.  Our customers seem to show their approval of how we operate by trusting us to manufacture their products.”

As Affinity embarks on its fourteenth year, the company is committed to upholding the high standards it set for itself when founded.  “We’re not going to waver on our commitment to our OEM partners or the high quality standards we set for ourselves,” said Affinity CEO Mary Phillipp.

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Meet Kevin Kom - Manager of Manufacturing and Facilities


Kevin Kom – Affinity Manager of
Manufacturing and Facilities

As Affinity Medical celebrates its 13th anniversary, Kevin Kom also celebrates his 13th anniversary with the company.  In fact, Kevin was the first employee hired by company founders, Mary Phillipp and Bob Frank.

Kevin’s experience manufacturing medical cables started over twenty years ago when he supervised molding and facilities at Tronomed.  Kevin worked with Mary and Bob at Tronomed until that company was acquired and production moved out of state.

Kevin joined Affinity in July, 1997.  His first job was to move the fledgling company from its start-up offices to a 5,000 square foot production facility.  When asked about what his early responsibilities were Kevin replied, “I was responsible for just about everything except engineering, finance and sales!  It seems like only yesterday that Bob and I were setting up the production area.”


Kevin reviewing molding
with Raul Ramirez

Kevin says that he learned early in his career that understanding tool design is important to successfully manufacturing molded parts.  “The Affinity engineering team always consults with Kevin before we finalize tool design,” said Bob Frank.  “Kevin understands tool design, our equipment, the materials we use, and how they all play a role in the parts we mold.”

Kevins also has a background in equipment maintenance.  This has allowed him to implement procedures that have resulted in Affinity operating with almost zero equipment down time.

Besides being responsible for moving to a new facility, Kevin was a key member of the Affinity team that achieved ISO certification only nine months after beginning operation.  He is also responsible for Affinity’s outstanding on-time delivery performance.


Kevin leads Affinity
plant safety training

“Even though the number of products Affinity manufactures has grown every year, Kevin still knows every cable that we build.  He knows the work cells they are built in and the steps it takes to build every cable,” commented Affinity Business Development Manager, Hank Mancini.

When asked what he likes best about being part of Affinity, he replied, “I love being part of a team that gets along and gets things done.  Mary and Bob set such a high standard for integrity that there’s just no internal politics.  It makes working here fun.”

Kevin was born and raised in Southern Idaho.  When he relocated to Southern California in 1984, he said, “I had never seen a city larger than Boise Idaho.  I liked the weather in Southern California and I also enjoyed the faster pace of life.”

When not working at Affinity, Kevin is very involved in activities with his two children, Katie and Tyler.  Kevin and his wife, Davina, enjoy family camping but Kevin’s passion is fishing.  Kevin is a life-long and avid fisherman, something he says he “learned from his Dad.”

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Field Termination Kit

Occasionally, it may be desirable or even necessary to update cables in the field with a new connector.  This can happen when a manufacturer introduces a new device yet has a large installed base of cables with an incompatible connector.  One option is to replace all of the cables in the field with a new cable assembly.

Another option is to modify cables in the field by adding a new connector.  For this to be a viable option, changing the connector needs to be easily accomplished and the modified cable needs to meet all performance, safety and regulatory requirements.


Components of Affinity designed
Field Termination Kit


Field assembled connector has the
look and feel of a molded connector

Affinity has designed and manufactured Field Termination Kits.  Each is designed to be installed by either the manufacturer’s service team or a biomedical engineer.  The field installed connector is designed so that once terminated at the cable and assembled, it is difficult to remove or disassemble.  The finished assembly has the look, feel and performance of an overmolded connector.

If you would like more information or a sample of a Field Termination Kit, contact the Affinity Customer Care team at 1+ 949-477-9495 or email at Customercare2@affinitymed.com.

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Announcements, Information, and Trivia


Dyed blue with indigo,
jeans became the iconic
clothing item of the 20th century

Jeans

Though workmen had worn trousers called “waist overalls” for decades, what we now call jeans were invented in 1873 by two immigrants, Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss.

Like jeans, waist overalls were made of denim, a cotton twill material dyed blue with indigo.  The problem with waist overalls was that the pockets were too easily ripped or torn.  Jacob Davis, an immigrant tailor living in Nevada, came up with the idea of using rivets on the pockets to strengthen them.

Needing help to promote his idea, he partnered with dry-goods wholesaler Levi Strauss.  Together they filed for and received a patent for “Fastening Pocket Openings” in 1873.  For nearly twenty years, Levi Strauss was the only company allowed to produce riveted clothing.


Memorial Day honors
those who died while
in military service

Memorial Day – the last Monday in May

Memorial Day is observed in the United States on the last Monday of May as a federal holiday.

Memorial Day was formerly known as Decoration Day.  It honors U.S. soldiers, men and women, who died while in military service.  It was first enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War.

The alternative name of "Memorial Day" was first used in 1882, but was not declared the official name by law until 1967. In 1968, Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill which moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30th date to the last Monday in May, giving us a three-day weekend.

Affinity will be closed Monday, May 31st in honor of Memorial Day




Suzann Sitka, Cesar Jara and Candy Golding
- the Affinity Customer Care Team

Affinity Customer Care -
Hours of Operation

Affinity Medical Technologies Customer Care specialists are available to assist you from 7:00 A.M. until 4:00 P.M., U.S. Pacific Time, except holidays.

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Affinity Medical Technologies

1732 Reynolds Ave
Irvine, CA 92614  USA
Phone: +1 949 477 9495
Fax: +1 949 477 9499
Email: CustomerCare2@affinitymed.com
Website: www.affinitymed.com