Staying Connected - May 2012

Affinity Celebrates 15 Year Anniversary

Affinity celebrated its 15th anniversary on Friday, May 18th, 2012.

The Affinity team - May 2012

The highlight of the anniversary party was the presentations given by long-time Affinity team members.  Bob Frank talked about founding the company in 1997 and the how he and Mary Phillipp struggled to chose a name for their new company.  After many hours “Affinity Medical Technologies” was the name they chose.

Mayuri Patel started in production
in 1998 and is now one of
Affinity’s project engineers

Kevin Kom talked about being hired as the company’s first employee and setting-up the first production facility in 1997.  “We leased a 5,000 square foot building that basically had four walls.  One of my first jobs was setting up dividers to separate the offices from production and production from shipping and receiving.”

Mayuri Patel joined Affinity in 1998, working in production.  She talked about her first day at Affinity when she was one of about ten employees.  Mayuri has grown with Affinity and is now one of the company’s project engineers.

Candy Golding had worked with Mary and Bob at Tronomed before it was sold and moved.  She told about her decision to join Affinity in 1999 when the company had 26 employees.  “Orders were so scarce that we did a “Happy Dance” every time we received one!”

Pedro and Mirna Salinas talk about
the early days of Affinity

Flor Ross was the next to speak.  She recounted that Affinity was so small when she applied in 2000 that Mary Phillipp gave her the application.  Flor remembered her first day working at Affinity when Kevin gave her a large order of DIN “tails” to solder.

Pedro and Mirna Salinas joined Affinity in 2001.  They talked about the tremendous growth that they have experienced as well as how production changed when lean manufacturing was embraced nearly five years ago.  “Our quality is higher now that we practice one-piece-flow,” said Pedro.

Sue Alessi remembers
her first Affinity picnic

Finally, Sue Alessi, Affinity’s Material Manager, talked about joining Affinity in 2002 after the Tyco plant she worked at was closed.  Sue attended the company’s 5th anniversary party even though she had not actually started working for Affinity.  “It was great to see the camaraderie and it made me confident that I had made the right decision to join Affinity.

Mary thanked the group for making Affinity the company that it is today.  “We would not have enjoyed the success that we have had without your hard work and dedication,” said Mary.  “I appreciate each and every one of you.”

Affinity Beginnings

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 together at Tronomed, a large cable manufacturer that moved out of state after being acquired.  Mary was the President of Tronomed and Bob worked in both sales and engineering.

Affinity founders Bob Frank
and Mary Phillipp

Affinity’s first production facility
was only 5,000 sq. ft.

When the new owners of Tronomed announced that production would be moved to New Jersey, Mary and Bob realized that service to their 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 else out there,” said Mary.  “We knew from personal experience what customers wanted and we knew that we could give it to them.”

Affinity’s Irvine plant -  the company’s
home from 2001 to 2011

Affinity started business in a 400 square foot office in Orange County California, but within a few months moved to a 5,000 square foot production facility nearby.  Increased demand from OEM customers caused Affinity to move again in less than three years.  Affinity’s new home was a 24,000 square foot building near John Wayne Airport.  Continued growth meant that in February 2011 Affinity moved again to a new and much larger building in Costa Mesa.  “What we really gained was a much, much larger production area,” said Mary.  “We also increased the size of our test lab, lunch room and training room.  We have enough space in our new building to continue to grow”

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.”

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.

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

While other manufactures have moved manufacturing to Mexico or Asia, Affinity still manufactures virtually all of its products in the U.S.  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.  We try to design products that minimize labor and also are not operator dependent.  This gives us both a cost and quality advantage,” said Bob.

“One of the reasons that Affinity continues to grow is that many of our customers have decided to source their products in the U.S. after experiencing problems with manufacturing in Asia or Mexico,” said Hank Mancini.  “In the past three years, nearly half of our new business is for products that had been manufactured offshore and that we are now producing domestically”

Affinity OEM Partners

At its first year anniversary, Affinity had 14 customers.  Fifteen years later, the number is well 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 16th 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 customer partners or the high quality standards we set for ourselves,” said Affinity CEO Mary Phillipp.

Custom Connector Integrated Into Case

The Affinity engineering team is often asked to design custom connectors for OEM partners.  Occasionally, we are asked to integrate the connector design into the device case.  Unlike many connector manufacturers, Affinity engineers are not tied to any particular connector design and have the freedom to offer a true custom solution.

Custom connector designed by
Affinity engineering team

Custom connector integrated into case of
ambulatory monitoring device

In this example, one of the important design considerations was integrating the connector into the side of the case for an ambulatory monitoring device.  Eight contacts were used to provide a variety of ECG lead configurations.  The desired retention force of the non-locking connector was achieved by selecting pins and sockets with specific retention force and careful design of the plastic interface.

If you are considering a custom connector, let the Affinity engineering team help.  We have the experience and expertise to design and manufacture a connector that meets your specific requirements.

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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 15th anniversary, Kevin Kom also celebrates his 15th 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 five 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 setting-up office cubicles in 1997

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.”

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 was responsible for
laying-out of Affinity’s new plant

“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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Announcements and Trivia

Orville & Wilber’s “Flying Machine”
was patented in May 1906
– image source Wikipedia

Marmon Wasp – first car to win the
500 mile Indianapolis race with a
time of just under 7 hours
– image source Wikipedia

Waiting in a taxi line after robbing
a bank is not a good idea!



Patent for Flying Machine - Orville and Wilber Wright completed their original patent application themselves in 1903.  After it was rejected, they hired a patent attorney and On May 22, 1906 they received U.S. patent 821393 for a “Flying Machine.”

Indianapolis 500 - On May 30th, 1911 Indianapolis hosted its first long distance auto race.  The length of the race was said to be determined by the speed of the cars at the time.  Five hundred miles was expected to take about seven hours.  Race supporters thought that was about the longest time fans would stay to watch an auto race!  This year’s race was won by Dario Franchitti in 2 hours, 58 minutes!

Bank Robber Escape Foiled
- On May 11, 1993 police in Sao Paulo, Brazil arrested Rodrigo Almeida.  He was standing outside of the bank he’d just robbed and was waiting in line for a taxi to make his getaway!  Rodrigo foiled his own escape!


Caffeine in Chocolate - An ounce of bittersweet chocolate contains between 5 and 10 milligrams of caffeine.  By contrast, there are 100 to 150 milligrams of caffeine in an eight-ounce cup of brewed coffee. You would have to eat more than a dozen chocolate bars to get the same amount of caffeine in one cup of coffee.

Pencil with Eraser – We may take for granted the invention of Hymen Lipman.  In 1858 he registered the first patent for a pencil with an attached eraser - U.S. Patent #19783, which allowed a user to make a mistake and easily correct it.

Boeing 747 – The Boeing 747 was the world's first “jumbo jet” and the largest passenger jet from 1970 until 2005.  Boeing has manufactured over 1,400 747’s and the 400 and 800 series are the world's fastest operating airliners with a cruise speed of 567 mph.  Long-range versions of the 747 can fly non-stop over 8,000 nautical miles, a third of the distance around the globe!  The newest variant, the 747-800, has a maximum take-off weight of 975,000 lbs (442,500 kg).

Top Ice Cream Flavors – In the U.S. the top 5 popular ice cream flavors are:

  1. Vanilla
  2. Chocolate
  3. Butter pecan
  4. Strawberry
  5. Neapolitan