Quality Magazine

The Real Manufacturers of Orange County

February 25, 2010
“California is a fine place to live, if you happen to be an orange,” according to Comedian Fred Allen. I can’t address the living situation, but it is a nice place to visit, particularly if you happen to be interested in manufacturing.



“California is a fine place to live, if you happen to be an orange,” according to Comedian Fred Allen.

I can’t address the living situation, but it is a nice place to visit, particularly if you happen to be interested in manufacturing. I recently returned from the Medical Device & Manufacturing (MD&M) West show in Anaheim.

Though I left Chicago in a snowstorm and left the first day of the show in a downpour, California provided a nice change of pace from Chicago’s winter and a happy reminder of the existence of palm trees.

MD&M West was co-located with six other shows: WestPack, Pacific Design & Manufacturing, Electronics West, Plastec West, Automation Technology Expo (ATX) and Green Manufacturing Expo.

The Anaheim Convention Center hall was massive-and full. Attendees had a chance to meet with many different suppliers featuring products, equipment, systems and services of interest to medical manufacturers.

At the front of the hall I noticed a banner for machine vision systems; naturally, I went to take a look. After speaking with the company president, I learned that the company deals mainly with food applications. He described their work detecting foreign particles in cans and other packages, and the minute sizes the machines can detect-including miniscule bits of chicken bones, for example.

Though the company’s application wasn’t high-resolution, it was high-speed, and the accuracy was impressive. We eaters often take the purity and safety of our food for granted, so it was nice to see that someone is looking out for us. As he said, no one wants to find a bone that shouldn’t be there.

In fact, bones seemed to be a common theme at the show. Another booth, where the company offered systems to inspect metal hip replacements, demonstrated bones being replicated. I would never have guessed that such a thin piece of metal was a replacement for a hip bone. It was fascinating to see the technology in action.

Seeing new things is one of the great perks of travel. While maximizing the resolution of images on your computer screen does have its uses, it just isn’t the same-and you are much less likely to run into old friends in the industry that way.

Have you seen anything interesting at conferences lately? If not, maybe it’s time to get out more.

To learn more and build industry relationships, you are just in time for the Quality Vision & Sensors Conference this month, to be held March 22 to 25 in Orlando, FL. Also, consider The Vision Show May 25 to 27 in Boston and Vision 2010 in Stuttgart, Germany, November 4 to 6.

If you didn’t make it to MD&M West, MD&M East will take place June 8 to 12, 2010, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York.

And for those of you who can’t get enough of Orange County and the surrounding area, you’re in luck. The Los Angeles area has plenty of shows to keep you busy, including Westec.

As winter winds down in Chicago this month, if your town is as icy as mine, be careful on those sidewalks. Those bones are fragile, and as advanced as new technology is at replacing them, it is always a good idea to stick with the originals.