Company Reports - ISC Engineering
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Molding the Future of Technology
Written by Nadia Ibanez & Produced by Sean Bakke
ISC Engineering equips its customers with outsource overmolding technology and the know-how needed to adapt the application to fit their industry. The company provides consulting, on-site training, tool design and development, along with engineering and technical marketing support for using its overmolding products.
ISC Engineering, which was founded in 1999, provides its worldwide customers with custom-molded cable assemblies and custom-overmolded interconnects for industries of almost every variety, including medical, industrial and electronics. With more than 2,500 molded cable designs and 1.5 million standard strain-relief products, ISC Engineering is a niche player with a massive customer base.
“As a niche player, we’re selling the know-how on using overmolding technology, rather than the actual product,” Steve Burk says, President of ISC Engineering. “Look at anything attached to an instrument or computer, or even the cables in a doctor’s office; this overmolding technology can be found almost everywhere.”
UNIQUENESS IN DESIGN
What makes ISC Engineering unique in its field is that a customer can contact the Company with a design they have in-mind and they have the option of getting that overmolding solution manufactured elsewhere. “We develop custom-designed service tool solutions for customers, and they can take the prototype and take it elsewhere to get produced,” he says.
“When customers find us, many of which come by word-of-mouth referrals, they’re pleased with our services because we offer a wide range of solutions from which to pick-and-choose what fits best. We’re not just trying to offer the production component of overmolding, but we’re more interested in the solution and how the customer can apply it themselves,” Burk says. “Many of our customers have been with us since our company was established.
The company's unique resources improve efficiency-times to better market their new products, while providing cost-effective results by integrating design, tooling strain-relief and assembly processes into one single solution for customers. Its business structure also allows original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers many broad choices for integrating custom-molded cables into their design and supply chain, which they might not otherwise have been able to accomplish.
These capabilities include molding “ends” for customers who do not have molding resources, molding custom strain-relief sections onto a customer cable-assembly, providing discrete molded accessory items to provide strain-relief for assembled connector ends, designing and fabricating custom and standard mould-tooling, and providing custom-molded assemblies to OEM users who are unable to get a solution otherwise on account of tooling and lot-size.
Some of ISC Engineering’s major customers include NovAtel, Savi Technologies, AmSafe, Kino Flo Lighting Systems, Enphase Energy and Coherent.
Beginning in 1990 and continuing through the early 2000s, the trend for manufacturing in the interconnect industry was towards Asia. However, Burk believes this trend may be changing. “During the past ten years, ISC has completed over 40 “in source” programs with large and small OEMs and contract manufacturers,” he says.
“These companies have installed more than 70 injection-molding machines in North America. This trend comes a result of the shift to vertically-integrated capabilities, because the needs of the customers have not been met by outsourcing methods. As more of the production capabilities left the shores of the U.S. and migrated to Asia, cost-needs may have been met, but service and time-to-market needs have been sacrificed.” Burk believes that companies around the world are now understanding the total cost of ownership and realizing that not all products cost less to be made in China.
ISC Engineering has maintained its business and profit-levels throughout the recession and increased its emphasis on continuing a business model as a solutions-provider, while also expanding its capabilities.
In thinking with green business practices, ISC Engineering has implemented new technology by integrating paperless production documentation, touch-screen devices for better efficiency, and new software platforms and production work-stations.
The Company’s engineering, tooling and design accounts for the bulk of the technological advances within ISC Engineering. “We’re focusing on injection-molding of products and embedded circuitry,” Burk says. “As cables get smarter and technological devices get smaller, we have to work on interconnecting cables and molding for easier use and implantation.”
Succession planning and developing the talent-base at ISC Engineering has helped the Company grow more seamlessly towards continued success in the industry. “As our senior team continues to turn the crank, we work hard to prepare for succession and plan for the future,” Burk says. “We have enlisted LionHeart Consulting to work with our middle management and team-leads to become more effective in their current leadership roles, while grooming themselves for the next level of responsibility.”
ISC Engineering also recently purchased and moved-into a larger building that doubled its capacity, and expanded its engineering and customer-service sectors. Burk is also noticing an increase in the demand for custom interconnects to be produced in the U.S.,and is encouraging rapid prototyping to become the norm for new product development.
ISC Engineering is currently working on creating devices to connect GPS-capabilities to the Hummers used in Iraq, in addition to working alongside Toyota to fix its accelerator problems. “We also worked with Apple, back in 1983, and made their first molded-cables,” Burk says. “Today, we have many medical projects in the works, especially on devices that assist in advanced wireless medical applications.”
“We are fueled by the increase in demand for products manufactured in the U.S. versus China, and our new facility and half–a-million-dollar investment in new CNC and injection-molding equipment will help us to maintain these demands,” Burk says.