Johnson Matthey’s Medical Device Components—5Qs at Medica/CompaMed 2022

By Sean Fenske, Editor-in-Chief | 11.14.22

Sharing its expertise in micromachining, platinum group metals, and nitinol manufacturing with medical device firms.

It’s been quite the hiatus since attending the Medica and CompaMed trade shows in Dusseldorf, Germany. My last visit to the event was 2019, prior to all the disruption created by the COVID-19 pandemic. With renewed enthusiasm, I was anxious to get back onto the show floor to meet with those companies attending the 2022 event. In anticipation of my visit, I reached out to a number of companies to get the scoop directly from them on what they are showcasing at the event, what challenges customers have brought them, and where they see their role within the industry in aiding medical device manufacturers. With that in mind, Donald Freeman, managing director of the Medical Device Components business of Johnson Matthey, shared the following insights to help you determine if the firm should be a potential services partner for you in 2023 or beyond.
Sean Fenske: What technology or service are you emphasizing at Medica/CompaMed this year?
Donald Freeman: Johnson Matthey has been a world leader in precious metals fabrication and metals management for over 200 years. But as the Medical Device Components (MDC) business of Johnson Matthey, we really focus on the precision manufacturing techniques and technologies where our precious metals and nitinol can be applied to complex and miniaturized medical devices. We are always pushing the boundaries with our array of micromachining techniques to achieve tighter tolerances in smaller packages. We’re especially excited to announce the opening of our Nitinol Center of Excellence in Mexicali, Mexico, firmly positioning us as a significant growth partner for medical device OEMs who utilize this unique, smart metal alloy.
Fenske: What’s the most common challenge customers inquire about and how do you address it?
Freeman: Our customers are consistently looking for the highest quality product, with outstanding capacity management and on-time delivery, at the best available price point. At MDC, these goals are achieved through a culture of continuous improvement and capital investment. We are proud to have market-leading process technologies that allow us to meet the many growth demands of our customers. Our team works hard to establish honest, collaborative partnerships with them to help them reach their future goals. The best of these partnerships turn into win-win scenarios for both parties, as exemplified by our recent capital investments in San Diego and our new Mexicali facility.
Fenske: If you could give one piece of advice to companies seeking a manufacturing partner before they make a decision, what would it be?
Freeman: We would encourage our customers to engage with a manufacturing partner well before designs are frozen. Most manufacturing partners can provide good insight into specifications and tolerances, and including this feedback back into device component designs can help with scale and pricing down the road when volumes increase. This is an area where MDC really tries to differentiate itself, as we have an expansive team of engineers regularly providing design for manufacturability (DFM) recommendations to customers early in the commercial feasibility stages before device validations even begin. We’ve demonstrated, in several instances, that early engagement with MDC can not only drive out unnecessary manufacturing costs for our customers, but can also enhance quality levels and help to stabilize supply chains.
Fenske: What are the forces driving medical device manufacturers to seek your technology/services over doing it in-house?
Freeman: MDC’s expertise is with platinum group metals (PGM) and nitinol manufacturing. The process of melting, extruding, fabricating, recycling, and refining PGMs like platinum, iridium, palladium, and tungsten are extremely specialized and MDC is one of only a few companies globally with the unique infrastructure to support these technologies. With this uniqueness comes expensive capital investments that, by outsourcing to a manufacturing partner like MDC, customers can avoid and instead focus their spending on internal device development, cutting-edge R&D, and sales and marketing. From a nitinol perspective, our opening of the Mexicali facility provides a low cost country option for nitinol tubing and sheet production. MDC is the only medical device contract manufacturer with our breadth and expertise that manufactures nitinol tubing and sheet in an LCC environment. The benefits to our customers will be felt tangibly, and we’re excited for them to realize these benefits in the upcoming years.
Fenske: In what ways is your company able to aid in getting a product (project) to market faster?
Freeman: With niche materials such as PGM precious metals and nitinol, it’s not easy finding a manufacturing partner with expertise in raw materials, fabrication techniques, and an understanding of the medical device market. That’s where MDC comes in, where we’ve been focused on these fundamental areas for several decades, so a customer can trust they are working with an experienced partner that truly knows the nuances of precious metal and nitinol components. MDC can be that stable, reliable cog in their supply chain, helping to get their device to market faster—we’ve been consistently delivering results for the leading medtech companies and beyond for years. Looking beyond manufacturing, our ecommerce strategy is increasingly becoming a bigger focus for us as we service the needs of quick-turn development projects. Our online stores at and have grown rapidly, highlighting the utility of “on-demand” PGM and nitinol components. Because of this recent success, we’re continuing to build-out our catalog of component SKUs on our online stores, allowing more customers to launch more devices faster and more reliably.
Johnson Matthey Medical Device Components is located at Medica/Compamed in Hall 8B, Booth/Stand H16.