From manufacturing the musical inner workings of electric home organs in the 1960s to auto injectors today that can block a life-threatening allergic reaction, Kimball Electronics’ legacy in Indiana is deep and diversified. But even Kimball’s customers perhaps overlook its might in the medical industry. “The ‘Electronics’ can sometimes throw people off a little bit,” says one company leader. In fact, medical products comprise 30% to 40% of its business, and the Jasper-based manufacturer is introducing Kimball Medical Solutions to make sure the world knows it.
“Considering our whole package of value, we think the medical segment especially didn’t really see that we went well beyond electronics,” says Kimball Vice President of Diversified Contract Manufacturing Services Lee Kemper. “So we wanted to launch a brand that says Kimball Electronics goes well beyond just pure play electronics.”
The launch of Kimball Medical Solutions comes on the heels of a record-setting year; the Dubois County manufacturer recently reported full-year net income of $57 million, and total revenue for fiscal year 2021 was $1.3 billion.
Kimball’s electronics manufacturing services is likely what Hoosiers—and customers—are most familiar with, but the company has been flexing its muscle in the medical sector since 1999. Kemper says Kimball Medical Solutions highlights its ability to be “your single source provider” in the medical manufacturing market—from sourcing the parts and manufacturing the products to making sure they arrive sterilized and ready in the surgical suite, for example.
Kimball’s diversified contract manufacturing services has expertise in metal and plastic products, scientific injection molding and drug delivery devices. Kimball’s Indianapolis facility produces medical devices, including auto-injectors; these are combination products (composed of both a drug and a device) that a person or caregiver can inject with no training.
“We manufacture millions of auto-injectors per year right here in Indianapolis that can save patients’ lives [in the case of] life-threatening allergies,” says Kemper.
The high-tech Indianapolis operation also makes orthopedic surgical kits, which contain the device and any surgical instruments needed during the procedure.
“We provide the kit—all the components and medical devices needed for that procedure—and that tray goes into the surgical suite,” says Kemper. “We source and manufacture those parts…kit those in a clean room, and those are all sterilized. We manage that process, then we send [the kits] directly to a distribution center, which then sends those into the surgical suite.”
Kimball Medical Solutions also highlights the company’s experience in automation, test and measurement, which are valuable in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors.
“We can provide the equipment for you to manufacture your products and have the software solutions to be able to ensure from an automated standpoint that those products are going to work flawlessly,” says Kemper. “That’s the messaging; being a single source partner for all your medical manufacturing needs.”
Kemper says that central theme helps present its capabilities to customers as a “package” that can ultimately increase the speed to market.
“So you can come to us as your single source provider to ensure your product is manufactured, 100% perfect, getting to you, getting to the patient, but you don’t have to deal with other companies,” says Kemper. “We can get the electronics, do the plastics, metals and supply chain activities. We also have the equipment that can produce the product, as well as measure it.”
As Kimball Medical Solutions reframes how the company presents its medical capabilities to the customer, Kemper says ‘Kimball’ provides important name recognition and honors the company’s legacy—a homegrown Hoosier business that has grown to have global reach.
“Kimball is celebrating its 60th year,” says Kemper. “Kimball Medical Solutions branding is solidifying a connection to a very large piece of our business that is purely medical. The Kimball name stands the test of time, and we wanted to make sure we had ‘Kimball’ associated with anything that we do.”
Kemper says the Indianapolis campus has end-to-end manufacturing capabilities, including cold chain.
Kemper says Kimball has “fared much better than our competition” weathering the microchip shortage.