Source: Nautilus

Med-Fit Systems, Inc. manufacturer of Nautilus® commercial fitness products, recently added a new, 1 million dollar Trumpf 3030 laser to its 300,000 square foot manufacturing plant in Independence, Virginia.

The 31,000 pound German engineered /made in the US flatbed laser complements the existing automated tube laser and robotic welding machinery in the modern facility.

Concurrent with the purchase of the new laser, Med-Fit Systems announced the hiring of fifteen to twenty additional manufacturing associates. Existing manufacturing associates will also have the opportunity to learn a new skill and earn a higher wage.

"Worldwide demand for our products is strong," stated Dean Sbragia, CEO of Med-Fit Systems. "The addition of the new machinery and personnel will allow us to accommodate growth and produce even higher quality products. Our new 10 series cardio and innovative K2 vertical climber are major contributors to our growth, and the new Trumpf laser enhances our ability to expand both our strength and cardio production capability."

Med-Fit Systems purchased substantially all of Nautilus' commercial assets in February 2010. Since acquisition, Med- Fit has brought back to the USA the manufacturing of all its commercial cardio and strength products, of which many were being built in mainland China and Taiwan.

"We can compete with anyone in the world" noted Sean Smith, Med-Fit Systems' COO. "Our workforce averages nearly twenty years' experience. We are already operational 24 hours a day Monday through Friday. With this latest expansion, we are now adding more employees and a third weekend shift, making our manufacturing facility open and creating American-made products for 140 of 168 hours each week. That is just shy of 24/7 and enables us to efficiently meet the demand for our product."

Smith continued, "With our laser work now in-house, we can create "inventory on demand", rather than ordering in bulk. This allows us to cut excess inventory costs and improve our already very strong 'lean' ethic."

Terry Hensley, longtime Plant Manager stated, "I am very encouraged, as many of our employees are, by our commitment to grow our business with the investment in new capital equipment. The purchase of a new flat bed laser and press brake will further enhance our manufacturing capability and enable us to improve our level of quality and service to our customers. Morale here at the plant is high as our employees, many of whom have worked here for 30+ years, are seeing the company reinvigorated and investing another 1 million dollars into improved manufacturing."

Greg Webb, Vice President of Engineering and 32 year employee at Nautilus® commercial remarked on the production improvements that will come with the laser. "This new laser makes us more efficient because we will no longer be forced to wait on outside vendors to turn around product. We used to have to wait two to three weeks, but now we can do it in our own facility in one or two days, using this high precision CNC (Computer Numerical Control) cutting. Having that type of brand new modern precision gives you a very nice product and bringing it in-house reduces cost."

On the benefit of the laser in accuracy and prototyping new equipment, Webb stated, "The new laser will be able to create new parts so much more quickly and more precisely. In the past, we used a plasma cutter for prototypes. This new laser will have much more precision and will be able to turn our prototypes and prototype improvements around with more speed."

The new Trumpf laser will also enable the ecologically conscientious company to manufacture their products greener. The laser will enable the company to use more water and steam rather than chemicals. This will leave a smaller carbon footprint, will use far less energy and chemicals, and will produce far less waste.

Sean Smith commented, "We have made and continue to make significant improvements across the board in manufacturing, many of which fall into the 'green' category."

Nautilus® commercial fitness appears to be surging into 2013, fulfilling their motto of "Stronger Than Ever."

About Med-Fit Systems, Inc. In 2010, Med-Fit Systems, a twenty-four year old physical therapy and senior care products provider, acquired the commercial fitness equipment division from Nautilus®, Inc. Since that acquisition, the company has resurrected the iconic American brand and also purchased the SportKAT company. Manufacturing for SportKAT products was moved to the Independence, VA facility and manufacturing of Nautilus® commercial cardio and freeweights was brought back from China to Virginia. All products manufactured by Med-Fit Systems are made in the USA, in their Independence, VA facility. For media inquiries or for more information about Med-Fit Systems, manufacturer of Nautilus® commercial fitness and SportKAT balance assessment products, contact Regina West, rwest@medfitsys.com.

Emily Attwood is Managing Editor of Athletic Business.