- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

BETHEL, Conn. (AP) - Memry Corp., a local manufacturer that produces medical implants and surgical instruments from super alloys, recently completed a major expansion that increased its capacity by a third.

The $8 million project was funded in part by a $2.7 million incentive package from the state Department of Economic and Community Development. Up to $1.3 million of the loan is forgivable if the company retains its 153 employees while adding another 76 workers to its ranks by November 2017.

The company is already nearing the goal with more than 50 new employees who have been hired less than a month after completing the new expansion -a near 25 percent increase in their staffing levels. The new space and manufacturing capacity was needed, company officials said, to continue meeting explosive growth for parts like blood clot filters and stints that are made from nickel titanium and implanted into the body.

“Our customers will take as much as we can produce,” said John Tommessilli, the director of operations for the company.

The company added about 15,000 square feet to their existing 30,000 square-foot headquarters and manufacturing facility located in the Berkshire Corporate Park.

Stephen Bull, president of the Greater Danbury Chamber of Commerce, said it’s encouraging when a government program that provides incentives for business does so “in such a robust manner for a value-added company like Memry.”

“There are certain cluster industries that we want to keep here that offer higher paying jobs and are the value-added services that a high-cost state like Connecticut needs,” he said. “I applaud the state and applaud Memry for staying here expanding and creating those jobs.”

Tommessilli noted that areas of the new space and some of the new employees were specifically needed to help meet the growing demand of bloodclot filters made by the company, one of the largest producers of nickel titanium components in the world and one of the top producers for the medical industry for products using the super alloy. Nitinol, another name for the nickel titanium alloy, has unique properties that allow the metal to maintain, or remember its shape.

Nearly 95 percent of the components produced by Memry are used in medical devices from the pulmonary fields to neurosurgery. The company also produces a small quantity of products for the aerospace and automotive industries.

“This expansion is a strategic investment to maintain our leadership in the manufacturing of complex Nitinol components and address the growing needs of the medical device industry,” company CEO Nicola Di Bartolemeo said when news of the expansion was first announced.

Tommessilli said the state funding was used in part to help offset construction costs as well as purchase new equipment that’s needed to keep up with demand including a five-axis machine - at a cost of more than $200,000 - that can cut the tooling required to make the products. Prior to purchasing the machine, much of the tooling was done by hand.

“Our space was really maxed out before,” said Marcy Macdonald, Memry’s vice president of human resources. “We didn’t have any more space for new equipment. Now we are well positioned for future growth.”

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