Northeast Indiana, with its largest city being Fort Wayne (seen above), may strike many as mostly a land of corn fields. Even driving through these parts, a passerby may not realize this is a major hub for medical device manufacturing. Warsaw, Indiana, a short drive from Fort Wayne, is known as “The Orthopedic Capital”. Most of the orthopedic implants used in the United States, such as hips, knees, plates, and screws, are manufactured within this corner of Indiana. Northeast Indiana is responsible for the majority of the world’s hips and knees, so if you have one, it’s probably made by a few very experienced machinists who call this area home. We were invited by Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, an economic development group, to visit companies that are great examples of the craftsmanship going on in this part of the Midwest and to learn why they decided to locate here.
The ortho industry in Warsaw began in 1895 when Revra DePuy founded DePuy Manufacturing to produce fiber splints. In 1927, an employee of Mr. DePuy, Justin O. Zimmer, founded his own splint manufacturing firm in Warsaw to build aluminum splints. The companies that carry these men’s names are still in Warsaw, but now they’re huge multi-national firms that sell knees, hips, and all kinds of other devices.