A Better Idea Creates a Business

It started out as an idea: Invent a device to straighten the human spine more easily. It ended up as a thriving medical-device business.

In 1982, inventor Ray Desjardins was delivering vinyl products to the National Research Council, when he noticed what they were working on. “I asked them, ‘Did you go to complexity college for this device?’ They asked if I could simplify it. I said, ‘Well, it certainly looks like I could.’ They were stainless-steel rod benders that allowed a doctor to bend rods to put into people’s spines. When someone is being operated on to straighten the spine, doctors need to have a way to bend a rod to the shape of the spine as part of the repair.

The initial systems were stainless rods, contoured to fit the spine and wired in place. A bender had to be capable of multiple complex bends. The original device was capable, but it was comprised of 44 components and weighed over 50 lbs. Desjardins reduced the components to twelve, and 12 lbs.

Desjardins started Terray Corporation in Arnprior, Canada and began manufacturing rod benders. Later, the company graduated to implantable medical devices. The company opened shop with a lathe and later added a mill, along with Mastercam software for design work and toolpath generation.

Today, Terray Corp. has 40 employees in a 27,000 sq. ft. building that houses 20 CNC machines and they also specialize in cold-formed products that require forging presses and require the ability to produce forging dies. Building these dies requires Mastercam for surfacing, five-axis work, and verifying the CNC program.

Desjardins remarks “They verify what’s coming from engineering using Mastercam to recreate a model and discuss the differences between CAD and CAM before we start machining something,” he says. Terray performs five-axis machining solely with Mastercam. Desjardins adds, “I think Mastercam is easy enough to use, and it offers accurate translations between CAD and CAM for machining.”

About purchasing Mastercam, Desjardins says, “It was a joint decision between people that were going to be using it and myself. We selected it after reviewing a number of different programs.” And, they have used it for over 15 years. Chris Smith, who uses Mastercam’s toolpath verification capability, says, “Myself, I use the verification quite a bit. We have different machines that we work on and different techniques. We usually try to set up the program so that it simulates the machining environment. So I use the verification just to see if any toolpath problems exist.”

With the medical community’s ever-changing needs, Mastercam helps Terray keep pace. As a result, Mastercam helps heal people.

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