NEWS & ARTICLES

How SIGN Saves Lives


There’s an extraordinary ripple effect coming from Richland, WA. In Indonesia in 1970, Dr. Lewis Zirkle discovered a huge need for standard, orthopedic treatment. Zirkle began teaching surgeons with tools donated from the United States. This program grew to become the SIGN network. Now SIGN Fracture Care International helps under-served countries around the world.

“We design, manufacture and distribute orthopedic implants and surgical instruments to treat trauma patients for long-bone fractures,” SIGN Engineering Manager, Terry Smith said.

SIGN partners with 350 hospitals, helping more than 25,000 people every year.

“These are tools designed for the facilities that the hospitals [in underdeveloped countries] have,” Communication Specialist, Ryan Smith added. “They’re not dependent on the technology available to us in the U.S.”

For example, many hospitals don’t have functional X-ray machines. SIGN surgical tools are designed for use without X-ray and surgery.

“We really try to understand what their needs are, to develop a solution that works,” T. Smith explained.

SIGN also provides training for surgeons in these hospitals. As they’ve grown, they’re able to do less overseas training. The surgeons they’ve taught are now teaching others. 

“That really gets reinforced when there’s a natural disaster,” T. Smith said. “In the past, SIGN would mobilize to go help, but recently the surgeons have had it handled. This is huge in the sense that it’s sustainable.”

The strength of this network allows them to focus on their tools. SIGN has implemented SOLIDWORKS Simulation in order to decrease design iterations.

“We can go through different strengths, sizes and durations with our devices,” T. Smith said. “[Simulation] allows us to get that upfront work done quicker. Then we can focus on production and testing after we know we have a reasonably solid structural design.”

i. SOLIDWORKS Simulation evaluating "notch" feature on SIGN IM nails to determine the tab thickness required to carry the insertion load.

T. Smith added that Quest Integration has been a great partner. He says Quest understands their needs, offer valuable training and implementation help.

“Last year we took advantage of more capabilities of SOLIDWORKS PDM, and that was easy to do with just a couple phone calls [to Quest],” T. Smith said.

SIGN is constantly receiving new ideas from surgeons to better their implants. It’s important to have the tools necessary to make that happen. Call us today to learn how you can implement the processes SIGN has used at 800-370-3750.

Quest is proud to support SIGN in their mission “to create equality of fracture care throughout the world”. If you would like to change someone’s life, consider donating to SIGN.