If you suffer from sleep apnea, epilepsy or nerve damage, your doctor could be using diagnostic equipment made in Kennewick to help you.
For 35 years, Cadwell Laboratories has been making medical instruments for doctors, surgeons and researchers worldwide.
It all started when John Cadwell designed the first microprocessor-controlled electromyograph, or EMG. He was a University of Washington residency medical student at the time.
The technology made it more accurate to measure the response of stimulated nerves and muscles to try to determine if there is damage.
John Cadwell and his brother Carl then started the company in 1979 to make and sell the device.
Since then, the Kennewick manufacturer has expanded production of medical diagnostic equipment for neurophysiology to study the brain and nervous system.
Cadwell’s Lori Kaufman said the technology has drastically changed over the years but their philosophy remains focused on taking care of customers and patients.
Cadwell Laboratories has patented inventions, including magnetic stimulators, database designs, cable shielding designs and neural network analysis of electroencephalographs or EEGs.
EEGs are a method for tracking and recording brain wave patterns to help doctors spot abnormalities.
Surface electrodes or needles send electrical signals through the nerves and muscles to measure the response and find any problems, Kaufman said.
The company is always looking for new ways to improve its current equipment and for new ideas worth developing.
For example, monitoring equipment that doctors send home with possible epilepsy patients includes a video camera that can record them even when they are sleeping in a dark room.
The video and data collected over 72 hours will help the doctor track seizures.
The company also makes equipment for at-home sleep studies.
Patients who use the ApneaTrak device put sensors on before sleeping that will record breathing, snoring, pulse rate and other data. The 4-ounce recorder was a built in way to make sure all of sensors are correctly connected.
Most of the products Cadwell uses in its manufacturing processes are from the U.S. The circuit boards are made by Manufacturing Services of Kennewick.
And all the final assembly is done by Cadwell employees. Software for the various devices also is designed at Cadwell.
Cadwell has about 110 employees at its Kennewick headquarters.
A team of about 20 U.S.-based field representatives sell the equipment to U.S. physicians, clinics, hospitals and laboratories. And a network of distributors sell Cadwell products overseas.
Their new focus is on growing their international business.
Cadwell recently opened offices in China, Singapore and the Netherlands to start with. At least half of the growth potential Cadwell sees is in international use of its products, said Kaufman.
“It’s going quite well,” she said.
Amos Martin, the company’s manufacturing engineer, has been working on reorganizing the manufacturing portion of Cadwell Laboratories to streamline production.
That keeps the production of one type of equipment in the same area and provides an easy way for employees to tell when stock is getting low for current orders.
Almost all of the diagnostic equipment comes with computers programed by Cadwell employees specifically for that product. That way when the equipment arrives, it is ready to use.
Cadwell also provides maintenance services for its equipment. Trained service techs offer preventative maintenance at the Kennewick headquarters.
Customers also are able to borrow equipment during repairs so they do not have to take a break from performing procedures.
The company’s goal is to ship out newly ordered equipment with 48 hours, instead of the two to three weeks that doctors often wait when ordering from other companies, Kaufman said. Cadwell ships an average of 130 packages a day.
“Most orders go out in a day,” Martin said.