April 16, 2018
Focus on Manufacturing Excellence

Optim reveals hidden places

Optim applied its endoscopy technology to help law enforcement use cameras to see in hard-to-reach places.

Whether you're a doctor who needs to look for a polyp inside a patient's throat or a law enforcement officer who has to check a car's gas tank for contraband, you might rely on technology created in Sturbridge by 47-year-old company Optim LLC.

"We're providing the ability for people to see in places that the eye can't normally see with superior lighting and visualization," said Douglas Hughes, Optim's president and CEO.

Optim considers itself a medical device company, focusing on its ENTity endoscopy systems, which let medical providers look inside ears, noses and throats, hunt for irregularities, and even observe vocal cords moving as a way of understanding speech pathologies.

But the company extends its technology to other fields. It works with clients like the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on its FreedomView line of products for search procedures, and provides component parts for other equipment manufacturers.

"One of the advantages we have as a company because we do medical and non-medical things, we extend that big emphasis on quality that medical devices require to non-medical security products," Hughes said.

Optim has grown steadily over the past five years both in terms of sales and employees, Hughes said. The firm sells to a variety of markets in the U.S., and to countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. When one sector is slow, another makes up the difference.

The company's seven-person engineering staff is continually making improvements to its products. One example is a video screen to replace the eyepiece on the FreedomView devices, allowing security personnel to look inside hidden compartments while stil monitoring what's around them.

Optim's employees are constantly developing new solutions for customers' needs, said Anthony Cappabianca, business development manager for the medical division of SCHOTT North America Inc. Lighting and Imaging in Southbridge, which partners with the company on various projects.

"We've seen, especially in the last few years, a real focus within their group to really develop new things," he said.

Part of that may be due to the experienced staff at Optim. The company provides ongoing professional development opportunities, as well as tuition reimbursement for workers continuing their education in the field.

Read about the other Excellence in Manufacturing Awards winners

Green Manufacturing Award: Fourstar Connections

Product Design and Innovation Award: Curtis Industries

Workforce Development and Productivity Award: IPAC

Rising Star Award: ThinkLite

Collaboration in Manufacturing Award: Wormtown Brewery

Manufacturing Excellence Award, Large Company: Jeffco Fibres

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