Andrew Pease | Ski Lifts Mechanisms, Oil Drilling and What to do in Bend, Oregon

 In Being an Engineer Podcast

Who is Andrew Pease?

Andrew Pease grew up in Bend, Oregon and enjoys the incredible outdoor environment (skiing, rock climbing, hiking. It’s no surprise that one of his first jobs as a mechanical engineer was climbing ski lift towers to fix sensors and combat ice with his mighty hammer. From there, he moved into an engineering role, designing drilling systems for oil and gas. His current role as of this recording is as a product development engineer, reprocessing medical devices.


drill, called, cleanroom, chairlift, engineer, drilling, mud, medical devices, terminal, big, tools, bend, bit, andrew, mountain, rope, manufacturing, towers, devices, welded
Aaron Moncur, Andrew Pease

Aaron Moncur 00:14
Welcome to the being an engineer podcast. Our guest today is Andrew Pease. Andrew lives in Oregon, where he works as a product development engineer, and has had diverse experience ranging from solar turbines to ski lifts to oil and gas drilling to medical devices. Andrew, welcome to the show.

Andrew Pease 00:35
Thanks for having me.

Aaron Moncur 00:37
Well, before we jump into the engineering nerd talk, let’s talk a little bit about about Oregon and where you live. Now, I think you’re either in or around or we’re in Bend, Oregon. Is that accurate?

Andrew Pease 00:53
Yes, correct. Bend is at the center of the state. It is nestled right up against the Cascade Mountains and Deschutes National Forests. So pretty epic spot, get outside.

Aaron Moncur 01:07
Yeah. And you have as your background picture on LinkedIn, it’s like these snow capped mountains. It looks amazing. I’m guessing you’re at least somewhat into the outdoors. Is that true?

Andrew Pease 01:19
Yep. That’s very, very accurate. skiing, mountain biking, mountain climbing, camping. Pretty much anything where I can go outside.

Aaron Moncur 01:31
I’ve never been to bend. But I’ve seen plenty of pictures. And it looks like just one of the most beautiful places on earth it. Are the pictures accurate or are these there’s just a bunch of marketing images the town of Bend sends out to the rest of the US.

Andrew Pease 01:48
No, it’s terrible here. No, I’m just kidding. No Bend is gorgeous. It’s super picture us every road you turn down. There’s, like you said a view of the Cascade Mountains. Whitecap peaks. There’s a river that runs through town and and yeah, it’s a beautiful spot. It’s hashtag no filter. I’ll say Well, it

Aaron Moncur 02:13
sounds incredible. Did you grow up there?

Andrew Pease 02:16
I did. Yeah, I was born in Bend. And yeah, I just spent all my life mountain biking, ski racing, camping. And then then I added I went away for school down to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. And and then I started my career down there. And it was kind of always a goal of mine to get back to the community where they loved and love to be outdoors. And

Aaron Moncur 02:48
yeah, that makes sense to me. I grew up in Hawaii. And so I have you know, I can rival your upbringing a little bit in terms of growing up in a really scenic pretty fun area. But now I live in Mesa, Arizona, and I can tell you that there is nothing special about Mesa Arizona. Not a tourist destination at all. Speaking of which, if if people visit bend, what do they need to do? Where do they need to go? What do they need to see?

Andrew Pease 03:20
Well, one of the first things you pick up I think is your brewery passport. And each there’s called an ale trail. So Ben has, I don’t want to this might be incorrect, but it has pretty close to the highest microbrewery per capita I think in the United States. 16 breweries here there’s 90,000 people. So yeah, most most people will get nailed trail passport, they’ll float the Deschutes River you’ll pick up an inner tube and you’ll hop on the Deschutes and you do about a two hour float through town on on with nice cool fresh water and those are the big two and if it’s winter time you’ll you’ll probably want to head up to Mount bachelor ski resort and it’s known for its tree scheme so getting perfectly spaced trees just go between and kind of get lost and find your own your own row.

Aaron Moncur 04:24
Wow. And you worked there for at least a season if I’m not mistaken.

Andrew Pease 04:30
Yeah, I was fresh out a call fresh out of school with the mechanical engineering degree and thought I’d take a winter to to give back to the mountain now just to get a little more hands on experience turning a wrench and and building you know, keeping all keeping up with all the maintenance on the mountain the the all the towers, the bottom terminal tarp terminal, it’s, you know, it’s a huge assembly that that has to operate in some pretty crazy conditions and it requires constant maintenance. So

Aaron Moncur 05:09
yeah, I bet that would be fascinating. I swear snowboard, not ski. But, you know, we go up to what passes for a ski resort here in Arizona a couple times a year. And I, I’ve always been fascinated with with the ski lift, you know, with just how big it is, and how much how much mass it has to carry and move and the mechanics of how it works like, you know, you’re going at a decent clip up and down the mountain. But then when it gets down to the base, and it does, it’s kind of you turn roundabout there, it slows down. What I’ve always wondered how that mechanism works, actually, do you have any insight you can share there?

Andrew Pease 05:50
Yeah, definitely. So pretty much, you have a spring loaded grip that has a bunch of bevel gears put together. And when it enters when the chairlift enters the terminal, there’s a lever that gets compressed that opens, opens up the grip, so it actually separates from the haul rope. And then there’s a traction pad on top of the chair. And there’s a bunch of wheels, like miniature tires turning in the upper turn of terminal. And they make contact with that traction pad. So they slow over the chair down while it’s in the terminal. And people can load and then as it exits, it will run into again, that lever will get actuated closed unloading those bevels. So a huge spring load forced so it clamps back onto the hall rope, which is moving at a constant speed, which is much faster than would be comfortable to load on. Yeah.

Aaron Moncur 06:50
You mentioned requires constant maintenance, what were what are some of the areas that need to be maintained very frequently.

Andrew Pease 07:00
So one of the main things you got to do is just that’s not necessarily maintenance. But as de icing. The Eskimos have 100 words for ice. There’s every type of ice that can crank up the chairlift Brian ice where you just get kind of wind blown, and it can protrude about you know, six inches to a foot off the chairlift. And then there’s also you know, freezing rain and then the temperature will drop so called like champagne ice where you hit it with your hammer and only your hammer mark is de ice because it’s just stuck onto the chair. So yeah, a lot of climbing towers and in the middle of storms and and making sure sensors are cleared off of ice and and yeah, your your your arm gets very strong with beating the towers with a hammer. So

Aaron Moncur 08:04
is that literally what it is you’re you’re taking a hammer up these towers and just whacking on things getting myself

Andrew Pease 08:09
some days. Yeah, someday, that’s what it was. Other times you got to you got to maintain, there’s you know, hundreds of chairs on on each lift right or throughout the mountain. And all those grips have to be, you know, inspected, maintained, you have checklists, where you’re looking at different components, where, where. And then in the terminal, there’s even more components to inspect a lot of flat tires, those tires, those little tires, I was talking about that move the chairlift through the terminal. Those, those can go flat. And then we have usually four or five spares in the terminal. So you can hot swap those in about a couple minutes. So hopefully the guests aren’t waiting too long, or you can do it after hours. But yeah, it was a very eye opening experience the engineers at Dapo Doppel. Meyer, they have their work cut out for him.

Aaron Moncur 09:14
Do you remember any of the like technical specifications of the ski lifts like how much weight each chair can load or what the tensile strength of the wire cable is anything like that?

Andrew Pease 09:27
No as lift mechanic you weren’t really privy to a lot of that information. Mainly what we have is torque specs for the tires and just different fasteners that you were swapping out we had different kinds of sensors, rope replacements, sensors that we would swap out

Aaron Moncur 09:51
what kind of sensors are these like like proximity sensors or something like that

Andrew Pease 09:55
exactly. Proximity sensor, make sure that the whole row the whole rope is Ain’t on all the things we call them. shivs. Again, this was nine years ago, but

Aaron Moncur 10:09
that’s been your memory. Yeah. But

Andrew Pease 10:12
yeah, make sure the hall rope is stain on the shivs and doesn’t want to. If, if, if you don’t have the rope detected, then you could have a serious problem where it might have fallen off a ship or it’s just not aligned properly, which can be dangerous. So

Aaron Moncur 10:31
yeah, yeah. It’s such a fascinating environment to me. I mean, like you said, it has to, has to work in a large range of weather conditions, right from winter time freezing to summer highs. And it’s so big, right? It’s I don’t know how long maybe. Is it like a mile or something? Some of them half a mile? Pretty long.

Andrew Pease 10:57
Yeah, exactly. I think the longest chairlift at Mount Bachelor is called Northwest and it’s a man Yeah, if I had to guess the whole circumference of the whole rope, you know, going up and down. Yeah, I mean, it would at least seem like a mile to me.

Aaron Moncur 11:15
That’s amazing. And any crazy stories that you remember from your season working there with big industrial equipment stuffs got to go wrong on occasion.

Andrew Pease 11:23
Yeah, there’s a couple of stories.

Aaron Moncur 11:28
Any you can share without getting in trouble.

Andrew Pease 11:32
I’ll start with just one, I guess. One of my most memorable moment moments was I think it was my first time ever experiencing vertigo. I was climbing up, I was climbing up a tower in the morning to go dia set and I had to get to the top of it. It was one of the tallest towers on the mountain. It was an old chairlift. One of the oldest ones. We call them fixed grips. Super old chairlift, so it wasn’t as safe to climb that ladder and hook up and you’re using safety equipment, you have two lanyards on you a harness, so you’re clipping in constantly in case you slip and fall. But I was at the top. And it was a really gusty day, 4050 mile an hour gusts. And the tower started to sway a little bit and I was on my stomach and I started to slide towards the edge of the tower. I dropped my hammer and I just clutched the tower. And I had to climb back down and get my hammer. But

Aaron Moncur 12:42
that’s gonna be terrifying.

Andrew Pease 12:45
Yeah, that was a that was a terrifying moment. I was with us one of the senior mechanics there at the time. And I remember when I got down, he asked me if I needed a hug. I almost took him up on it. Yeah. As far as maybe mechanical wear, I guess, just yeah, the most memorable moment mechanically, where we had big failures was one summer, we had to or we had to replace the whole haul wheel in a terminal. huge piece of equipment.

Aaron Moncur 13:30
What is this like? 10 foot diameter, something like that? actly. Yeah,

Andrew Pease 13:33
just massive and and getting that getting that mounted and was was a trick. But other than that, I think it was mainly again, I was kind of the new guy. So I was mainly involved in just like I said, proximity sensors swap out. Yeah, there were

Aaron Moncur 14:00
Do you know how some of these parts are made like a 10 foot diameter wheel? Where do you go to get something like that made?

Andrew Pease 14:06
That’s a good question.

Aaron Moncur 14:11
Ancient Chinese secret.

Andrew Pease 14:13
Yeah, I have to smuggle my way into Doppel. My pastor, I mean, yes, it’s guaranteed. It’s probably a cast piece of equipment.

Aaron Moncur 14:24
That would be fascinating to see the manufacturing facility for that.

Andrew Pease 14:29
Yeah, I don’t think there’s a lathe big enough to turn that things.

Aaron Moncur 14:36
She’s all right. Well, let’s see we kind of jumped in into the engineering or into the the mount it was a mountain bachelor ski lift story. So thanks for humoring me with that. I just think that’s so interesting. I would love to learn all about the ins and outs of the industrial machinery there but we’re gonna take a step back here and and how did you decide had to become an engineer.

Andrew Pease 15:01
So I, I come from a medical family My dad was a surgeon, my mom, a radiology technician. So there are no engineers in the household. But I think I broke my femur when I was little and developed this extreme dislike of hospitals. So the next thing I guess that my dad had a workshop where he was always repairing things. Just he kind of was of the belief that don’t toss it fix it, don’t buy don’t buy anything new. So kind of just hanging around him. I think I kind of developed an affinity for tools and working with my hands and that and that kind of pointed me in probably knowing I want to go the engineering route.

Aaron Moncur 15:52
Any tools you can remember particularly loving when you were a kid?

Andrew Pease 15:56
I think the hammer and the carries on.

Aaron Moncur 16:00
That seems to be a trend. You saw that they used hammers at Mount bachelor like I’m in this is what’s this is for me?

Andrew Pease 16:08
When you have a problem. You just need a bigger hammer.

Aaron Moncur 16:10
That’s right. Yeah.

Andrew Pease 16:14
Yeah, no, yeah. Just nailing together a birdhouse for Boy Scouts or, you know, taking a hacksaw to chisel out my, my derby car for the pinewood derby.

Aaron Moncur 16:26
Cool. Are you an Eagle Scout? No, no,

Andrew Pease 16:29
no, I, I made it through three years of Cub Scouts. And, and then I started ski racing. And she’s well, yeah, okay. In soccer. Yes.

Aaron Moncur 16:40
Yeah. Pinewood Derby, or, you know, skiing. I think that’s a clear choice.

Andrew Pease 16:47
Yeah. Yeah, it was easy for me. I’ll say that.

Aaron Moncur 16:55
All right. So let’s see. early in your career, I think you were maybe an intern at this point. But I read that you built a mobile cleanroom. Now, I’ve been in clean rooms before, but never a mobile cleanroom. Tell me tell me more about that project. How does how does that even work a mobile cleanroom.

Andrew Pease 17:13
So I was an intern, I think it was a company and bend, pharmaceutical company. And one of my first big projects was they had you know, they’re doing some kind of experiment on this new chemical, this new drug that if you know any of it got on your skin. It was pretty bad news. And but they wanted to try and test it in a couple of different lab lab stations. So my boss at the time, he was a big proponent of learn by doing kind of, I didn’t have much machine shop experience, but this summer was really put that to the test. I welded up a frame, put casters on it, mounted Plexiglas all over, put, put the H vac system on top to create the pressure, that everything gets sucked into the cleanroom and goes out the top of the cleanroom. And then we add those, those curtains that you know there’s plastic curtains that you hang in front of it. So I mounted those to the front of the cleanroom. So you could roll it on the casters to where you needed it. They’d put all their PPE on that, walk through it, do a couple experiments and and walk out. But the way I’m describing it made it seem like it was super easy. But I learned a lot about having to grind welds off and re weld. Different joints. Whole alignment.

Aaron Moncur 18:53
Yeah, I don’t think it sounds super easy at all. I was thinking the opposite. Like you’re this intern or you know, maybe it was fresh out of college or something. But you’re willing to get this entire structure. You’re putting the plexiglass panels on you’re putting an H vac system in there. I mean, once you finish this thing, did you step back and where are you like, wow, I’m kind of a big deal. I did this. That’s amazing. I’m an engineer. I can do this stuff.

Andrew Pease 19:20
Yeah, I think that was my first moment of triumph. I mean, I think one of my one of the higher ups said it best when he was inspecting one of my welds and he was like, well, at least it’s standing. No, I mean, well, it wasn’t that bad. But it was just such a great experience getting the you know, this is a MIG welder. Oh, this is how you join two materials together. Oh, that doesn’t look good. So grind it off, do it again. And yeah, it was it was really I think that was a good confidence booster for me was just that first moment where Oh, I can build something That’s not a birdhouse or pinewood derby car,

Aaron Moncur 20:03
right? Yeah, I’ve got imagine that was hugely beneficial to your confidence. We spent some time at Pipeline putting together what we call pipeline Academy, which was this training curriculum for new engineers. It’s kind of on hold at this point. But we spent, I don’t know, eight or 10 months working on this. And our motto for pipeline Academy was doing is better than learning about doing so. I love that story. And you just got thrown in, you know, and just go figure it out. Start doing it.

Andrew Pease 20:32
Yeah. I mean, my my boss at the time, he helps like helped me order materials and guided me the right way. But I honestly can take most of the credit for the fab work. And so yeah, it was great project to start. Fantastic.

Aaron Moncur 20:48
Fantastic. I love it. All right. Real quick break here. The being an engineer podcast is powered by pipeline design and engineering, where we work with medical device engineering teams who need turnkey custom test fixtures, or automated equipment to assemble, inspect, characterize or perform verification or validation testing on their devices. And you can find us at test fixture We’re speaking with Andrew Pease today, who is a mechanical engineer in the product development space. So Andrew, you worked at a company called Scientific drilling for several years where I guess they’re primarily focused on oil and gas. Is that right?

Andrew Pease 21:31
Correct? Yes. For borehole placement tools. Essentially, a geologist will locate hydrocarbons, say, Okay, it’s 8000 feet down one mile south of your drill site. And then they would use our survey tools to navigate there. So the way it was described to me kind of romanticizes it. So I like the way it sounds, but you’re essentially placing a computer that’s riding on a drill bit through the earth flying through the Earth, kind of like a missile.

Aaron Moncur 22:10
Well, how fast is that drill going?

Andrew Pease 22:12
Full? I, it’s depends, I think on you know, the formations you’re going through. And depends if you’re depends if you’re pushing or if you’re rotating. So when you’re pushing pipe, essentially the drill beds operating and your building angle to get to where you want to go. But if you’re rotating the drill bit, it is essentially going straight, straight down, making a little a little bigger hole. But so that’s kind of how you can selectively navigate.

Aaron Moncur 22:51
And I mean, are we talking about like inches per minute that is traveling? Or is it feet per minute or?

Andrew Pease 22:58
Full? It’s been a long time since I’ve looked at a drill chart.

Aaron Moncur 23:03
Fair enough. Fair enough. I have another question for you. So the head of this drill, what it probably has some kind of like what like synthetic diamond bits that are being used to cut through the rock? Is that accurate?

Andrew Pease 23:16
Oh, yeah. Tungsten carbide. It’s huge tungsten carbide inserts welded on to you know, welded onto these bits. Yeah. synthetic diamond sometimes, or are you just really really tough stuff that can that can get through almost anything?

Aaron Moncur 23:34
Yeah. Okay. And as it’s drilling down, how do you get rid of all of the like the debris, you know, the crushed rock or just the dirt that it’s drilling through? How does that get sucked out of the hole?

Andrew Pease 23:47
Mud, so you have a bunch of drilling fluid or mud that gets shot down, kind of the middle of the pipe, or they Joe called the drill collar casing and it and that’s also what actually ends up what we call pushes the mud motor. So that’s what causes that drill bit to turn and to eat rock interest in mud exits out of the bottom of the drill bit and it goes up the sides called the annulus. And back up to the top surface, where then it goes through a couple you know, filtration machines to shake out the rock in the in the the rock chips and then it will go back into your mud tank and then it goes back down the hole again, in the mud mud. Super important. Like I said it, it drives the drill bit. It cools a lot of the tools because there’s quite a significant thermal gradients as you go into the earth. UK you can easily get up to 150 to 180 C

Aaron Moncur 24:56
really wow how Deep Are you going?

Andrew Pease 25:02
I think the deep one of the deepest jobs and guide I signed, you can go about 10 10,000 feet down, maybe a little further 1210 12,000 feet ratable. And yeah, that that thermal gradient again, the the 180 C that’s, that’s extreme, that’s a high temp tool. Usually, when you’re, like, go when you’re drilling for like geothermal energy projects, that’s where you have to, they have to use a high temperature tool that can that can withstand that, that 170 C mark, and, and nothing really was stands it, it can just make it long enough to get the whole drill.

Aaron Moncur 25:42
Yeah, I imagined those need to get replaced every so often.

Andrew Pease 25:46
Yeah, it’s, it’s incredibly embrace of environment, you’re dealing with, you know, 10,000 feet have hydrostatic pressure from the drilling mud, you’re, you have, you know, 2020 G’s, RMS, maybe 60 Peak G’s of shock going in. And, and, and, yeah, and the, and, again, you have a, you have a PCB, that’s in case and all this then has to function and, you know, control things and take measurements. And so

Aaron Moncur 26:23
if you’re drilling something like 10,000 feet down into the earth, what what does the what does the drill look like? I mean, I can kind of picture what the drill ahead looks like. But trailing behind that, what do you have like five or 10 feet of drill like solid, or maybe it’s just the very tip as the drill and then maybe there’s some kind of solid beam or cylinder behind it. And then and then just like a bunch of hose to suck the mud out and cabling for power, something like that.

Andrew Pease 26:55
So it’s, so it’s mostly battery battery powered for our tools. It’s hard to describe, like you say, so there’s, you, you have the drill head, and then there’s the mud motor. And then above, that is where our tools sit. So essentially, you’re trying to navigate, probably 15 to 20 feet back from the bit. So it’s like driving a school bus from the back of the bus essentially, good analogy is what, here’s how we described it. But yeah, so then we have what’s called a pressure barrel. That’s, so you have an outer casing, which is really heavy, heavy, thick casing. And then you have rubber, I think they were just kind of fin devices, that center, our pressure barrel is what we called it, it’s about an inch and a half piece of stainless steel. Or kind of, I think it was canal. But and then inside that pressure barrel is where you have our sensors mounted, and the pressure bearer was all sealed with O rings do you kind of it’s an industry where you live and die by O rings to make sure that drilling mud can’t get into your electronics, through the pressure barrel through all your seals. So that’s kind of the general layout. And then how it communicates is, usually there’s what’s called a mud pulsar at the top of the drill string. So what that does, is it will close, it will open and close, essentially creating kind of these what’s the right word oscillations that move up through the drilling mud, and then they’re recorded on the surface. So that’s how it can communicate with the motor is by by the mud motor essentially opening and closing creating signals in the mud, that get picked up through an algorithm that was designed by a PhD that has a lot more experienced than me, and it gets broken down and they get data from it through the kind of transmitted through the mud.

Aaron Moncur 29:18
And is there some kind of GPS in the drill head so you know where it is at all times.

Andrew Pease 29:24
So you mainly keep track of it with there’s a couple different ways there’s gyroscopes, there’s accelerometers. And then again, you know how much pipe you’re pushing. So you know, how much how deep it’s going. And then the sensors are keeping track of your build angle. So you you’re really kind of keeping track of it from the top. So not really a GPS. You’re, you’re kind of you’re keeping track of it through communication that’s fed From the drill drilling tool back to the surface, so then the people at the surface, they know where they think they are. And again, drilling, it’s, you know, it’s sometimes people you know, miss their targets, it’s really kind of an interactive thing where you need to be paying attention on what’s going on on top of the rig. But also, you know, it makes sure that you’re interpreting all the information coming up from the tool accurately.

Aaron Moncur 30:31
And as you’re drilling Are you are you like laying down pipe at the same time, or do you drill the hole, pull the drill out, and then you put the pipe in.

Andrew Pease 30:41
So when you’re drilling the hole, you’re constantly screwing, you’re putting together casing to go down with, with the pipe, when you’re going when. And then once you’ve reached your desired location, then you start with what what in the field is called tripping out pipe. And so they’re unscrewing the pipe, pulling it back up and storing it on the rig. And then once the holes drilled, a cement crew comes in, and they actually cement the hole. So there’s a protective barrier between the hydrocarbons. And so they’re in a cemented hole. That is, essentially the hydrocarbons travel up through from from where they’re being extracted down below to the surface where they’re being pulled out. Sometimes, you know, there’s so much pressure that, you know, in the movies, someone you know, shoots a gun and it hits the right spot and oil starts guys running out of the ground. But then other times there’s not enough pressure and you have to pump it up through the hole using different pump systems. Wow.

Aaron Moncur 31:53
That’s fascinating. You’ve worked in some very industrial environments with the the ski lift and the oil and drilling. And then you move to MEDLINE, which is where you work now dealing with with much, much smaller systems what, what What took you from these big industrial environments down to medical devices?

Andrew Pease 32:17
I guess I was, again, as I told you before, there’s always been a special place in my heart for for Bend Oregon. And so I was always kind of keeping an eye on the job market here and seeing Okay, is there is there an opportunity for me to come back? And and, you know, I always thought that, uh, you know, the thing I love about mechanical engineering is how versatile it is. You can be an arrow, you know, biomedical you can the same physics apply. You just got to learn learn some new jargon and new standards. So yeah, I just decided, I ended up interviewing up here and was able to make the move back home and was excited to learn a new field and broaden, broaden my career.

Aaron Moncur 33:08
Cool. Now, Medline, does medical device reprocessing so so your teams are not necessarily making or designing new products, although maybe there’s some of that as well, but they’re reprocessing one time use medical devices. Tell us more about that. What what is the medical device reprocessing industry about why would someone want to reprocess a medical device? How is it done etcetera, etcetera?

Andrew Pease 33:37
Yeah, so I didn’t know it was a thing until I got the job. But, yeah, it’s it’s a kind of a green business model, where you can take a used piece of medical equipment that, you know, normally is used once in a surgery, and then it’s thrown away goes straight to the landfill. But you can take that device and, and get multiple uses out of it through cleaning, sterilization, and verifying, you know, the functional performance and the integrity of devices maintained through that process. The Yeah, the business model, you know, you can save hospital and surgery centers money by putting, you know, $20 worth of labor into into a product and getting a brand new use out of it.

Aaron Moncur 34:29
$20 later, that’s pretty good. And what are these? If I’m buying if I’m a hospital buying from the OEM, what are these one time use medical devices typically cost?

Andrew Pease 34:40
I think it depends, you know, if you’re talking about a ultrasound catheter, I think you’re up $3,000 If you’re talking to tissue sealer, you can be around 400 $500 And then even the smaller margin devices say like, ECG lead or pulse ox arcs I think you’re down at, I think it cost probably around $20 per ECG lead and, and if you’re if you can, again, if you’re only putting for, for a less complex product like a ECG lead, you’re only putting $5 A labor into it so that the margins still still there. Especially the quantity in which these these devices are, are used.

Aaron Moncur 35:26
If you have a $3,000 ultrasonic catheter, and you’re putting 20 or even 40 $50 into it, I mean, that’s huge, right? Instead of paying another three grand for the hospital, they pay whatever it is they pay, I’m sure it’s less than three grand and they save a bunch of money, and we fill up landfills less quickly. Seems like a win win for everyone, except the OEM. Exactly. I

Andrew Pease 35:49
think, the OEM, you know, they, they still need to make enough profit, to keep innovating. But I think any, any time where you can eliminate waste and eliminate plastic, and help lower hospital, hospitals and surgery centers, costs, I think, yeah, I think everyone wins.

Aaron Moncur 36:09
Yeah, that’s terrific. It sounds like your role these days is maybe a little bit more cross functional than it has been in the past. You’re working now with manufacturing with quality regulatory management, marketing sales, what do you like about this new environment, this cross functional environment?

Andrew Pease 36:29
I think whenever you get a different group of people with different perspectives, I think you’re always going to have a more successful team, different way of looking at things. A good idea can come from anywhere that you know, doesn’t have to just be a mechanical engineer. So yeah, just see, and, you know, getting this job has really allowed me to understand the role of manufacturing workers and, and the hardships they go through, you know, if you’re not designing for manufacturability, or making their life easier. I guess I never really saw that in my previous jobs. But once I came here, and was able to walk out into the manufacturing lines and see what what they’re doing, it really opened my eyes to, you know, design for manufacturing, what can you do to help them? They’re, they’re my customer?

Aaron Moncur 37:28
Yeah, that makes sense. Tell me stepping away from from a specific industry or company for a little bit here. What what are some habits that you’ve developed over the years that have been helpful for you what whether it’s been, you know, work specific or even personal.

Andrew Pease 37:48
I think one thing that I’ve always tried to do is always show up with two or three solutions. When you’re when you’re facing up when you’re facing a problem. Falling in love with one solution can can be dangerous, I’ve found in my experience, so that’s helped me to kind of present different options, look at different approaches and just get a more just look at the problem from different angles.

Aaron Moncur 38:16
Yeah, that’s a great one. Anything else that comes to mind?

Andrew Pease 38:23
Just stay stay organized.

Aaron Moncur 38:25
Oh, this is a subject that’s near and dear to my heart. Stay organized. What are some tools that you like using for staying organized?

Andrew Pease 38:33
Most engineers love Excel? love their spreadsheets? Sure. That’s, that’s my main tool. I’ve dabbled with, you know, Microsoft Project and different kinds of agile project management programs like like JIRA. And I think just them helping you to see the big picture and the timelines and in what you’re trying to accomplish has been

Aaron Moncur 39:01
useful. Yeah. Have you ever heard of air table?

Andrew Pease 39:05
I haven’t. No. Air

Aaron Moncur 39:06
table is a great one. It’s like I can’t think of the right terminology to use. It’s kind of like Excel, but with some, some automated functionality built in like it’s easy to create. drop down menus and checkboxes and just it makes it easy to deal with data sets in in kind of a visually appealing way as well. Anyway, I use air tables. I’ve been finding more and more uses for it, the longer I use it, so highly recommend check out air table and they have free accounts to Pretty cool, pretty cool software for staying organized.

Andrew Pease 39:49
Alright, I just I just wrote it down. Nice.

Aaron Moncur 39:53
Speaking of tools that we like what what are some vendors that you really love? I always give the the the exam Both McMaster right. All engineers love McMaster. What are some other vendors that you’ve used that have been really terrific to work with and other engineering teams might find value?

Andrew Pease 40:10
So, recently I’ve kind of been on a, I’ve really enjoyed 3d systems on demand manufacturing. You so simple to just upload a STL file, get an instant quote like that. And then four day laters, four days later, have your part show up. Yeah, really helpful with prototyping, figuring out kind of fit form function. And that’s been one of the that’s been one of picked up recently, other than McMaster and Granger and the stereotypical engineering sites. Yeah. Yeah, that’s the main one that comes to mind right now. Besides our our local machine shops, here in Central Oregon that do us a lot of favors.

Aaron Moncur 41:03
Yeah, I bet. It’s so valuable to have a good relationship with a local machine shop. That’s huge, right?

Andrew Pease 41:08
Yeah. And they can pop up anywhere, you know, there’s a, there’s a machine shop and sisters, Sisters, Oregon called Mountain EDM, and it’s just one guy as an EDM machine, but can make just incredibly tiny, intricate part for us that can go into medical devices. It’s yeah, you’ll be surprised what what you find and where you find it.

Aaron Moncur 41:35
Very cool. Well, what are what are some of the biggest challenges that you experience as an engineer?

Andrew Pease 41:47
I think creating more time, yet time just engineering can be a big time suck, to get the right solution. So sometimes you got to buckle down and put in a couple extra hours. And then I guess all engineers struggle with technical writing a little bit. So you know, getting into this huge regulated industry, for medical devices where you’re doing protocols, final report studies. That’s been a little bit of a learning curve for me, where I’ve had to really enhance my technical writing ability.

Aaron Moncur 42:29
What What have you found challenging about technical writing? Is it is it finding the right vocabulary or like specific formats or just, it’s, it’s boring? I don’t want to do this, I want to design and build something.

Andrew Pease 42:42
Yeah, exactly. As a as an engineer you, you always love to open up SolidWorks and run into the machine shop. But every now and then you gotta realize, oh, I need to, for the for the FDA. If you don’t document it, that didn’t happen. So I need I need to write an IQ OQ or I need to write a you are a user requirements specification, to make sure that the equipment that I’m putting in manufacturing or that I’m designing is functioning properly. It’s working well. And we have proof that our quality department is happy with that, that we can defend that our equipments working as it should. If FDA comes comes knocking.

Aaron Moncur 43:29
Well, Andrew, I need to let you go. I’ve kept you too long already talking about skiing and Bend, Oregon. Thank you so much for spending some time today. If people want to get a hold of you, what’s the best way they can do that?

Andrew Pease 43:44
Yeah, just search search for me on LinkedIn. Andrew Pease. Again, there’s pictures of mountains in my

Aaron Moncur 43:53
that’s how you know you found the right Andrew Pease.

Andrew Pease 43:56
Exactly. So yeah. Thanks for having me. Appreciate the time to talk about my experience. And yeah, take care.

Aaron Moncur 44:04
Awesome. Thanks a lot. You too, Andrew. I’m Aaron Moncur, founder of pipeline design and engineering. If you liked what you heard today, please leave us a positive review. It really helps other people find the show. To learn how your engineering team can leverage our team’s expertise in developing turnkey custom test fixtures, automated equipment and product design, visit us at test Thanks for listening.

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About Being an Engineer

The Being An Engineer podcast is brought to you by Pipeline Design & Engineering. Pipeline partners with medical device and other product engineering teams who need turnkey equipment such as cycle test machines, custom test fixtures, automation equipment, assembly jigs, inspection stations and more. You can find us on the web at

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