While the name Octex may not be familiar to medical professionals across the country, the equipment used in procedures every day likely relies on precision pieces made by the Sarasota manufacturer. Over the past five years, Octex sharply shifted its focus from retail products to intricate parts used in medical devices and aerospace parts, according to President John Hoskins. “We have an unquenchable thirst for nascent and cutting-edge technology,” says Hoskins, who says the fine work required in these fields fits well with the curious culture in place in Sarasota. The range of products can include everything from top-secret technology on military aircraft to tiny pieces of devices permanently implanted in patients’ arteries or by their heart valves, according to Chief Scientist Brett Wigton. That means in addition to the work remaining “pretty cool,” its stakes are also incredibly high. “You are talking parts that are extremely small, sometimes half the size of a pinky nail clipping or like a match-tip head,” Wigton says. “Some have critical dimensions from a geometric perspective. They are precise and complex.” To get something wrong could easily result in “patient failure,” a nice word for death by a faulty heart valve.

All this may seem like much more important work than people might expect from a plastic molding injection company, but as the demand for intricate machinery in an expanding number of markets grows, the detail work at Octex increasingly evolved as the products here became sought-after commodity, and the vision for Octex’s future today reaches far beyond molds and dye kits. While Octex won’t release the names of specific clients, Hoskins says the curious can browse a list of the top medical device manufacturers in the world to figure out who does business with the Gulf Coast firm. Wigton says about 70 percent of the work at Octex ends up in medical products, about 10 percent ends up in aerospace technology and the remaining 20 percent represents a mix of miscellaneous consumer and retail goods. The company today can’t simply be considered an assembly line of products. And needs become more precise and demanding each year, requiring an expertise few firms on the globe can compete with at this moment. Today, about 100 people work at Octex, not a hugely different figure than a decade ago, but the make-up of talent certainly shifted in that time. “Looking back 10 years did we have many engineers on with us? No we did not. But today? Yes we do,” Hoskins says.