With High-Quality Gears
From Forest City Gear
11715 Main Street, Roscoe, IL 61073
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“We have a supply chain that our engineering
team works with closely. We’ve built up a list of
the ‘good’ suppliers that we trust to bring these
kinds of products,” Hollister says. “We start with
them and, if we have needs that can’t be met,
we start going to trade shows, or reach out to
our contacts in other industries to find suppliers
that can meet our needs.”
A wide array of materials were used in
• Injection Molded Plastic Parts: According to
Hollister, the engineers opted for a more
engineered-style plastic rather than a
commodities-style plastic, because of spec
requirements, strength, and robustness.
• Loop Materials: The brace has a lot of fabrics
in its design, particularly loop materials.
Breg worked with the companies in the
industry that are at the forefront of hook-
and-loop combinations, cycle testing, and
• Foams: The design incorporates many foams,
so Breg worked with market leaders in foam
processing and development to make sure
that the materials met comfort and functionality requirements.
• Aluminum: For the aluminum parts, the team
went with an aircraft-grade, 6061 heat-treat-ed aluminum.
According to Hollister, the Breg culture is
Common Failure Points
different when it comes to the relationships
between the product development teams.
“The engineering team is constantly meeting
with our supply chain teams, trying to build
those relationships further so that it doesn’t
feel like it’s a church and state separation,”
he says. “We understand that you can’t get to
that end goal without both [engineering and
supply chain] driving in the same direction.
These relationships get us there faster.”
The tight bond between teams begins with
the project kickoff, during which the company
sets up detailed expectations for the project in
terms of financial results, the overall deliverables,
supply chain operations, quality, marketing, and
engineering. “We have this meeting upfront to
make sure everyone is aligned,” adds Smith.
Common failure points on previous product
iterations hark back to Breg’s core focus: comfort, ease-of-use, and functionality. Previous
generations had rigid components that were
not designed to fit the anatomy and the braces
often neglected to have adequate padding.
Former products also lacked the micro-adjustability. The braces were designed to fit
an array of people, which affects the comfort
and function. “If you have a brace that is so
high-profile, you’re trying to capture too many
anatomies under one product, and it’s not
A unique waist compression lacing system gives
patients an intimate fit as well as additional
back support. (Credit: Breg)