Inside a firm that's providing local manufacturing for startups - Baltimore


May 18, 2016 12:59 pm

Inside a firm that’s providing local manufacturing for startups

Harbor Designs and Manufacturing is looking to expand inside the Wicomico Building.

Inside Harbor Designs and Manufacturing.

(Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Sisu Global Health is looking to create a blood transfusion device that has an impact in areas that lack medical facilities around the globe. But when it comes to design and manufacturing of their device, called the hemafuse, CEO Carolyn Yarina said keeping it local has allowed the process to move along faster than it would with an out-of-town — or overseas — firm.

Harbor Design and Manufacturing has been that local source for Sisu, and a number of other local companies.

“Production does not need to happen in other states, it can — and will — happen right here in Baltimore,” said CEO Kevin Barnes.

Some of the tools inside Harbor Designs and Manufacturing. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Some of the tools inside Harbor Designs and Manufacturing. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Harbor is planning for future growth to make that happen. The firm has new space in the Wicomico Building on the outskirts of Pigtown. (That building is also home to Zest Tea.) On the current trajectory, Harbor intends to have a 45,000 square feet and 200 employees.

As Sisu illustrates, one big growth area is medical devices. In addition to the Hemafuse, Harbor is also working on medicine flavoring for Columbia-based Flavorx, and a portable sterilizer for D.C.-based Eniware. Flavorx CEO Stu Amos said putting design and manufacturing under one roof was appealing for his company.

Medical devices are also a natural strength for Baltimore given the research coming out of Johns Hopkins and UMB, and that has helped lead to support from the Abell Foundation and TEDCO. Harbor recently received certifications known as ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 that are specifically for such devices.

Flavorx machines inside Harbor Designs and Manufacturing.

Flavorx machines inside Harbor Designs and Manufacturing. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

They also have capabilities across a range of projects. A motorized longboard for Thor and golf training aid Core Putters are also client projects.


Beyond making cool stuff, though, Harbor is tapping into another natural Baltimore strength. Bringing manufacturing jobs back to the town is a big reason for excitement around the project. It’s an issue Kevin Plank discussed with Under Armour’s effort to bring some its own processes stateside. Harbor’s growth is an example of how that can play out in other areas.

Harbor's future space inside the Wicomico Building.

Harbor’s future space inside the Wicomico Building. (Photo by Stephen Babcock)

Harbor’s headquarters is located in a HUB — or historically underutilized business — zone, which Barnes said can help spur local hiring.

“We want to create good-paying and stable jobs in an environment that offers career paths throughout the manufacturing process,” said Barnes.

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  • Mark Shanks

    Good story – hope this push to local manufacturing grows. Its hard to look beyond the extreme delta in component prices (re: local vs overseas), but there are indeed more efficiencies to be considered by going local as highlighted here. Nice!


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