After doling out roughly $35 and waiting weeks for delivery of a machine to sterilize medical devices the last thing a healthcare institution needs is shipping damage. Thanks to a combination of molded and fabricated foam corrugated paperboard and plywood packaging materials the inital 100 170-lb sterilizers have arrived intact and ready for installation and use worldwide. American Sterilizer Co. (Amsco) manufactures sterilizers surgical lights tables and other healthcare equipment. The Pittsburgh PA-based company introduced its VHP100 endoscope sterilizer and began shipping it in the second quarter of '94. It uses a Vapor Hydrogen Peroxide (hence the VHP prefix) process to sterilize flexible and rigid endoscopes that are inserted into the human body for diagnostic purposes. To date all VHP100's have been sold as exports-primarily in Canada but also to Brazil Spain Taiwan China Japan Italy the United Kingdom Portugal Germany and Korea. Amsco plans to offer the machine in the U.S. once it receives Food & Drug Administration approval for its sterilization process; Amsco anticipates approval will come later this year. Most endoscopes are currently sterilized by hand with water and soap. "We've shipped about 100 units worldwide" notes J. R. "Dick" McCallum senior buyer for Amsco's Apex NC division that assembles and packs the new sterilizers. "With the delicate technology that goes into this kind of equipment we cannot afford to put it in packaging that will damage the product before it gets to the customer. We've never packaged the VHP100 in any other configuration and we haven't had any damage problems." McCallum was instrumental in making material decisions for the sterilizer. "A lot of consideration goes into the packaging for these sterilizers" he notes. "We talked to many suppliers that could provide some of the packaging components but not all of them. We wanted a vendor that would be a full-service supplier." After contacting another buyer at Amsco's Erie PA division McCallum learned that Tuscarora (New Brighton PA) was providing corrugated shipping cases for different types of sterilizing equipment manufactured at the Erie plant. "Tuscarora representatives came to our plant in Apex observed our application and came back with a quote saying they could supply all the packaging components" he recalls. Tuscarora secures from outside vendors those materials it does not manufacture. "By relying on one supplier it's a lot easier for us" says McCallum. "And price-wise I'd estimate that by using one vendor we save nearly $20 a year."