INTERPHEX Booth No. 3153
INTERPHEX created a quick questionnaire to learn
more about Specialty Measurements Inc. (SMI) and their
technology. In this exhibitor spotlight, Gary Bubb, VP/
Director of Engineering, answers our questions.
INTERPHEX: Tell us how your company started and
how it has evolved into what it is today.
Gary Bubb (Specialty Measurements Inc. (SMI):
Incorporated in 1982, SMI supported test programs for
industry and government—with the core belief to always
give the customer more than they expected. SMI grew
into one of the largest specialized testing firms in the
U.S. In the first five years, SMI supported test programs
on power plants, suspension bridges, container ships,
naval ship trials, and many military programs.
One of the capabilities of SMI was to design custom
transducers that could be incorporated into an existing
machine to measure forces that the machine produced.
Towards that end, SMI was tasked to measure the forces
involved in the making of a compact on a single sta-
tion tablet press for Dr. Joe Schwartz at the College of
Pharmacy and Science in Philadelphia. During the instal-
lation of that custom load cell, Dr. Dev Mehra from FMC
happened to be present and asked if we could do the
same for a rotary tablet press. That led to the develop-
ment of the first computerized data acquisition system
commercially available. It was called the SMI 3600 and
used an 8088 computer chip. When the 80286 chip was
introduced, the SMI 3620 was the first to take advantage
of this new technology. All of the systems were DOS-
based at that time. When Windows was introduced it
was clear that the operating system did not have the
speed to run the real time force monitoring system. At
that time, SMI introduced a true Windows product based
on the Motorola 68000 chip. This evolved into the SMI
Before the introduction of The SMI 3600 series of
tablet press instrumentation, pharmaceutical scientists
were forced to develop in-house systems using the tech-
nology available to them at the time. That led to many
nonstandard approaches—some quite good but many
not so much—and all of them took time away from their
principal objective that the scientist was trained for:
INTERPHEX: Can you describe three aspects that
have allowed your company to succeed?
First and foremost, always tell the customer what
you promise to do, then do it. It is always better to offer
less and do more than expected. All proposals must be
good for the client, SMI, and finally for humanity. SMI
needs to charge a fair price so that the product can be
supported to the level expected by the client. The product
must be useful with features that actually assist the client
to improve their product. By doing so, all parties benefit.
INTERPHEX: What is your company’s biggest success
Our reputation! SMI has the reputation for the
most advanced engineering in transducer design and
software making a product that is truly user friendly
and beneficial to the pharmaceutical scientist.
INTERPHEX: What distinguishes your company from
others in the industry?
SMI offers tableting machines that are the highest
quality at a fair price with software that actually helps
our clients improve their product and shorten their devel-
INTERPHEX: What is the biggest challenge in your
Making people realize that quality product and
support has value. Price alone often results in a poor
INTERPHEX: Where do you see the industry going in
the next 10 years?
Machines that are easier to set up and run
unattended with minimal operator interaction.
INTERPHEX: What would you consider to be a major
achievement for the industry in the coming years?
A common operator in a control room monitoring
the operation of many machines at once, not just tablet
presses but all processing machines. n
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