Bremen-Based Company Provides a Range of Medical Equipment Solutions
Photographer / Jubilee Edgell
Because of its versatility, foam can be used in any number of applications, from insulating fuel tanks in space shuttles to making a good night’s sleep possible, and from padding carpet to putting out fires. It’s also used in many types of medical equipment, which is where Brian Watkins and his team at Creative Foam Medical Systems in Bremen focus their attention.
Most of the products that they make are for diagnostic imaging machines.
“We really focus on patient comfort and patient positioning,” Watkins explains. “When you go into a hospital, it’s scary. When you’re going into an MRI, a lot of people are claustrophobic and they don’t like the loud noises. If you’re not comfortable, it just makes it worse.”
For a proper MRI diagnosis in particular, the patient’s motionlessness is vital, something that is often difficult to obtain because of the discomfort that the patient experiences while in the machine. When that is relieved, medical personnel can analyze the problem more accurately.
“There’s a higher degree of quality expected for these parts – obviously, knowing that they’re going to be used in a life-and-death situation,” says Ryan McCartney, vice president of sales.
The foam pieces are meant to promote patient comfort and safety, no matter what position they have to be in while inside the diagnostic machine.
“Throw a piece of foam here or there that’s shaped specific for a body part, and that helps the patient feel more comfortable,” Watkins says. “The doctor can diagnose what’s going on a little easier. He makes a better diagnosis, and ultimately that helps save somebody’s life.”
Creative Foam also helps medical professionals by repairing MRI surface coils for individual body parts, such as leg, shoulder and head coils.
“The doctors can place the surface coil onto the required area and plug it into the MRI,” Watkins says. “It’s designed specifically to make a clearer image in that area.
When a medical facility sends Creative Foam a malfunctioning coil, the factory’s engineers check and mend the wiring and electronics. Afterwards, the team can re-foam and repaint it before sending it back to the customer within days.
“When the coils leave here, they look brand new,” Watkins says. “That’s something that many competitors can’t do.”
The business supplies foam materials and MRI coil repair for medical facilities across the world. However, the Creative Foam team has a local focus as well.
“From the beginning of this fiscal year to 2025, we’re looking to grow seven-fold,” Watkins says. “It’s moving forward like we planned, and it’s bringing a lot of opportunity to the people here.”
Part of their growth strategy includes partnering with other companies. One ongoing collaboration is with T.J. Snuggles Sewing Specialties, a commercial sewing company also located in Bremen owned by Connie and Jason Laudeman.
One of the first projects they worked on in tandem involved making mattresses for the Federal Emergency Management Agency hospitals that were set up to supplement overwhelmed hospitals in March of 2020.
“I called over and asked, ‘Are you interested in sewing mattress covers for us?’ Watkins says. “It happened to be right when the RV industry was shutting down and Snuggles was going to lose work. Partnering together, we were able to build thousands of mattresses very quickly.”
Since then, Creative Foam and their affiliates have made other COVID-related safety equipment, including masks and shields. They are now working on a project to build over a million disposable hospital gowns.
One key characteristic that sets them apart is the family environment within the company.
“We have really good benefits and we take really good care of our people,” Watkins says. “Everyone is so friendly. There’s no infighting nor drama. It’s really a great place to work.”
As the general manager of the factory, Watkins desires to keep it that way, especially as he is looking to hire dozens of workers throughout the next few months.
“My goal is that when you wake up in the morning, you want to come to work,” he says.
The healthcare division of Creative Foam has four locations, two are in Bremen. They are located at 405 North Industrial Drive and at 510 E. Second Street Learn more about the company by visiting them online at CreativeFoamMedicalSystems.com. Reach out to them by emailing info@CreativeFoamMedicalSystems.com, or by calling 574-546-4238.