Fargo-Company Automates the Medical Packaging Industry
Kevin Biffert founded Fargo Automation with a simple purpose: to bring machine automation to everything. Over the course of two decades, Kevin has led the company to focus on automating the medical device industry and recently sold the company in January of 2017 to Korber Solutions. “At Fargo Automation, we are designing parts to build a machine to carry medical devices to the packaging area to shipment to hospital and clinics,” explained Kevin.
As a graduate of NDSCS, Kevin was hired at 3M in Whapeton, ND as a programmer. During his work, he earned an engineering degree from the University of North Dakota. With this education, Kevin Biffert did not have future aspirations to become an entrepreneur. As an employee at 3M in Whapeton, ND, Kevin worked with electronic part creation and packaging in clean rooms. With the downturn in the electronic industry in the mid-1990s, 3M downsized its staff and Kevin was left to question what was next for him. “I was lost and didn’t know what to do…. so I started to offer my services to automate things for customers,” shares Biffert.
Kevin soon found a customer in a Minnesota-based window manufacturer, Marvin Windows, and launched the Fargo Automation business in July of 1996. “I began helping customers automate everything…but I realized that we needed to focus on a specific industry,” explained Kevin. Today, Fargo Automation is a worldwide creator of software and hardware solutions for automated machinery in the medical packaging industry.
Fargo Automation Then and Now
“In the beginning, I did everything from sales to engineering,” shared Kevin. Taking the knowledge gained in his journey with 3M, Kevin applied his knowledge of clean room packaging to the medical device industry. When it came to location, Kevin relocated to the Fargo area because of the close connection to local college campuses.
“About 20 years ago, I went to the Apple manufacturing parking lot and noticed young people coming and going… and then I got it,” explained Kevin. From it’s location a few miles away from North Dakota State University, Fargo Automation has consistently utilized engineering interns and graduates to supplement their workforce.
After almost 20 years, Fargo Automation now has a global customer base as a newly purchased division of Korber Solutions (a Germany-based company). “Our products are known around the nation as the ‘Fargo’ machines…and now we will have that name around the world with this new ownership,” shared Kevin. The Korber Solutions ownership is excited to see Fargo Automation become an engineering hub for the entire company.
“Being honest wins every time,” is the mantra that Kevin has held throughout the Fargo Automation journey. This foundation along with the leverage to sell automated solutions to customers has led to a deepened trust with customers, employees and the medical packaging industry.
Learn more from Kevin Biffert and Fargo Automation as he speaks at 1 Million Cups Fargo on Wednesday, June 7th, 2017 at 9:15 a.m. at The Stage at Island Park.