For more than 20 years, Cendres+Métaux has worked with companies large and small on projects developing implantable medical devices, offering everything from project management assistance to manufacturing. Dr Arne-Christian Faisst, CEO of the company's med-tech division, discusses taking a device from conception to final product and staying ahead in a rapidly changing market.
Dr Arne-Christian Faisst: What really distinguishes our company is the fact that we not only offer manufacturing capabilities but professional consultancy as well. We see ourselves as a competent and dedicated business partner that can discuss projects on a confidential and trusting basis with its customers.
It starts with the choice of the right material and, in the domain of precious metals, the choice largely depends on the application or the device function, but it's not the sole factor defining the material choice - often product life-cycle considerations and cost play a crucial role as well.
We maintain close contact with Switzerland's most prestigious universities and research institutes. We regularly commission design or market studies, as well as supporting diploma theses for basic or advanced research on ideas we decide to explore further. This all helps ensure that we remain on top of technology cycles.
We have also now streamlined our development process to 'dynamise' our portfolio and help promising technologies develop into innovative products. We are in close contact with our partners, and many opinion leaders of different medical and dental fields to develop those products in alignment with customers' needs. Adequate documentation and educational courses complement our services to successfully roll out our innovative products and solutions to the market.
Due to their unique physical and mechanical properties, precious metals can be employed in a host of applications encompassing many sectors of medical technology. Without any doubt, in dental applications, precious metals represent the golden standard for functional repair. There are hardly any alternatives in this highly specific application field.
In addition to the dental field, which of course is paramount for us, precious metals can also be used as a material in minimally invasive surgery or as an electrical conductor in cochlear implants, for example. Moreover, precious metals such as gold or platinum have recently begun to be used in the field of nanotechnology and medication, where they act as nano carriers for drugs to ensure that they are released where desired, while the known bactericidal effect of silver is used for coating catheters and also in connection with optimising bone growth.
Precious metals have indeed become increasingly rare in modern dental engineering, but they are still being used. Progress in materials technology has meanwhile led to numerous alternatives and a host of different material combinations. However, advances have not only been made in terms of materials - entirely new business models have also been created through digitalisation. Cendres+Métaux has already been involved in these trends for years and, in close cooperation with partners, has started to develop new, non-metallic solutions and introduce digital processes.
Today, we are in a position of exclusively offering our customers the high-performance polymer Pekkton®. It is based on the material PEKK (polyetherketoneketone) and can be processed in many different ways. It offers exceptional physical and mechanical properties, usually 10-15% higher than competitor material PEEK (polyetheretherketone).
Today, we have the option of manufacturing the tiniest simple or complex parts for medical applications from diverse materials. Small components for implantation are our true passion.