What prompted Mikron’s entry into the medtech industry?

Jean-François Bauer: We started designing assembly automation systems in 1976, based on our machining experience, which stretches all the way back to 1908. The first industry, we served was the household, with door hinges, gas valves and lookers, followed by electrical industries and consumer goods. Building lines for automotive airbag gas generators gave us knowledge in precision and traceability. At the end of the 1980s, we asked our UK sales team to look after the medtech market as we had the knowledge to address it. At the start of the following decade we began work on our first project, and this was the start of our success in this industry.

What lessons has the company learned from its work in the automotive, consumer goods and electrical industries that it has applied in its services for the medtech sector?

Our work in the automotive sector granted us intricate knowledge of traceability and data storage management. For example, when assembling a gas generator, every process needs to be totally under control, tested and validated, simply because no final functional test can be done. The consumer goods sector also gave us process knowledge for plastic components, as well as the outside body shape aesthetic conformity. Management of variants was the point in the electrical industry. All of this knowledge generated by our engineering teams made us a perfect fit for the production of assembly lines for medical devices.

In what types of medical devices can we see Mikron’s expertise in play?

At Mikron, we’re especially interested in targeting disposable devices that one can hold in the palm of their hand. These include inhalers, pen injectors, auto-injectors, wearables, point of care, catheters, safety syringes and molecular diagnostics devices. Our expertise lies especially in the development and integration of complex processes for production output for up to 400 devices a minute, and we offer scalable solutions from the first idea to the highestperformance solutions.

What are Mikron’s ‘design for assembly’ experience and ‘proof of principle’ capabilities, and how do they help guide the customer through the design process of a product through to its completion on the assembly line?

Our vast experience on high-speed, complex process development and integration calls for our expertise; increasingly, we are asked by our customers to give advice on design for assembly or design for manufacturing. The level of our involvement depends on the maturity of the market, the customer’s knowledge of automation and their strategy. Proof of principle is one of the key successes for the future of automated assembly line efficiency. This step is nigh-on crucial, especially for new device, in ensuring that the feasibility, the efficiency and the reliability of the process is guaranteed at any level of automation. Our Mikron scalable strategy is 100% set up in this direction.

Can you tell us about Mikron’s customer service after the point of purchase?

We offer, aside from spare parts, a continuous improvement programme of the line for our customers, as well as specific training, maintenance programmes and connected services. Our offering also extends to services that include data management, remote control and preventive maintenance. In the near future, we’ll also be offering more value-added services. In short, we are the partner of our customer for the entire life cycle of their products.