"Customers get ideal diagnostics solutions"
| Petra Rehmet
KraussMaffei responds to the increased demand in medical technology
If you do a lot of testing, you need a lot of material. The need for diagnostics products such as pipette tips, PCR plates and petri dishes has risen sharply in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, during production there is a demand not only for the highest quality and purity standards, but also for very high yields. In an interview with ahead, Stefan Fenske (Director Global Application Owner Non-Automotive) and Markus Lunz (Head of Service Portfolio Development) explain what is important here and where in particular KraussMaffei can offer advantages.
If I as a processor would like to expand my capacities in the area of diagnostics, what solution would you recommend?
The ideal customer solution in the diagnostics area is our all-electric PX, equipped with our sprue picker and our socialProduction app.
The PX is perfectly tailored to the quality, performance and efficiency requirements of the diagnostics area. Our separate clamp and injection unit beds allow us to provide a wide range of varying, fine-tuned modular combinations for clamping force and injection capacity. Furthermore, in the standard version you can choose between normal and larger platens for any clamping force size. That is particularly interesting for articles such as pipette tips, which are injected in the lengthwise direction. The projected area and thus the required clamping force are low. However, larger platens are frequently needed because the mold grows considerably due to the high number of cavities.
Is the machine cleanroom-compliant?
The standard version of the PX is suitable for medical applications because it produces very cleanly—and has excellent visibility and accessibility. For example, you can remove the enclosure elements very quickly and easily. Furthermore, depending on the cleanroom requirements, there are more equipment options, such as a high-gloss finish, lubricant-free and chrome-plated platens and tiebars or enclosed ejectors and drives.
And how are components demolded?
It is best when, as mentioned at the beginning, our sprue picker is used, which enables minimal demolding times and has a compact design that allows it to fit in the cleanroom. With this sprue picker, the manufacturing cell remains extremely compact, which means significant cost savings for the cleanroom.
High-quantity applications such as diagnostics have to be operating around the clock. What added value do digital solutions offer me as a processor?
Precisely for such cases we have developed socialProduction, which combines the advantages of social media and ways they are used with the cutting-edge technology of production monitoring. The result is a completely innovative, interactive experience for communication between human and machine, because the machine becomes a participant in your own chat room. If necessary, it sends messages, which in turn can be seen by all participants. This means that, even when there is a shift change, no information is lost.
The production process is continuously monitored by a patented, self-learning technology. Relevant irregularities in the process are identified at an early stage based on the recorded machine data and proactively communicated to the user before the component quality suffers or a standstill occurs. So it is ideal for manufacturing diagnostics products.
The increased demand for diagnostics products surely has not yet passed in the course of COVID-19. How do you provide your customers with the level of support they are used to despite further restrictions?
As a system provider of injection molding machines and automation solutions, we are perfectly prepared for this. In recent months and years, we have also specifically optimized our delivery times and can react quickly.
Extreme speed, for example, was the requirement expressed by a leading US-based manufacturer of laboratory equipment. Within a very short period, it had to boost its production of test materials for COVID-19 many times over. KraussMaffei helped with this and shipped multiple machines in next to no time, and despite restrictions the tight delivery period was met. We had also coordinated with the on-site service at an early stage, so commissioning went quickly and without a hitch. We are convinced that "Global support for local success" will lead us to success with and for our customers in the future, too.
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