Medical manufacturing has a shared set of challenges – from specific material choices, tools and consumables to manufacturing data tracking and compliance with ISO13485. In creating the Medical Solutions Center of Competence, GF Machining Solutions is ensuring that a team of highly trained professionals with medical manufacturing experience works together in meeting these needs. Not only are the machines for Additive Manufacturing, Laser Machining, High-Speed Milling, wire-cutting and die sinking EDM on site, but also the software and the people who speak the language of the medical industry.
The reason for choosing this specific location for the new facility is simple: Schorndorf is located near the heart of Europe's medical device industry and can therefore serve leading manufacturers and designers of medical devices. Just an hour south of the facility in Schorndorf is also the Kompetenzzentrum für Spanende Fertigung (or "KSF"), part of Hochschule Furtwangen University – one of Europe's leading universities for Medical Engineering. GF Machining Solutions has recently collaborated with KSF providing them with cutting-edge milling and laser systems in order to help them advance new product designs and manufacturing processes for medical devices.
The Center of Competence Schorndorf has been inaugurated with a hybrid opening event (with customers participating online and press representatives physically on-site) on July 15, 2021. The entire workflow of a bone saw guide block produced by GF Machining Solutions' machines was shown as part of the event. Machines involved in the workflow path include the Mikron MILL S 600 U, the AgieCharmilles LASER P 400 U and the AgieCharmilles CUT P 550. Workflows to produce other medical parts, using technologies such as Additive Manufacturing, will follow shortly.
Making a bone saw guide block efficiently and reliably brings many challenges that all need to be met. However, an important factor to consider is that, in order to comply with medical regulations, the manufacturing data for each part must be captured during the process. To meet this need, every machine inside the workflow is connected to GF Machining Solutions' software "WorkshopManager", which releases the order and manages each machine in the workflow. Automated data management is important for medical manufacturers – this is why visitors begin their tour of our Center of Competence at the data corner before continuing to Milling, Laser and EDM stations. At the end of the path, customers are able to take with them not only a part manufactured at the Center of Competence, but also a printed version of its manufacturing history record, which is crucial when manufacturing medical parts.
The Center of Competence is only one element of a series of actions and investments that are driving GF Machining Solutions' growth in the Medical industry. As defined in the company's Strategy 2025, achieving success in the Medical industry is one of the key goals in the years to come. Evidence for this focus are the collaborations with the KSF and other major research institutes, such as the Korean Institute of Interventional Mechanobio Technology (KIMET) in Jeonju, which thanks to GF Machining Solutions is developing next generation medical devices and implants using a Mikron MILL S 400 U five-axis milling machine.
Selection of the part to be made (bone saw guide block)
Data Corner and release of the order
Additive Manufacturing for medical devices
Although Additive Manufacturing is not a part of the workflow presented above, this technology plays an important role in the production of medical devices. See in the video below how Additive Manufacturing can help building medical parts.