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 Clean, biocompatible manufacturing facilities give life to implantable motors

I askedWilliamMason,maxonmotor

UK’sMD, about the impact of the new facility on the healthcare industry and he explained that this is a large part of the company’s work, with half ofmaxon motor’s turnover coming fromthemedical sector,much of which relates to implant devices. “The technology is growing and the

smaller themotor, themore you can do with it. But as the size decreases, the need to control contamination becomesmore critical and so we decided to invest in new facilities to cater for these technological demands,” he explains. Mason expanded on this by explaining

One more step towards bionic implants

maxonmotor is building a clean facility in Switzerland for building tinymotors formedical implants. By Jonathan Newell


t’s hard to imagine amore ideal setting than the geographical heart of Switzerland, with its cuckoo-clock villages,mountain lakes and Alpine fresh air, in which to build a state-of-

the-art biocompatible cleanroom. Yet that is wheremaxonmotor is basing its new facility in which it will buildminiature motors that will domore than run with the precision of a Swiss watch, but will keep life ticking as part of the latest generation ofmedical implants. The facility is part of an innovation

centremaxonmotor is building at its headquarters in the village of Sachseln. Stretching fromthe existing buildings down to the shore of Lake Sarnen, the

facility, with its floor area ofmore than 2,000 sqm– which doubles the existing space available to the company’smedical department, will provide space for the research, development and production of medical drives.

MINIATURE IMPLANTABLE MOTORS maxonmotor willmanufacture its smallest motors in the facility, some of which are only 4mmthick. They will be used in insulin pumps,medication delivery systems and surgical robots. In order to meet the stringent quality demands in the medical field, the production area will be equipped with cleanrooms, including a biocompatible room.

that rapid innovation in the industry is creating implant applications that require components which cannot fail without having life critical implications.

BIOCOMPATIBLE MANUFACTURING Currently,maxonmotor has an ISO Class 8 cleanroomat itsmedical facility in Switzerland and the innovation centre will house another such cleanroomas well as one thatmeets ISO Class 7 requirements. The Class 7 cleanroomwill also be equipped to fulfill the hygiene conditions for biocompatibility and it will be here that the company will assemble its implant range ofmotors. Starting in February, the construction

project will lastmore than a year, with a scheduled availability date of the summer of 2018. Costing around SFr30m(about £20m), the innovation centre will generate employment for around 350 people and occupy an area of around 2,300 sqm. The project includes landscaping tomeet local environmental requirements and will be powered using sustainable energy generation with the installation of solar power equipment that can generate 180MWh of electricity a year.

SUSTAINABLE GROWTH The construction of the innovation centre is part ofmaxonmotor’s sustainable growth plan, which focuses on research and development,medical technology, complete drive systems in the shape of mechatronics and the use of Industry 4.0 connectedmanufacturing technology. Industry 4.0 is at the heart of building

the new facility as a smart factory, enabling themanufacturing ofmaxon products to benefit fromimproved flexibility, speed and efficiency through the use of automation and information technologies. “The new innovation centre is amove to

strengthen our Swiss headquarters in order to become stronger internationally,” says maxon CEO, Eugen Elmiger. EE

February 2017 /// Environmental Engineering /// 31

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