“Cooperations within the remit of development, manufacturing, supplier management, sales and marketing ensure that we can plan for the future and assure capacity for action within the medical technology industry, and have rarely been as important as they are in these difficult times. At this juncture, the suppliers also make a significant contribution to assuring the supply”, emphasises Wolfram Diener, CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, speaking on virtual.COMPAMED 2020. Here, the supplier sector with its expertise and innovative high-tech solutions will present itself as the strong partner that it is for the medical technology industry.
Microtechnology for combating COVID-19
Innovations that can help to overcome the pandemic quickly and effectively are the centre of attention at virtual.COMPAMED for the supplier market for medical manufacturing. Numerous companies from the microtechnology sectors are active here. Many of these are members of the IVAM Association for Microtechnology. This Association will shape the HIGH-TECH FORUM held in the Conference Area of virtual.COMPAMED. They will hold their own session under the title “The Fight Against the Coronavirus” on the second day of the trade fair (17.11, from 2 pm). Microfluidics is a core technology here, with respect to advancing reliable and economic rapid tests and point-of-care diagnostics. Microfluidic systems have many advantages, notably including short analysis times, reduction of production costs and low consumption of samples and/or reagents. These are all points that play a huge role in fighting the pandemic. Automated analytic devices are thus a prerequisite for providing large testing capacities for the novel coronavirus. This automation increases test numbers significantly as it uses faster processes which are ran in parallel, saves on personnel and assures process reliability.
Here, microLIQUID is one of the experts in order processing and order production of disposable microfluidic systems based around polymers. The company works with microfluidic engineers and biomedical process developers that are concentrating on applications in the fastest growing areas of the life science and pharmaceutical industry. microLIQUID’s manufacturing services are adapted to each customer’s specifications and comply fully with leading industrial and governmental standards, including ISO 13485. The solutions enable customers to procure production of small batches, set up new production lines and assure mass manufacturing via the implementation of proprietary automated and scalable technology. With their expertise, microLIQUID is positioned as a partner for developing and manufacturing fully automatic sample preparation and molecular diagnostic systems.
Miniaturisation of optoelectronic modules and components
The role of microtechnology is equally relevant in vaccine and active substance development. AEMtec, an established company for providing complex and reliable solutions in the miniaturisation sector, offers a wide portfolio of technology, including wafer back-end services, chip on board, flip chip, 3D integration and opto packaging. Customer-specific requirements are also fulfilled, particularly those from the medical sector. “Our participation in this year’s COMPAMED is focused around our services and miniaturisation of optoelectronic modules and components for the medical sector, where we are seeing incredibly rapid technical development”, emphasises Jan Trommershausen, Managing Director of AEMTec. The company is involved in various important devices for combating COVID-19. It manufactures components for automated pipetting systems for test evaluation within the viral analysis and medical development sector, components for DNA sequencing in the field of genetic and viral analysis and detector components for CT scanners. These can be used to perform lung scans on affected patients before the test results are received.
Fighting the coronavirus with piezo technology
In “The Fight Against the Coronavirus” forum session, the Physik Instrumente (PI) company will also demonstrate the role that piezo technology plays here. “At the virtual trade fair stand, we also present our standard and customer-specific piezo elements for liquid handling, therapeutic ultrasound and minimally invasive endoscopy, along with transducers and subassemblies for ultrasound applications. Our experts can be seen in the online sessions, including those involving the significance of piezo technology during the COVID-19 era, and can be met personally in the live chat”, explains Annemarie Oesterle, Manager of Medical Technology at PI. PI manufactures and develops sophisticated piezoceramic components and sub-systems for numerous applications in medical technology. It is a global partner with over 25 years of experience. PI’s cutting-edge production plants ensure high quality, flexibility and that deadlines are adhered to for prototypes and for both small batches and large-scale production runs on automated production lines. The piezoelectric PICMA multilayer actuators are perfect for highly dynamic dosing tasks in the medical technology and biotechnology sector. They have an all-ceramic layer of insulation and are protected against moisture, which means that they have an extremely long life. Therefore, they offer a higher level of reliability, even under extreme environmental conditions. Due to their low operating voltage and their capacity to generate high forces, PICMA actuators are used in a variety of medical pumping and dosing applications, such as precision dosing and cell sorting. Piezoelectric elements for distributing and regulating small volumes in the mililitre to picolitre range have made liquid handling applications in in-vitro diagnostics and automation applications in laboratories, such as polymerase chain reaction or sequencing the entire genome, possible. Miniaturised PICMA chip actuators enable droplets to be formed quickly and precisely on even the smallest areas.
Biosensors for multiparametric measurements
Even if the struggle against the current coronavirus will be a significant topic at virtual.COMPAMED 2020, the event will also cover a diverse range of topics. Biosensors have been a subject of much interest in intensive care medicine and management of diabetes for many years. Jobst Technologies, which belongs to the Swiss sensor manufacturer Innovative Sensor Technology (IST), presents a biosensor that is capable of measuring glucose, lactate, glutamine and glutamate simultaneously, even in complex mixtures such as whole blood. “Our sensors have high stability in operation. In particular, their capacity to continuously measure lactate levels, which we have been the only company to achieve up until this point in time, makes it possible to use this device in intensive care medicine for the first time”, explains Gerhard Jobst, founder and CEO of Jobst Technologies. The biosensors employ the enzymatic-amperometric measurement principle. They use immobilised enzymes in order to detect the target analytes with a high level of specificity and reliability. The flow-through biosensor can analyse glucose and lactate levels from 48 samples per hour or monitor them continuously, as does the first glucose and lactate monitor for critically ill patients. Jobst Technologies will present their biosensor and microfluidics portfolio together with the physical and chemical sensors from IST at virtual.COMPAMED.
Printed diagnostics from Finland
Printed diagnostics is another significant field for COMPAMED. The VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is the biggest research institute for applied research in North Europe. The VTT will present core technology from the printed electronics, wearable technology, biosensor and diagnostic sectors which are based around roll-to-roll processes. The Finnish Institute will lead an entire session on “Printed Diagnostics and 3D Printing” at IVAM’s HIGH-TECH FORUM. The VTT sees itself as a one-stop shop for research and development of lab-on-a-chip diagnostics and wearable medical technology in this sector, and is ready to work on projects as a partner at any stage, from conception to mass production. The Finnish team draws on its unique manufacturing infrastructure for pilot projects, along with its many years of experience in the printed electronics, biosensor, wireless communication and material science sectors.
With so many thrilling topics in the pipeline, virtual.COMPAMED couldn’t come at a better time for Dr. Thomas Dietrich, Executive Director of the IVAM Association for Microtechnology. “We haven’t had any trade fairs at all for a long time, and thus haven’t had the chance to speak to the exhibitors and visitors. At last, we can do this again, and we at IVAM will be delighted to receive anyone that wishes to talk to us with an open ear, whether you want to discuss new products and procedures or research that has been done during the corona period.”
All information on virtual.MEDICA.de and virtual.COMPAMED (16 - 19 November), on free registration for online visitors and on networking in the Networking Plaza can be viewed at: https://virtual.COMPAMED and https://virtual.MEDICA.