Our 11th Year of Publication
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Cover Story


- Mr Horst Giesen, 

Project Director, Medica 2004

Plastics Gain New Importance in Medicine at ComPaMED

- Mr Horst Giesen, Project Director, Medica 2004
  • Significant Increase in Exhibitor Numbers at ComPaMED 2004 in Duseldorf. 
  • Micropumps, Biochips and Nanomedicine are Rising Stars.

Despite prophets of doom and professional nay-sayers, economic success stories from Germany do exist. Both MEDICA, the world’s largest medical trade fair, and ComPaMED, the leading trade fair of the supply market in medical manufacturing, already surpassed last year’s exhibitor registration numbers in May. Messe Dusseldorf hosts the two events in November ( MEDICA 24-27 Nov.; ComPaMED 24-26 Nov.). The particularly good news is that domestic registrations are steady while foreign ones have gained. 239 companies have announced they will participate in ComPaMED (2003: 183 exhibitors). About third are from Germany, while some 64% come from other countries, The venue is also becoming increasingly more attractive : ComPaMED is moving into the new exhibition hall 8, which offers 13,500 m2 of level floor space in the immediate vicinity of the north main entrance. 

ComPaMED 2004 picks up on the treads emerging from last year. Prof. Jurgen Fleischer, the chair of the Institute for Production Technology at the University of Karlsruhe, explains : “ Increasing miniaturization combined with simultaneous integration of functions is a key theme of global product development in the most diverse application field”. In particular, this significantly applies to medical technology, which receives major inspiration from ComPaMED. On one hand, the focus is on materials that are prerequisites for permanent system reduction and, on the other hand, these innovative materials require that their manufacturing and forming processes are co-developed.
For example, thin XXS GmbH based in Zweibrucken. The company is presenting minute pumps and mixers for use in medical technology at ComPaMED. Dr. Thomas Stange, the marketing head of thinXXS, reports: “We are creating the prerequisites for diagnostic equipment directly on the patient”. Minute pumps are as indispensable in hese lab-on-a-chip systems as in many other fields of medicine. The latest product from Zweibrucken is barely larger than a euro coin and weighs less than a pencil. It pumps up to six millitres per minute but consumer less than 0.2 Watt in the process. An unusual pump drive is responsible for this high throughput - piezoceramics instead of a motor provide the necessary pressure for moving liquids. The material, a plastic, is also the essential component in micromixers with snake-like winding channels because modern casting technologies allow it to be worked so that the liquids in the canals are mixed fast and effectively.

“There is a clear vision behind systems that need our components: there is a rush to make test strips, such as those in conventional pregnancy tests, as accurate as current laboratory tests”, says Stange. Then, a mere few drops of biofluid will provide results on a whole series of illnesses right at the patient’s bedside.

To achieve this purpose, suitable sensors are required not only here but in many other systems. Custom produced for clients by Campus Micro Technologies GmbH (CMT, Bremen), they measure pressure, acceleration, humidity, ultrasound or fluid state etc. Matthias Wenzel, project manage for Biomedical MEMS at Campus, says : “Another important possibility for use are telemetric implants that send data from the body’s interior to external recipients”. CMT cooperates with the development center of Microsystems Center Bremen (MCB) and the consignment manufacturer MST/MEMS Waferfoundry microFAB Bremen GmbH. As a result, it offers a broad spectrum of the most current manufacturing technologies in microelectronics and Microsystems technology.

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