Magazine December 2012

All the latest information from the textile world

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How to manufacture a heart-lung system

Textiles save lives. They provide oxygen and keep the cardiovascular system running smoothly – as special membranes inside oxygenators used during heart-lung surgery. The Neckar-Alb region of Germany is where high-tech meets high-tech, with comprehensive medical technology expertise on the one hand and efficient, powerful knitting machine needles on the other. That's why Maquet Cardiopulmonary AG has relied for many years now on the quality and precision of products from Groz-Beckert.

Investment in a dynamic region

MAQUET and Groz-Beckert not only have high quality standards in common, they also share the same location. For both companies, the Neckar-Alb high-tech cluster is indispensable. To secure its long-term success, MAQUET is investing millions in a new clean room production center and a new research laboratory in Hechingen, both of which will be in place by the end of 2012. This will transform Hechingen into the group's center of excellence for oxygenators. And around 20 kilometers away from Hechingen, an excellent example of a successful investment in the future of R+D in the textile world can be admired in the shape of Groz-Beckert's Technology and Development Center, which was opened at the company's headquarters in Albstadt in 2010.

Heart-lung care for patients

In oxygenator production, knitting machines are used to process membrane fibers into mats. The oxygenators, manufactured under clean-room conditions, are basically a kind of "artificial lung" for the most diverse applications in medicine based on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation.

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Extracorporeal means that blood is guided out of the body and enriched with oxygen, and the CO2 it contains is eliminated, which corresponds to the function of the lung. At the core of the oxygenator, a microporous membrane functioning as a diffuser is a key component in this process. The fresh blood is then pumped back into the body's circulation – which corresponds to the function of the heart. At MAQUET, the high-tech membrane is manufactured using knitting-machine needles by Groz-Beckert.

The oxygenators from Hechingen are used most frequently in patient heart and lung care. During surgery, inside heart-lung machines, they keep the patients alive, and even outside the operating room they assist those who are gravely ill – as a result of serious infections, for instance, or life-threatening situations caused by limited heart and lung function.

Partners in medicine – for physicians and patients alike

The MAQUET company in Hechingen is named "Maquet Cardiopulmonary AG" and is a part of the MAQUET "Cardiovascular" division, based in Rastatt, Germany. Since 1838 MAQUET has been a reliable partner to hospitals and physicians – and today to global leaders in medical systems for cardiovascular surgery and intensive care. MAQUET develops and designs innovative products and therapy applications for operating rooms, hybrid operating rooms and catheter laboratories, intensive care wards, and patient transportation applications in acute care clinics. In this way, the company is constantly helping to improve patient care as well as quality of life.

Cardiac support – additional services

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In addition to oxygenators, the cardiovascular division at MAQUET also manufactures products for intra-aortic balloon counterpulsation therapy in cardiac support, for coronary-arterial bypass surgery, and for aortic and peripheral vascular surgery. The recent acquisition of Atrium Medical has enhanced the therapy options available to MAQUET Cardiovascular in the thrombus management, heart surgery and biosurgery sectors.

An important member of the global Getinge Group

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MAQUET is a subsidiary of the Swedish Getinge Group, which is listed on the stock exchange. In 2011 MAQUET generated almost 1.4 billion Euro – equivalent to more than half the Group's annual revenues of 2.4 billion Euro. The Getinge Group has 13,000 employees worldwide (6,000 of whom work for MAQUET) and 50 international sales and service organizations. Over 280 distribution partners form part of the global network.

Groz-Beckert is contributing to the success

Groz-Beckert thanks MAQUET for the good partnership and looks forward to further successful cooperation in the future. To find out more about the special requirements placed on knitting-machine needles in membrane production for oxygenators, just get in touch with the experts from Groz-Beckert, who will be happy to assist!