Experts in Man & Machine
Success stories 03.12.2020

Emergency medical production: Stäubli makes the commitment

Focus

During March this year, France was unprepared for the COVID-19 pandemic, with an inadequate supply of gloves, masks, and vital equipment for people in respiratory distress. Industrialists in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region began working to urgently build up a State stock of filters required for the operation of artificial respirators. Their solution: an automated cell combining the SCARA TS2-60 and 6-axis TX2-90 Stäubli robots, designed and manufactured within a few weeks.

At the beginning of 2020, Hervé de Malliard, CEO of MGA Technologies (Civrieux d’Azergues, France) observed the first signs of the COVID-19 crisis. As chairman of the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Committee of French Foreign Trade Advisors, he anticipated that there would be a shortage of medical equipment and contacted the health authorities.

“French hospitals only had 5,000 ventilators available. With global production capacities saturated, and all available stocks having already been snapped up, we didn’t have a moment to waste in order to save lives.MGA compiled a list of 62 respirator manufacturers located throughout the world, established what their capacities and stocks were, informed them of the upcoming shortage of consumable items, then proposed to the French government to build up a State stock of filters for respirators to cover needs for several months or even several years. The French government accepted this offer, provided that we were responsible for the industrial manufacture of these medical devices and maintained a 100% French owned subsidiary.”

Hervé de Malliard, CEO of MGA Technologies

A race against time

Hervé de Malliard, also known as the Ambassador of “French Fab”, helped manufacturers and start-ups to assemble the 400 parts required for the construction of a respirator and thus reorganized the manufacture of a French supply chain for certain critical components. When borders close, proximity becomes crucial…

“Fortunately, he noted, the South-East area of France possessed the required industrial resources for the project. Adrien Mithalal, director of PhysioAssist (Aix-en-Provence, France), was introduced to us through the Institut Mérieux. He contributed his knowledge of the design and manufacture of these medical devices and opened up his network to us to source the required materials.”

Infiplast, a French plastics company for medical devices, was asked to design, prototype, test and manufacture a critical respirator part: the housing containing the HME filter (heat and moisture exchanger).

“The company began working with whatever materials it had to produce tools and approve products, with the collaboration of various hospitals.”

Alain Michaud, industrial manufacturing manager at Infiplast (Oyonnax, France)

Stäubli takes up the challenge

To respond quickly to French Government’s needs, Infiplast had to set up a dedicated production line.

“We then approached Stäubli, the world leader in cleanroom robotics. The location of Faverges in nearby French Alps was ideal for this partnership. The company’s proactive response helped us to assemble an automated and insulated workstation, covering design to automation, in less than 10 weeks. A feat, since this type of project ordinarily takes at least 24 weeks to set up! A true example of team success, inspiring for all our technicians.”

Stéphane Buttin, Sales Director MGA Technologies

Stäubli’s response was immediate:

“We responded to MGA Technologies and Infiplast’s request within 48 hours: we made the robots available in record time. Our new SCARA range is especially customised for the requested use. Its closed structure is designed for aseptic and confined cleanroom environments.”

Jacques Dupenloup, Sales Manager France and Benelux Stäubli Robotics

Key dates for the MGA project carried out for Infiplast together with Stäubli

March 18th: to assist hospitals, the three companies began reorganising the manufacturing of the most critically required medical device used for respiratory resuscitation: the HME filter. Infiplast made a 3D prototype in three days and ordered pre-series injection moulds.

May 4th: The design of the automated assembly and test cell began.

May 11th : the HME filter was granted its marketing licence (Article 59 of European regulation 2017/745/EC).

Beginning of June : production of the machine started.

Mid-July : delivery and launch of production of filters for respirators in Oyonnax.

Two robots for an ultra-efficient cell

Production advantages :

  • Compactness
    The machine, adapted to the limitations of the biomedical world, occupies only 8m² of space.
  • Complementary task sharing
    The TX2-90 6-axis robot collects the various plastic parts for the filter at the press outlet. It places the base of the case and its cover on a turntable. After inserting the foam and the membrane, the 6-axis robot assembles the box and places it on the ultrasonic welding station.
    The TS2-60 SCARA robot then positions the boxes for final operations: testing and labelling. It directs the compliant filters towards packaging, and channels non-compliant filters to the rejects.
  • Quality
    Automated production allows for 100% of produced parts to be audited.
  • Speed
    The fast cycle time allows a filter to be assembled every few seconds
  • Cleanliness
    Compatibility with specific aseptic requirements for cleanrooms (ISO 7 certification).


Advantage for humans :

The handling of repetitive and painful tasks by the robot notably avoids hearing problems caused by ultrasonic welding, which is very taxing for operators’ ears.

TS2 SCARA & TX2-90 6 axis

Robotics opens up prospects for the biomedical sector

Integrated in mid-July into the Infiplast production line, the robotic cell made it possible to build up, as quickly as possible, the government’s stock of HME filters for respirators in French hospitals. The manufacture of filters is now sustainable and will soon be opened up internationally to other hospitals.

“It was important for us to be part of the national manufacturing effort by assisting with the securing of health supplies, to strengthen our country’s industrial production capacities. We are proud that we have contributed to the national response to COVID-19.”

Alain Michaud, industrialisation manager at Infiplast

Infiplast respirator filters are distributed under the PROPIUM brand. They contain a membrane that prevents cross-contamination between the patient and the ventilator, combined with a foam that humidifies the air blown into the patient's lungs.
Overview of Infiplast Date of founding: 1989
  • Production: development and production of thermoplastic medical devices, with EC branding
  • Volumes: from 5 to 100 million units, depending on the product
  • Market: 49% export
  • Clients: Carmat, B.Braun, BioRad, Guerbet, Zeiss, Thermo Fischer
Overview of MGA Technologies Date of founding: 1980
  • Production: design and manufacture of tailor-made machines for future industry, in particular pharmaceuticals, biotech, medical, semiconductors and precision mechanics
  • Annual turnover: 15 million €
  • Staff: 80 people at two sites (Lyon and Avignon)
  • Market: 65% export
  • Clients: Sanofi, bioMérieux, BD, Boehringer Ingelheim, Fresenius, STMicro, Rolex…


Hervé de Malliard | Alain Michaud | Jacques Dupenloup

Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about our latest news

Privacy policy

Stäubli takes your personal data privacy seriously. Please read on to find out more about Stäubli’s privacy policy. Stäubli’s privacy policy is intended to provide information about how Stäubli processes the personal data that is collected as you browse this website.  

Personal Data

The term “personal data” refers to any information that is not otherwise available publicly and that can be used to identify you directly or indirectly, such as your name, address, e-mail address, or telephone number.    

Data Collection and Use

Stäubli collects personal data when you complete the contact forms on this website. When you register, you will be asked for information such as your name, e-mail address, the name and address of your company, and your telephone number. Stäubli also automatically receives information from your computer and browser, including your IP address, which pages you visit, the length of time you spend on the site, and any documents you download. All personal data is collected, stored, and used by Stäubli to enable us to process your contact and/or registration request (whether or not you have opened a user account; which access rights have been granted), allow you to access the Stäubli partner database, and provide you with the latest information on Stäubli products and services (newsletters on new products, trade fairs, etc.).    

Data Sharing and Disclosure

Stäubli will never rent, sell, or share your personal data with, or disclose your personal data to, other persons or companies outside of the Stäubli Group, except to comply with legal obligations imposed on Stäubli (for example, responding to a judicial order), to exercise its rights, or to defend itself against legal actions. Some companies within the Stäubli Group are located outside the European Union, in countries that do not have personal data protection legislation equivalent to that applying in the European Union. The Stäubli Group has implemented the necessary safeguards to supervise such transfers to a third country. Information on the safeguards implemented for this purpose is available upon request by contacting data.privacy@staubli.com.    

Data Storage Period

Your personal data will be held by Stäubli for the time necessary to fulfill the purposes identified.    

Right of Access to And Rectification or Erasure of Personal Data and the Exercise of the Right to Object

You have the right to access, rectify, object to, restrict, or erase all personal data concerning you that has been collected as part of your request for contact and/or registration with the Partner Database, and you also have the option of requesting Stäubli to stop sending its newsletters to you. The latter can be done by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of each newsletter sent to you. You also have the option to withdraw your consent or to withdraw your consent to the processing to which you have previously agreed. You have the right not to be the subject of an individual decision that is based solely on automated processing, such as profiling. You can request the portability of data concerning you. You may exercise these rights at any time by sending a letter setting out your request to the following address: STÄUBLI TECHNOLOGY & SERVICES, Data Privacy, 7, Avenue du Pré Closet, Parc d’activité des Glaisins, CS 50329, 74943 Annecy-Le-Vieux, France, or by e-mail to data.privacy@staubli.com. In order for us to process your request, you must accompany this letter or e-mail with the elements required to identify you as the holder of the user account in question (username, password, etc.). You have the right to lodge a complaint to the competent supervisory authority responsible for the protection of personal data.    

Security and Confidentiality

Stäubli is committed to protecting your personal data and maintaining its quality, integrity, and confidentiality. Stäubli therefore allows access to your personal data solely to employees who need to consult it as part of their mission. These employees are subject to confidentiality agreements concerning processed personal data, and are aware of the risks and obligations related to processing personal data. Stäubli has also implemented physical, electronic, and administrative safeguards that comply with the legal requirements in place to protect your personal data.    

Changes to the Personal Data Privacy Policy

Stäubli reserves the right to amend its policy on personal data. In the event of an amendment, a notification regarding the new privacy policy will appear upon connecting to this website.    

Questions, Complaints, and Suggestions

Should you have any questions or suggestions regarding Stäubli’s privacy policy, please contact us at the following postal address: STÄUBLI TECHNOLOGY & SERVICES 7, avenue du Pré Closet Parc d’activité des Glaisins CS 50329 74943 Annecy Le Vieux, France Or send an e-mail to data.privacy@staubli.com.    
* Mandatory field An error has occurred. Please try again later.
Thank you for joining our subscription list.
You will be advised when a new edition is made available online.
* Mandatory field An error has occurred. Please try again later.
Thank you for your interest.
Your message has been delivered to our team, which will look into as soon as possible.