Medical start-ups usually face two major challenges: product development as such and the transfer of small series to efficient large-scale production. Cost- and time-intensive conversions can be the result if the requirements of series production are not taken into account right from the start.
Hahn-Schickard and Rodinger Kunststoff-Technik GmbH (RKT) made this experience in several customer projects and took this as an opportunity to bundle their competences in the future. With a cooperation, the research and development service provider and the plastics specialist want to facilitate the transfer of ideas from product development to large-scale production for medical start-ups. The cooperation focuses on test carrier systems and in-vitro diagnostics.
RKT has great expertise in the production of microfluidic test cartridges, especially in mould construction for plastic injection moulding as well as in the development and implementation of production processes and equipment for filling, assembly and packaging. Hahn-Schickard is well-versed in the design and product development of diagnostic and therapeutic test systems as well as pre-series production including the development of all associated processes.
Focus on series production right from the start
For a successful transfer to large-scale production, it is advantageous to involve RKT right from the conception and product development stage by Hahn-Schickard. The research institute provides support during the approval and production of the small series. The transfer to large-scale production and industrial manufacturing processes at RKT is thus uncomplicated. "Our cooperation aims to provide the customer with the entire value chain up to the series-produced product," emphasises Nils Paust, deputy director of the institute at Hahn-Schickard. "The decision to have the value chain fully mapped by us and our cooperation partner RKT is up to the customer, but offers many advantages." "If we are involved in the conception at an early stage, processes can be coordinated from the outset, from the design suitable for the tool to the choice of suitable plastics," says Andreas Persch, Head of Sales and Projects at RKT. "This saves costs, because if series production is not considered from the outset, later adjustments in design, materials and processes can significantly increase the expense and valuable time can be lost in marketing the products."
Successful project: PCR test for the point-of-care
The customer example Spindiag shows what successful cooperation between RKT and Hahn-Schickard can look like. The company is a spin-off from Hahn-Schickard in Freiburg and has developed a PCR test for the detection of SARS-CoV-2 pathogens directly at the point of care. From the manual process steps of the small series predefined by Spindiag, RKT GmbH has built up an industrial, automated production line with its know-how on production technology and efficiency. In the meantime, they are working together on the design transfer for further PCR test systems for the detection of other pathogens.
About RKT - Rodinger Kunststoff-Technik GmbH
RKT GmbH is one of the technology leaders for innovative plastics processing in the medical technology, automotive and electronics sectors. Founded in 1974, the company produces for renowned customers from all over the world. RKT supports as a manufacturing partner in design development, tool design and construction up to complete manufacturing solutions, e.g. for diagnostics and microfluidics. Customers benefit from an efficient value chain, from plastic injection moulding to the finished packaged product - with collaborative robotics and under controlled cleanroom conditions. RKT currently employs 230 people at its Roding site.