[ Published in HOERBIGER@MOTION April 2014 ]
HOERBIGER lifting columns ensure secure and versatile patient positioning on operating tables.
Ville Laine, CEO and owner of LOJER OY – a leading medical equipment manufacturer – attaches utmost importance to sustainable, organic growth. Premium operating tables, senior care equipment as well as medical wellness tables have been the supporting pillars of the portfolio for some 30 years now. "We are facing tough competition in Russia and Europe," explains Ville Laine. "We can only achieve the necessary growth with sophisticated design and quality in keeping with European standards." To ensure the high quality standard, the majority of parts are produced in-house: "Here in Finland, we have control over the entire production process: this is our core competency. We seek out partners for performance-defining components and systems very carefully; in addition to an excellent quality standard, they must have high development expertise for innovative products for the future. For years now, HOERBIGER has performed this role for the performance-defining component – the lifting column."
Ville Laine: "HOERBIGER is our first choice in this market niche."
THE CORE: LIFTING COLUMN
Important competencies that LOJER is not able to cover with its in-house process are contributed by reliable partners. The core of an operating table is the electrohydraulic lifting column; during surgery, it moves the table and, as a result, the patient with precision and reliability – and it does so in six possible axes. This requires specialized knowledge - know-how that LOJER found in HOERBIGER.
The first contact between LOJER and HOERBIGER came in 2006 at the MEDICA in Düsseldorf, the leading international medical trade show. LOJER CEO Ville Laine visited HOERBIGER's Production and Development in Barbing just a few weeks after learning about the compact design of the lifting column at the HOERBIGER trade show booth. He had to see for himself on-site that he could trust HOERBIGER to supply the core of his product. HOERBIGER has delivered hundreds of lifting columns for operating tables made by LOJER since. In total, the Barbing location of HOERBIGER Automation Technology has shipped more than 72,000 lifting columns used in operating tables worldwide.
RELIABLE AND GEARED TOWARD BENEFIT
Operating tables must be designed to last a minimum of 15 years, which necessitates maximum reliability. HOERBIGER ensures this reliability by intelligently combining and perfectly tuning standard components, such as hydraulic cylinders and connectors, control blocks and other fluid components. This combination of tried and tested components results in a performance-defining operating table system, which is primarily geared toward the needs of the surgical teams and patients.
An operating table must not stand in the way of physicians and nursing staff. During surgery, the patient must be virtually free-floating, which is ensured by the central attachment of the lifting column. The operating table must be easy to use, allowing the medical staff to focus on their responsibilities instead of having to undergo protracted training on the technical use of the table. Finally, the lifting column must be able to securely position and move patient weights of up to 770 pounds. Patient weight specifications vary depending on the target market. Worldwide, there are vast differences between maximum patient weights that must be considered when it comes to dimensioning operating tables. While operating tables must be designed for weights up to 350 kilograms (770 pounds) in the USA, the required maximum figures in Asia, notably in China, as well as South America is 180 kilograms (396 pounds) at most. HOERBIGER therefore now offers specific lifting columns for the respective markets.
CHALLENGING MARKET ENVIRONMENT
"To be able to compensate for the additional costs resulting from the development and high-end manufacture of a quality product from Finland through higher prices in the market, we must always guarantee our customers added value compared to our competition." LOJER consistently bases the added value offense on the benefit for the customer – ease of use, along with maximum reliability and functionality of the operating tables. The next generation will have a more convenient design, notably in terms of control and maintenance aspects. Both are creating exciting tasks for HOERBIGER in the ongoing development of its lifting columns. In the future, the surgical team must be able to determine the exact position of as many as six positioning cylinders in the lifting column at one glance. This will allow the patient's position to be fine-tuned quickly and precisely. For the next generation of lifting columns, HOERBIGER is already working on an integrated positioning control unit as well as on an option for continuously visualizing the positions of key axes.