World-wide Success Through Outstanding Reliability
Automatic feeders and assembly machines are machines that sort parts and can simultaneously feed them in an ordered manner into a production process. The engineer Walter Creuz from Winnenden near Stuttgart built the first such automatic machines in the year 1959. Today, the company that he founded has the name sortimat Technology GmbH & Co. This high-tech company, operating world-wide, is considered to be the leader for innovative assembly engineering. The most important customers are companies in medical engineering and the pharmaceuticals, automobile and electronics industries, who use more than 2500 sortimat systems in more than 40 countries. The global market leader in assembly plants for medical engineering employs 330 persons in Winnenden, in the USA and in India. In Germany alone, the turnover in the year 2004 was 34 million Euro.
Despite the international outlook, the head office of sortimat will remain in the Stuttgart Region in future as well. Nonetheless, in this age of internationalization, there are good reasons to be present elsewhere as well. Hence, the site in Schaumburg near Chicago is the ideal address for the companys American customers. The factory, with 35 employees and a turnover of 6 million US dollars was bought in 1997; seven years later, 40 employees achieved a turnover of 8 million US dollars. Sortimat USA has rapidly developed into an existentially important second leg; the reputation of the products in the USA is extraordinarily good. At present, the Asian market is gaining considerably in importance. Sortimat employs a staff of 30 in Chinchwad near Mumbai - with about a billion people, India is a gigantic market for medical engineering products.
The cornerstone for the present-day leadership position in the area of assembly machines for medical engineering was laid in the year 1969 with the first assembly machine for disposable syringes. Since then, both the business areas of feeding technology and assembly engineering have proven and established themselves to the same extent. In the 1970s, the international business really picked up momentum: machines that assembled spring pins for the watch industry were shipped to Hong Kong, lipstick assembly lines were shipped to Russia. More and more markets were captured and sortimat began to ship to Israel, South Africa, Venezuela and Columbia. In the 1980s, France, Italy and Russia also developed into established markets.
Sortimat enjoys a world-wide reputation even with regard to the manufacture of assembly machines for medical engineering applications, for example, in the case of tube assemblies. "We recognized that infusion sets, transfusion sets and dialysis sets must be produced fully automatically in large quantities; we have developed special technologies for these product groups", says sortimat Managing Director Hans-Dieter Baumtrog. "Particularly for assemblies with difficult material requirements and unconventional tasks, there is nobody who can challenge our world leadership", asserts Baumtrog. "Apart from challenging clean-room applications, as is often the case in medical engineering, this also includes gentle handling of parts."
The best example of the purposefulness of development policies at sortimat is the flexible assembly line Jetwing. By using it, companies can manufacture even more product variants for different customers and markets simultaneously. Thus, a plant that assembles three-part disposable syringes consisting of a cylinder, piston and seal, can use many new functions and technologies without any additional programming or tooling expense. The recently introduced longitudinal transfer assembly line Spaceline will continue this success story.
The Stuttgart Region
The Stuttgart Region has long been known as the center of Europes automotive and industrial machinery industry. More recently, Eurostat, the European Statistical Office, has labeled it "the high-tech capital of Europe". It is the home of global companies including DaimlerChrysler, Porsche and Bosch and also leading universities and private research institutes. It is a region of 2.6 million people and has Germanys lowest unemployment rate, highest export ratio and the highest number of patents per capita.
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