We are always hearing about infections in hospitals and their serious consequences. Breathing tubes on respirators, for instance, are often such traps, since condensate can form in the folds of the tubes. This results in bacteria. What can be done about it? Well, develop a tube without folds for example, with a smooth inner wall. Just such a smooth-walled breathing tube is now being produced in medical technology. With the help of the single-screw extruder developed by the Ematik Company in Saxony-Anhalt.
'Extruder – what on earth is that?', a question asked by probably every layman raising his eyebrows upon hearing this word for the first time. 'Actually, you should imagine yourself at the confectioners, when the pastry chef is making shortbread biscuits', explains Henner Dörnenburg, Managing Director of the Ematik GmbH Company in Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt. 'The only difference is that with our extruders, it is not pastry that is put into the syringe but plastic.' The plastic granulate is pressed through the rotating screw – being fused in the process, squeezed by a tool and then cooled down again. Finally, the customer then has a tube, a seal or a film.
Ematik GmbH is a company that markets its know-how. Its trumps consist of 25 employees – highly qualified engineers, recruited from the advanced technical colleges and universities of Saxony-Anhalt. Ematik’s core business is automation: software, hardware, switchboard plants and more.
The knowledge that Ematik markets to companies is highly specialised: For example, situated on the factory yard at Magdeburg airfield stand white control room huts für the FAM GmbH Company in Magdeburg. These control room huts are intended for Russia, where they will control the unloading of goods wagons at a freight yard.
In the workshop, the engineers are meticulously working on huge control boxes with endlessly multi-coloured cables ordered by a textile machinery company in Australia.
But that is still not enough automation! 'I have always wanted to manufacture a product myself', Managing Director Henner Dörnenburg relates, 'and since we already built the extruder switchboards for the former Sket GmbH Company, we went ahead and integrated the production of extruders into our range of products following the SKET insolvency.'
Henner Dörnenburg has never regretted this step. For the past 10 years Ematik has specialised in single-screw extruders and established a worldwide reputation for themselves. The Continental Company uses Ematik extruders to produce fuel hoses for automobiles; Beiersdorf/Tesa manufactures films using extruders made in Magdeburg. To these examples must be added numerous medical technology companies, whose products include the aforementioned breathing tubes. Siemens has made Ematik one of its Solution Partners – i.e. by having Siemens products especially installed by Ematik on a targeted basis. 'A real accolade', Dörnenburg is proud to say.
The single-screw extruders appear on the market under the name 'SKETmatik'. There is even a SKETmatik branch in Moscow, as demand in Eastern Europe is strong. Each customer request – irrespective of where in the world it comes from – for an extruder is treated as an individual request and is dealt with by Ematik correspondingly. It must not be forgotten that there exist over 2,000 different plastics, which have to be treated with adapted extruders. 'At Ematik the customer can always speak to the developer right away, allowing us to meet customer’s specific requirements. This is not possible with large companies', stresses Dörnenburg.
The design of the extruder screw is the decisive factor in this process. It determines what comes out of the loaded and fused plastic granulate. For this reason you can find an extremely wide range of different extruder screws in the Ematik warehouse: some so large and heavy that you can hardly lift them, while others are feathery light in your hand.
Although the extruder is assembled in Magdeburg, the individual components come from over 50 suppliers. 'We only perform the finishing here', the managing director explains. 'Ultimately, our performance principally relates to the development – the know-how'. The times when Saxony-Anhalt was merely a subcontractor have long since gone and because the order books are full, Ematik intends to expand in the near future. For this purpose, Ematik has acquired an additional 3.000 m² of industrial property, intended for the creation of a new workshop.
The latest invention of the Ematik engineers is an exceptionally small extruder screw. It is part of a micro-extruder designed to produce a tiny catheter tube – diameter: 2 mm. This places Ematik GmbH a long way ahead of its rivals, also in terms of medical technology and research. Close contacts exist with the University Hospital of the Otto von Guericke University in Magdeburg, which itself, in turn, closely collaborates with the electrical engineering industry, in order to develop an 'intelligent' catheter. 'We also co-finance an endowed chair', the Ematik managing director emphasises with pride.
All this and more can be seen at the K Trade Fair in Düsseldorf, in Hall 16, Booth D68: The new, threaded breathing tubes, produced with Ematik extruders, as well as the new micro extruder. 'Our strength lies in technical know-how and in providing individual solutions for our customers', states Henner Dörnenburg. 'That is what we intend to demonstrate at K 2013.'
Author: Anja Schlender
Managing Director: Henner Dörnenburg
Technical Director: Frank Juling
ph: +49 391 72798-0
Fax: +49 391 72798-33