Ypsomed – innovation for infusion and injection
Ypsomed is a global leader in developing and manufacturing injection and infusion systems for self-medication. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies dispense their medications to treat cancer, multiple sclerosis or migraines in the tried-and-tested injection systems from the Bern-based family company. In addition, the recognised diabetes specialist with over 35 years of experience offers a portfolio of products and services to self-treat diabetes. In addition to infusion sets and insulin pumps, these include blood glucose monitoring systems and solutions for improving diabetes care.
While most customers to date have mainly been from Europe and North America, the number of customers in the Asian markets is also growing significantly. Ypsomed is a global major player in the field of auto-injection systems. Every year, 600 million high-precision pen needles, which have a thin-walled cannula to achieve optimised drug flow, leave the Burgdorf plant. Using a specially developed production process, the needle tips are ground six times, which means you hardly feel a thing when the needle goes in.
From the first micro-insulin pump to a small group of companies
Brothers Willy and Peter Michel founded Disetronic in 1984 and introduced the world's first micro-insulin pumps to the market in the same year. In addition to the infusion systems, the family-owned company also specialised in injection systems. In 2003, Willy Michel sold Disetronic with the infusion business to Roche. At the same time, the injection division Ypsomed was created, which today employs around 1800 people worldwide as part of a global network of production sites, subsidiaries and distribution partners, more than 500 of whom are in Burgdorf. In 2010, the small group of companies returned to the insulin pump business: first with the sale of the "mylife OmniPod" and since 2017 with the independent launch of the "mylife YpsoPump" insulin pump. In order to meet its ambitious growth targets, Ypsomed is currently expanding its production capacities at the plant opened in Schwerin, Germany, in 2019.
Adaptable and scalable production
Innovative injection pens and auto-injectors, tailored to individual needs, are in demand for several reasons. With a strong patient focus, interdisciplinary teams are developing innovative methods to produce user-friendly products. From technical development to design through to production and packaging, all processes are carried out in-house at Ypsomed. In order to quickly supply pharmaceutical companies with solutions that meet their needs, the listed company has designed a modular product platform that delivers flexible adjustments to design and reduced time-to-market.
The highly automated production plants, which have rapidly expandable capacities depending on customer requirements, can be adapted accordingly. A flexible process design also enables small quantities to be produced as well as large-scale production. Around 120 injection moulding machines (1K and 2K) with coupled handling systems process a wide range of plastics. Ypsomed independently manufactures a variety of tools, moulds, highly specialised devices and prototypes for this purpose. Several eroding processes, rapid tooling and 3D printing are used in addition to HSC and CNC milling, surface grinding and circular grinding.
Digitalisation also applies to self-medication
As in production, the key word being lean manufacturing, there is a clear trend towards digitalisation in self-care too. Ypsomed sees great potential in automating insulin delivery where an app helps to manage treatment. To this end, the developers in Burgdorf are now working on an intelligent pen needle, which will record treatment-related data that will be transferred to a specially programmed app. This reusable needle set will have a service life of more than two years.
To address the digital challenges, the small business recently opened a new hub in Barcelona, which focuses on developing device control systems, apps and cloud tools. This focus on the digital technology is important because there must be absolutely no software errors in the healthcare sector. Simon Michel, CEO of Ypsomed and son of the co-founder, adds to the product philosophy: "We are committed to making self-care a matter of course".
Collaboration with Brütsch/Rüegger Tools
The partnership with Ypsomed dates back more than 20 years: Brütsch/Rüegger Tools supplies the medical technology company with standard parts such as hydraulic push units, lifting means or joining tecnniques, as well as products for assembly technology, measurement technology, production technology and personal protective equipment. These are mainly used in in-house tool, auxiliary and prototype construction. Andreas Danner, Vice President of Tool Manufacturing at Ypsomed, explains: "We rely on suppliers who are 100% reliable and meet all deadlines without exception." This is no surprise considering supply chains are optimised down to the last detail. Because in the pharmaceutical industry, there is a direct link between production downtime and damage to health. Andreas Danner summarises: "For us, it is important that resources are procured efficiently and that we can use one supplier to cover as many orders as possible".