Interview with MS Techniques

28.03.2019 - 09:00

MS Techniques will be exhibiting at the premiere of T4M. We asked Etienne MALHER, CEO of the supplier for medical technology, for an interview. What current trends does he see in the market and what challenges does his company have to face at the moment, not least due to new EU regulations (MDR) ...

What is MS Techniques?

MS Techniques supplies high tech tubing to medical device manufacturers. 50 employees, extrusion operators, engineers, quality experts collaborate to provide a high level quality service. It is a privately owned company founded in 1992.

Which problems and challenges does your target group or your customers face and which solutions do you offer for them?

Our customers are facing two major types of issues: technical and regulatory. As for techniques, we have a close collaboration with our customer from the conception stage to choose the right material and right tube structure to achieve the expected performances e.g. elasticity/stiffness, torquability, pressure resistance, kink resistance, etc. Regulatory requirements tends to prevail over any other considerations. In this field, MS Techniques helps its customers to fulfil all the registration requirements related to its products.

MS Techniques is a strong exporter. You achieve almost two thirds of your turnover by exporting to Europe and Asia. Which countries are particularly relevant for you and why?

The major medical device manufacturers are in the US and suppliers of these companies are well established. For that reason we focused from the beginning on new developing markets. The European market is the first of these, and the closest to us. Germany is obviously the largest market in Europe, but Italy, France and the UK have an interesting development while new markets appear in Spain and countries of central Europe.

Asia is a fascinating market, too. China for its booming economy, Korea for the combativeness of its enterprises and Japan for their passion for technology.

How could the sales market change in the next five years and why?

The replacement of classical surgery by mini-invasive surgery will remain the major factor of our market development in the next years. It reaches every medical specialties. Another interesting thing is the replacement of complex tools like the endoscope by single use devices.

As a manufacturer of surgical equipment, you are in a very special niche with your products and solutions and the manufacturing processes are subject to particularly strict specifications and standards. What do the requirements of the new EU regulations (MDR) mean for you?

I think that the new EU regulations are an opportunity for regulatory business – material validation, clinical evaluation, and notified bodies – and a catastrophe for small manufacturers which are sacrificed on the altar of a so called “safety”. For instance, innovative products distributed for several years without any incident will be soon removed from the market, due to the huge cost of requested clinical studies. The new techniques are mainly developed by small companies and then taken over by the major ones. MDR is a setback for innovation, at least in Europe and will induce a general increase of prices of medical devices.

You also develop on request together with the respective partner, right? What are the challenges for the engineers and technicians during the project and research phase?

The Development of new devices for our partners is done through our sister company Transluminal which is located on the same site and which takes advantage of the onsite extrusion  facility. Our duty is to find an innovative solution to the respective problem of the customer. I would say, it is the simplest. To be effective, engineers and technicians have to follow a well-marked path: validate each step, fill up records, and qualify each manufacturing process. Reactivity is the life blood of contract development. Investors are the sword of Damocles over the development projects, “Time is money” is the motto. Our responsibility is to prevent the customer from “cutting corners” or “putting the cart before the horse”. It is also made of stop and go: after waiting for the client’s evaluation, you have to start very quickly with the next step.

You will be an exhibitor at the premiere of T4M - Technology for Medical Devices. What can visitors of your booth look forward to?

The T4M exhibition is located in neighbourhood of many medical device manufacturers and in a location easily accessible from the main parts of Western Europe. On our booth, visitors will get answers to their technical problem, they will find solutions for their new development and they will see samples of our production. Despite the efficient communication means, nothing will replace the face-to-face contact.

Thank you for the interview.

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