One company that responded to changing demand is Ottobock, a prominent medical device manufacturer. The German company has specialized in manufacturing prosthetics, orthoses, wheelchairs, and exoskeletons. At the start of the coronavirus outbreak, the manufacturer expanded its production to include hygiene and protective equipment. Its product line-up now also includes hygienic door handles, personal door openers, plastic visors, and mobile protective screens that can be used by associates in the various supply centers, for example.
Marco Volkmar, the head of the new production unit tells us, "We responded to the increased demand right at the onset of the coronavirus crisis. This effort was aimed at supporting in-house processes, and assisting local institutions such as hospitals, medical practices, nursing homes, and partner companies with our products and services." He adds that Ottobock was able to effortlessly make the switch by relying on existing machinery and the expert knowledge of its employees. The production of the door openers and individual components of the door handles involved a 3D printing process and did not require the purchase of new equipment.
Ottobock did not expect added financial benefits from the new production unit. Most products were either donated or sold at cost. The company doesn’t plan to produce hygiene and protective items in the long run. It has already slowed down production due to current reduced demand. However, the company still has items in stock and is able to ramp up production at any time to meet demand should the coronavirus situation worsen again.