Zimmer Biomet produces medical implants with high precision, using machines of GF Machining Solutions.

Growing further in the medtech sector

GF Machining Solutions is developing tailor-made solutions for its customers in the booming medical technology market. The implant manufacturer Zimmer Biomet particularly relies on the precision of GF machines.

Medical implants improve the quality of life for many people. Given the high demand and rapid technological progress, for example in artificial joints, the medtech sector is flourishing: global revenue increased from USD 339 billion to USD 468 billion between 2014 and 2019. According to forecasts, it will grow to as much as USD 522 billion by 2022.1

It’s all about precision

GF Machining Solutions is well positioned with various technologies–from Laser to Milling–in automated manufacturing machines for implant production technology. The division works with its customers across the entire machine life cycle, from the initial design to the maintenance. Thomas Brauen, Head of Sales at GF Machining Solutions International in Biel (Switzerland), looks after seven customers in the Swiss medtech sector. Zimmer Biomet is one of them. The US company operates in 24 countries worldwide and has more than 1’000 employees in Switzerland. About two million shoulder, hip, knee, trauma, and back implants leave the factory in Winterthur each year.

Five new Milling machines from GF Machining Solutions have been in use at Zimmer Biomet since 2019–three MILL S 600 U machines to produce knee and hip implants, plus one MILL S 400 and one MILL E 700 U for mold construction. Zimmer Biomet has already had two further machines in its 2’000 square meter production hall since 2006. “Our expectations for the new GF machines are very high, and automation plays a key role for us,” says Pascal Meier, Manufacturing Engineer at Zimmer Biomet with joint responsibility for procurement of the five GF machines. “The GF machines perfectly meet our needs.”

Pascal Meier worked closely with GF Machining Solutions from the order to delivery and testing of the new machines–both with Thomas Brauen, Head of Sales, and Andreas Signer, Project Manager and Key Account Manager. “Depending on the intensity of the project, we were in contact on an almost daily basis. This was necessary to discuss the customer’s special requirements,” remembers Andreas Signer. “For Zimmer Biomet, for example, we put the Milling machines’ chip ejection on the opposite side of the machine due to space requirements,” he explains. “Whenever possible, we are happy to meet our customers’ special wishes, whether these are specific clamping solutions or requirements for the chip or tool management system.”

1 Source: Statista
Around two million shoulder, hip, knee, trauma, and back implants leave the factory of Zimmer Biomet in Winterthur each year. Pictured is a hip implant.
The cooperation ranges from ordering to testing the new machines.

“Our requirements are high. The machines from GF offer us exactly the right quality.”

Pascal Meier, Manufacturing Engineer at Zimmer Biomet

GF wants to increase medical market revenue

GF Machining Solutions has been developing solutions for the medtech sector for decades, starting with Milling machines and subsequently adding Laser texturing, Laser drilling and Additive Manufacturing machines. They are embedded in an automated concept. These solutions enable clients to produce flawless hip and knee joints, dental implants, plates for bone fractures, and instruments for surgeons. GF Machining Solutions is taking advantage of these great market opportunities in the medtech sector to expand its range and technological profile. This means a wider customer portfolio and solutions that are more advanced. GF Machining Solutions has its sights set on the global medical market, where it plans to significantly increase its sales volume in the coming years. The division is broadly based for this, offering a short time to market, highly precise machines with repeat accuracy, and decades of experience.

The medtech sector is developing fast, and requirements are becoming more and more demanding, which means that producers must always be up to date. Pascal Meier believes that “the degree of automation and digitalization in the production process will rise, also at Zimmer Biomet.” The medtech specialist has already shown interest in solutions for surface processing with laser systems and other machining centers. GF Machining Solutions will solve with passion these future needs.

Zimmer Biomet has more than 1’000 employees in Switzerland.

New Milling machines from GF Machining Solutions have been in use at Zimmer Biomet since 2019: three MILL S 600 U machines to produce knee and hip implants (see picture), plus one MILL S 400 and one MILL E 700 U for mold construction.

Pascal Meier (right) from Zimmer Biomet appreciates the GF machines: “They offer exactly the quality we require.”

Zimmer Biomet is also interested in GF solutions for surface processing using laser systems and other processing centers. 

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Pascal Meier (center) from Zimmer Biomet worked closely with Thomas Brauen (left) and Andreas Signer (right) from the order to testing of the five new GF machines.

Services of GF Machining Solutions in the medtech field

  • Additive Manufacturing for orthopedic implants and surgical instruments
  • Milling for injection molds of medical consumables, die casting molds for implantable devices, orthopedic implants or surgical instruments
  • EDM for minimally invasive surgical instruments and complex micro molding applications
  • Laser texturing: engraving molds for medical consumables and packaging–and for connective tissue growth in the future
  • Automation cells for reliable production quality and better cost control
  • Precision Tooling for the entire production process across several technologies

“GF Machining Solutions reacts fast”

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Interview with Andreas Kläui

Andreas Kläui is Manufacturing Associate Director at Zimmer Biomet and responsible for mechanical processing at the Winterthur site.

What does Zimmer Biomet produce in Switzerland?

At Zimmer Biomet in Winterthur, we mainly produce shoulder, hip, knee, trauma, and spinal implants. We use the GF Machining Solutions equipment to make hip and knee implants. The quality requirements are high.

How does GF Machining Solutions support you?

We require a very precise procedure and high repeat accuracy. The machines from GF Machining Solutions offer us exactly the quality that we need.

What do you particularly like about working with GF Machining Solutions?

I particularly appreciate the fast response time to our inquiries and the support in solving problems. It’s a very good working relationship.

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