Aesculap expands into new health care markets with PLM solutions from IBM and Dassault Systèmes

Paris 31 March 2004Aesculap SA, the French division of B. Braun responsible for the development of medical implants, will expand use of the Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) solutions, developed by IBM and Dassault Systèmes. Aesculap has achieved international success using the virtual product development platform from IBM and Dassault Systèmes to develop technologically advanced orthopaedic implants that meet the strict health regulations of major global markets.


Aesculap cited the need to respect international regulations, while making continuous improvements in product quality and time to market as the main reasons for the extension of its PLM platform. In order to penetrate the highly competitive and demanding United States market that boasts 50 percent of worldwide implant sales, Aesculap chose to increase its investment in IBM PLM Solutions.

The new product development and data management platform will simplify the regulatory approval processes and streamline Aesculap's product development processes, helping the company introduce innovative orthopaedic devices, such as artificial knee and hip joints, to a wider customer base. Since the initial trial implementation of the new solutions, Aesculap has already been able to reduce the product development cycle of a typical implant by one week, a savings of 15 percent.

Aesculap will use CATIA V5, the world's leading collaborative virtual product development solution, combined with SMARTEAM, for product data and lifecycle management, both developed by Dassault Systèmes. Regulatory approval templates included in SMARTEAM store thousands of pages of design reviews, market data, and engineering information in an easily searchable and organised Internet-based platform with digital signatures for accountability. The integrated platform will improve collaboration between Aesculap's R&D and production facilities in France and Germany, and help Aesculap comply with strict ISO 9001 and EN 46001 standards for the medical device industry.

"To break into global health care markets, we required a complete solution for the development and delivery of our surgical instruments and implants. Additionally, delivering more than 10.000 implants and 150 other related devices for patients around the world, quality and traceability are of utmost importance", stated Sylvie Plumet, vice-president, Aesculap Implants.

"Automated design updates and tracking functions for strict compliance with a variety of international medical standards allow us to reduce the time necessary to develop and deliver high quality orthopaedic devices. More importantly for our business, the integrated PLM platform gives us total traceability of the entire product development process boosting our reactivity and allowing us to anticipate the effect of product modification, stemming from innovation or changing health regulations, on our business", Sylvie Plumet added.

"According to the recent global CEO study conducted by IBM, nearly two-thirds of CEOs see new and differentiated products as the key drivers for success, with new markets and new products presenting the greatest opportunity for revenue growth. IBM PLM Solutions support new product development and penetration into new markets, Aesculap is a case in point", stated Klaus Schaefer, vice president, IBM Product Lifecycle Management, Europe Middle East Africa. "IBM PLM Solutions enable manufacturing companies to concentrate on product innovation, while concurrently optimizing quality, development costs, and time to market to foster growth and minimize risk."

"Complex products, intense competition, and a highly regulated environment: these are just a few of the challenges faced by life science companies such as Aesculap", stated Denis Senpéré, vice president PLM Europe, Dassault Systèmes. "By combining the data management strength of SMARTEAM and its FDA Compliance modules with the cutting-edge product development capabilities of CATIA V5, Aesculap can leverage its corporate intellectual property, focus on innovation, and increase its competitiveness, all key to its advancement in established and emerging health care markets around the world."

With its strategy "All it takes to operate" the Aesculap Division of B. Braun focuses on everything required for the core processes in the operating theatre and cath lab. This includes surgical instruments for open and minimally invasive access, catheter systems for interventional therapies, motor systems, endoscopes, high frequency equipment and navigation systems: here Aesculap is the acknowledged world leader. Sutures, both absorbable and non-absorbable and various container and storage systems also form part of the core process.

In implants, Aesculap is among the best in the field, with emphasis on orthopaedics, neurosurgery as well as for cardiovascular and spinal therapies. Aesculap goes one step further, putting new meaning into "All it takes to operate", offering comprehensive instrument management systems, procedure kits and trendsetting services. Through the Aesculap Academy, world class multi-faceted training and education programmes are developed.

As an expert in three-dimensional Product Lifecycle Management (3D PLM) solutions, the Dassault Systèmes group brings value to more than 70.000 customers in 80 countries. A pioneer in the 3D software market since 1981, Dassault Systèmes develops and markets 3D PLM application software and services that support industrial processes and provide a 3D vision of the entire life cycle of products from conception to maintenance. Its offering includes 3D PLM integrated solutions for product development including CATIA, ENOVIA, DELMIA, SMARTEAM; general-use 3D solutions like SolidWorks; and 3D components such as ACIS from Spatial Corporation.

Leslie Versweyveld

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