MARCH 3, 2020
As a business, POSITIVE COATING SA has pulled off the feat of being able to adapt ALD technology, initially used in the semi-conductor industry for its diffusion barrier properties, for use in the watchmaking sector, where its decorative and anticorrosive properties are an asset. The advantage of these technologies lies in the fact that these treatments are perfectly consistent and uniformly deposited, with a precision of around one nanometer. This means that these layers meet the highest requirements of micro-technology. POSITIVE COATING’s expertise in PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) and ALD (Atomic Layer Deposition) surface treatments now enables it to contribute actively to ever more innovative solutions for some of the most demanding applications in the field of Medtech. As POSITIVE COATING had predicted many years ago, vacuum depositing thin layers of material meets a real need in the sector.
AN INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY
After using the properties of PVD and ALD surface treatments in fields as diverse as watchmaking and jewelry and writing implements, among others, POSITIVE COATING assessed the interest of this technology for the medical sector. The expertise developed in surface treatments for our customers with extremely high quality requirements has enabled us to identify various surface treatments with applications useful for the Medtech sector, such as:
Lucien Steinmann, son of the company’s founder, joined the business in 2011. A Biomedical Engineering postgraduate, he sees untapped potential in the medical field:
ULTRA-THIN BIOCOMPATIBLE FILMS
ALD treatments are applied on a nanometric scale, by growing successive atom layers, leading to high-quality, ultra-thin films. The final coating is uniform and consistent, and therefore perfectly hermetic and biocompatible.
Our coatings can be applied to medical devices in a wide range of materials, such as stainless steel, Nitinol, cobalt-chromium alloys, titanium alloys, ceramic, polymers, and many more. Many other characteristics remain to be explored, such as:
A special approach applies to this business sector as each project has to be developed specifically. Once the surface treatment requirement has been identified, POSITIVE COATING works with the customer to develop a tailored solution to the problem. The engineering department, which focuses on research and innovation, then employs all its expertise to respond and validate the approach. The company is expert at finding solutions which enable its customers to use vacuum treatment technology in industrial production.
Developments in the Medtech sector require strategic partnerships to be established with other players in the field (e.g., medical device manufacturers). These may take the form of a co-development agreement to explore a challenge to discover new approaches and innovative solutions appropriate to the situation. This system enables pooling of resources and technologies and accelerates the development processes. This is a major advantage given that, in this type of project, the development cycles are longer than in other industries.
IDENTIFICATION BY COLOR
Coloring by anodization is widespread in the medical field, but is limited to titanium components. ALD technology is highly innovative in this sense, since it can provide color to any material, such as stainless steel, Nitinol and cobalt-chromium alloys. Coloring medical instruments and devices enables clear identification, preventing them from being used incorrectly, with the huge advantage of both reducing stress on clinicians and improving patient safety. In commercial terms, in our constantly evolving environment, coloring is a powerful marketing tool in distinguishing products from competing ones in the same field, or in addressing specific markets.
Encapsulation of parts is used to protect medical implants from bodily fluids, and prevent implant particles from escaping into the body. The ultra-thin films provided by POSITIVE COATING are perfectly suited to encapsulation of highly corrosive materials, and miniaturized electronics which require a reliable protection method. This process prevents implanted devices from corroding under physiological attack, and protects the patient from allergic reactions and rejections caused by foreign bodies being detected. In addition, this hermetic sealing protects the patient from any toxic metal ions which may be released by the implant. These encapsulation properties can also be improved by combining POSITIVE COATING coatings with other technologies, so as to create multiple layers.
A VIBRANT ECOSYSTEM
POSITIVE COATING has put in place a platform which enables various entities to be involved in its pilot projects. The company works with Swiss and European research centers and surrounds itself with top experts in the field to offer services which remain at the leading edge, and perfectly meet the needs of the medical sector. This way of working facilitates research and transfer of technology.
Since its creation more than 15 years ago, POSITIVE COATING has understood that it was essential to cultivate special relationships between the academic world and private sector. This agile and customer-oriented business has a very strong culture of innovation, crowned by various patents, and a business-friendly framework, which has been able to win over its many partners.
THE SWISS MADE LABEL
Committed to providing a professional service, POSITIVE COATING puts proximity, responsiveness, flexibility and quality at the very heart of its activity. It can boast a reputation as a reliable and dynamic partner.
Switzerland has led the way in medical technology, combining first-class research sites with expertise in precision technologies, and a highly advanced healthcare sector with its consequent demand for goods and services.
POSITIVE COATING is involved in projects relating to implantable devices, cardiovascular devices, surgical and dental instruments, and biomedical applications. Situated at the heart of a prestigious micro-technology industry, the business contributes to the development of superior technological products.