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Helping Babies Breathe, and Survive

Pumping oxygen enriched air into a 400g premature baby requires tiny devices, manufactured with highest standards. Armin Hossinger’s company delivers airtight breathing devices with absolute precision.

CPAP saves lives. CPAP is an abbreviation for: Continuous Positive Airway Pressure: oxygen-enriched air delivered to a baby via a tube and administered with slight positive pressure. This technology helps the baby breathe on its own and stimulates lung development. And that is Armin Hossinger’s world. He is the Managing Director at whr Hossinger Kunststofftechnik.

Armin Hossinger, Managing Director

“Our generators can save lives starting at the 24th week of pregnancy or at a birth weight of 400 grams. This is something we’re very proud of.” Armin Hossinger, Managing Director

The positive pressure is created within the plastic housing of the CPAP generator. And that needs to be airtight: The oxygen must be transferred, without leakage, to the baby’s nasopharyngeal zone by means of a silicon prong or a silicon mask. Yet a CPAP generator is only airtight when the components have been manufactured with absolute precision. And that is very hard to do: “Wall thickness of just three tenths of a millimeter, tolerances of just a few hundredths of a millimeter, freeform components with a complex shape and different product colors”, Christian Bindl, the Quality Management Officer explains the company’s challenge.

The advances in medicine require increasingly precise products. In past years, these requirements made quality inspection difficult with the optical measuring machine the company had available. They had to outsource some of the work parts – costly for the family-run company and not really helpful in the whole work process.

One in ten children born in Germany are premature. Many of them weigh less than one kilogramm and the chance of their survival depends on the quality of medical care they receive. Most newborns need help with breathing and an increased level of oxygen – supplied by generators as tiny as the babies themselves. This is where the CPAP generators from Armin Hossinger come into play. The family-run company whr Hossinger is located in the Northern Bavarian town Roding, Germany.

Literally Airtight: guaranteeing this precision requires constant checking

In 2014 Armin Hossinger began looking for a new measurement strategy. He wanted to measure more products in-house – and do so more accurately and quickly. Looking for a multisensory measuring mashine, his research quickly brought him to ZEISS. While Hossinger and his colleague Bindl were sold on the three sensors, a contact sensor, a camera sensor and a chromatic white light sensor, they saw an obstacle in the machine’s measuring range. 400 x 400 x 200 mm was simply too small for the fairly large workpieces.

Hossinger and Bindl got in touch with ZEISS. A short time later they signed a contract as a pilot customer. The family-owned company agreed to support ZEISS in getting the latest generation of the multisensor measuring machine ready for market. In return, the company had the opportunity – as the first market player – to benefit from the enhanced machine’s larger measuring range.

Once the company began working with the machine, quality manager Christian Bindl was satisfied. Not only does the company outsource fewer measurements, but it can now also conduct an abundance of measuring tasks with a high degree of accuracy and repeatability: “We have doubled the precision in comparison to our previous measuring machine. And our measurements would also be a lot more time-consuming without the white light sensor,” Bindl says. According to the Quality Manager, the ZEISS O-INSPECT has given the metrologists at whr Hossinger Kunststofftechnik “room to breathe”. And that is also true for the many prematurely born babies who benefit from the precise and tiny generators that help them to start life.

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