When stepping inside the factory in Ardon, France, which is the home of Getinge’s surgical lights, you can immediately feel the excitement in the air. A new product is in the making here in a brand new assembly line.
Stéphane Pendaries has worked with mechanical drawing and quality processes in Ardon for many years. He is a Process Engineer and, without exaggerating, you could also call him the artist behind most parts of the assembly lines used in the production of our surgical lights. This also includes the new Maquet PowerLED II.
“We have been able to reuse some of the philosophy from the Maquet PowerLED I production, but there are things that are different too as Maquet PowerLED II brings a whole new set of features,” tells Stéphane.
He really enjoys inventing new things to increase security and comfort for the operators as well as making the assembling itself more efficient. One of the things he has come up with lately is a new way of packaging all surgical lights.
“Earlier we used a lot of foam rubber which was both unsustainable and expensive. Now we use fewer pieces that are tailor made to fit into a new type of package. Thanks to this, we are reducing both time and cost as well as contributing to a healthier environment. And as a bonus, it makes it easier for our customers to unpack the products,” he explains.
When he is not at his sketch board creating new magic, Stephane spends most of his time in the factory. Together with the operators, they discuss various steps in production that might need some more tailor-made adjustments to reach closer to perfection. Two of his main sparring partners are Van Tia Lo and Céline Catarino, who both work at the newly created assembly line.
“It is an honor to work with new innovations like this one. I have mainly worked with Maquet PowerLED I for the last ten years, which is a really fun product to assemble. But now it feels exciting to be part of something new,” says Tia.
Tia, Céline and the other operators in Ardon don’t work at one specific station each. They are actually part of the entire product journey. “We follow it all the way from the beginning to the end, which is great since the work day gets more varied. It is a special feeling every time a product is ready for packaging and you have seen it come to life in the factory every step of the way,” Céline says and smiles.
There are seven, different major steps in the assembly line and many controls in between, to make sure quality is kept at the highest level. The operators are following very detailed manuals, but the production environment is clean and calm, which makes it easy to stay, focused.
The most crucial step is to put the electronic card in place. Indeed, the slightest error can lead to dismantling of the whole system and the need to redo the parameters and some operations- which is a waste of time.“In our systems you can also follow the history of the product and all the components we have put together, since we scan everything in a traceability system,” explains Tia. It takes about six hours to assembly one Maquet PowerLED II; it is the same for both sizes.
“There is more and more technology inside surgical lights, which forces all the stakeholders from operators to process and quality, to increase their technical level. Especially, within IT,” says Stéphane.