maxon Story

How to choose a mechatronics partner.


The choice of a mechatronics partner is crucial for the design and development of a motorized medical device. Technical requirements, innovative capacity, regulations, organizational agility, or customer care: what are the criteria that matter? Virginie Mialane, medical market manager at maxon France, gives us her advice as a mechatronics expert on how to choose the right project partner.

In your opinion, what will be the key issues for mechatronics in the medical field in the years to come?

Virginie Mialane: A current topic today is P4 medicine, which stands for Predictive, Preventive, Personalized, and Participatory. Patients are becoming active participants in their own treatment, and are becoming increasingly independent. Mechatronics is an essential tool of this modern-day medicine, and it will be used in the future by both practitioners and patients.

Precision and reliability

The function of mechatronics is to carry out a movement. In a medical device, this movement must be particularly precise. It must also provide a maximum of reliability, for the safety of the patient. For example, mechatronics is the key element in the design of surgical robots, because the robot’s action must follow that of the surgeon as faithfully as possible and must provide the surgeon with haptic feedback efficiently and easily. Similarly, mechatronic systems used for drug delivery devices are essential in dispensing the right dose.

Template drive tech 15000x100 3


There is increasing demand for the miniaturization of certain mechatronic systems such as surgical robots, active implants, and drug injection devices. However, miniaturizing motors is a complex exercise that few motor manufacturers are able to perform while maintaining the required levels of quality and reliability. A lot of R&D and product development is currently underway to optimize the miniaturization of motors and their components. For instance, at maxon motor France, we provide standard motors measuring just 4 mm, with a weight of 1.2 g (the EC-4 motor).

Battery capacity

Improving the battery capacity of portable medical devices, and thereby their power consumption, is a pressing issue which goes hand-in-hand with the aim of miniaturization. Our solutions are optimized in terms of energy conversion efficiency.

Artificial intelligence

This is the next big challenge: designing intelligent systems capable of taking action in real time. Equipped with integrated sensors, linked to algorithms, and networked online, they can, for example, detect the type of drug in motorized and network-connected syringes, and also optimize the dosage according to the data transmitted in real time by the sensors. These systems illustrate the coming revolution of the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT).

What is your advice for choosing a good mechatronics partner for a motorized medical device project?

Virginie Mialane: By definition, a partner is someone you can trust. That trust is based on objective criteria. In my view, a good partner for a mechatronics project in the medical field should have the following qualities:

Template drivetech 1500x1000 2

1. Thinking in terms of production right from the start

Choosing a partner who thinks about the practicalities of production right from the start of the project is the best way to arrive at a functioning product quickly. The design of the product is customized, so the production perspective must be integrated as early as possible. Thinking about production ahead of development also makes it possible to anticipate production costs, which is a factor in the long-term success of the project. At maxon France, since our main business activity involves the production of systems, we integrate these requirements from the beginning. We mobilize a team of engineers specializing in mechatronics for medical devices, which we can do because the company has its own design department. A design department, a team dedicated to preparing for production, and a production workshop are our great strength when compared to our competitors.

2. Providing dedicated support

A good partner is one who is with you from the beginning of the project to the end. Support plays a key part: Staying in constant contact with the customer is the fundamental role of the project manager and the teams. Listening to what your customers are saying is the best way to understand and analyze their needs, so you can make adjustments at any time during the development project. At maxon France, our agile organization with a dedicated team for each project, led by a project manager, allows us to provide customer care that you can really rely on.

3. Experience and production facilities

The partner’s experience is of course an essential element, especially in the medical field. But this experience in the development of manufacturing projects has to be accompanied by sufficiently large production facilities. By way of example, maxon medical has new premises with 2000 m² of space, certified to the standard ISO 13485 (2018), equipped with a cleanroom and entirely dedicated to the assembly of mechatronic systems.

4. Certifications and regulations

The regulatory aspect is likewise fundamental for the development of projects in the medical field. As you know, the regulations relating to medical devices are changing. The new European regulation that came into force in 2020 requires new projects for medical devices to comply with it. It is also crucial to choose a partner who has ISO 13485 certification for medical devices, which is the case for maxon motor in our Swiss production unit.

In conclusion

The future for medical devices looks promising, and projects that make use of mechatronics are likely to multiply in the years to come. Due to its experience, maxon France is able to fulfill all requirements for the design, development, and production of motorized medical devices of classes I to III and IVDMD.



Author: maxon HQ

© by © maxon motor ag