Чехия – 2011 – Медицинские, оптические и измерительные инструменты
Чехія – 2011 – Медичні, оптичні і Вимірювальні інструменти (анг.)
Tradition, Investment, and Innovation in Medical, Optical, and Measuring Instruments
The health equipment market has a long tradition in the Czech Republic. The further growth of this sector currently benefits from the geographic position of the Czech Republic, which is situated close to the largest markets of the European Union. Good results are also scored by the sector of optical, time measuring and precision equipment, which has recorded a considerable inflow of foreign investment. The Czech Republic can succeed in these branches in European competition, which is evident also from the fact that about two-thirds of the total output are designed for export.
Support for companies in the Life Sciences sector is one of the objectives of CzechInvest, the Business and Development Agency. One of the examples of large foreign investors doing business in the area of health equipment in the Czech Republic is Arrow International (U.S.A.), which has built here a research, development and manufacturing facility for various kinds of hospital equipment – cardiological, X-ray devices, etc. Another company operating in the CR is Laminar Medica (United Kingdom), which specialises in the development, testing, production and validation of insulated shipping systems that are used by the pharmaceutical and biotechnological industries worldwide. Lohmann & Rauscher (Austria) manufactures wound care materials, sanitary and first aid products. Otto Bock (Germany) produces and distributes in theCzech Republic prostheses and orthoses, wheelchairs, rehabilitation aids, special home accessories for the handicapped and orthopaedic footwear. The company Abcheck s.r.o., a subsidiary of the German firm, Affimed Therapeutics AG based in Heidelberg, has been operating in Plzeň since 2009. Abcheck specialises in the discovery and generation of human antibodies which are used in the development of drugs. Key areas where these antibodies are applied are oncology, immunology, and the medical branch concerned with inflammation. Abcheck laboratories select antibodies for specific target molecules. The selection process helps to find specific antibodies which are further tested. The output is a highly customer specific antibody.
Measuring and Optical Devices in the Czech Aircraft Industry
Three technical universities and several specialised firms operate in the area of measuring and optical equipment in the aircraft industry. One of them is Honeywell, the U.S. company which launched its operations in the Czech Republic in 1991. It specialises in the development of advanced avionics systems. In the Czech Republic, Honeywell has facilities inPrague, Brno and Olomouc. Its research in this area is based on the quality work of Czech universities. Their discoveries assist the domestic manufacturers of sport aircraft in particular. It is encouraging that Czech technical universities are actively searching for partners in the private sector to work together to reduce the time needed for the practical application of new and more efficient instruments and optical equipment. At the same time, schools and research facilities are able to obtain finances for the development of these activities from the European funds.
Optical Instruments and Equipment
The Czech Republic can boast a rich history of projects in the area of research, development and production of optical instruments and equipment. The list is topped by electron microscopes. The development of these instruments in Czech territory goes back to the 1950s and is connected with names such as Armin Delong, Ladislav Zobač and Vladimír Drahoš. They were the only ones able to construct the prototype of an electron microscope in what was then Czechoslovakia.
This success was continued by the Tesla Brno enterprise and the Institute of Scientific Instruments, which became pioneers of this sector in Europe. After 1989 and the demise of Tesla Brno, their former highly qualified specialists founded several companies which are still operating successfully. This change represented another landmark in the history of this sector in the Czech Republic, when it became one of the European and possibly even global centres of this state-of-the-art technology, comparable for example with Cambridge. At present, three companies operate in this sector in theCzech Republic – FEI Company, TESCAN, and Delong Instruments, the latter named after Armin Delong, the founder of electron microscopy in the country, who established the company with his students and initiated the manufacture of globally competitive electron microscopes.
Microscopes of World Class
The largest of these is a Czech manufacturer, a subsidiary of the U.S. FEI Company which has been operating in Brnosince 1993. In this Moravian city, it manufactures the complete line of scanning microscopes, the less powerful transmission microscopes, and a line of its DualBeam systems combining electron and ion beam technology. Its products are used e.g. by Ford and BMW, oil drilling personnel, NASA, and they are in the laboratories of companies such as IBM, Nokia, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, as well as on the campuses of Harvard and MIT universities. The growing importance of the Brno facility was further enhanced in 2010 with the announcement of the transfer of the manufacture of the Small DualBeam™ line of microscopes from Eindhoven, in the Netherlands, to Brno, as well as the award won by the Magellan microscope as one of the 2009 Top 100 Innovations of the Year. This list is prepared by the R&D Magazine every year. Besides the FEI Company, microscopes are also manufactured by the fully Czech-owned Tescan company, whose instruments are used by firms and scientific institutions operating in nanotechnology and material engineering practically all over the world. TESCAN, which marked 20 years of its existence in 2011, has gained world renown over time, especially due to its innovative approach and close cooperation with top scientific laboratories of universities and scientific institutions, not only in the Czech Republic but mainly abroad. Its largest customers include companies in theUnited States and Russia, as well as Germany and South Korea, and, in recent years, particularly in China. Instruments of the TESCAN brand are used in important companies, including Shenzhen Huawei Communication Technologies, FAW VOLKSWAGEN Automotive, Beijing, Hyundai Motor Company and China National Petroleum Corporation. Last year, the company launched the cutting-edge FERA3 workstation. This is a high-resolution Schottky Field Emission scanning electron microscope with a fully integrated Plasma-source focused ion beam (FIB). Similar systems are required in particular in the semi-conductor industry to ascertain defects in the manufacture of integrated circuits or for 3D metrology. The device has been developed in collaboration with the French company, Orsay Physics, with which TESCAN has been working for several years.
Supplement of Czech Business and Trade 1/2012