The world of medical technology looks confidently towards Düsseldorf. From 14 to 17 November, the internationally leading trade fairs COMPAMED, for suppliers, and MEDICA, for medicine, are being held here in parallel. Based on the current number of bookings, far more participants than last year are expected for both events. At COMPAMED 2022, almost 700 companies from 36 nations will take part; at the parallel MEDICA 2022, there will be more than 4,200 from 70 nations combined. For COMPAMED 2022, this means it is fully booked at its traditional location, trade fair halls 8a and 8b. “The impulse given by a combined COMPAMED and MEDICA is of enormous importance for the industry. Participants from all areas of the healthcare industry right now need direction and a comprehensive overview of reliable supplier options and business partner alternatives that are available quickly,” explains Christian Grosser, Director Health & Medical Technologies at Messe Düsseldorf.

Important elements of the COMPAMED programme are the two integrated forums for presentation and discussion: the COMPAMED HIGH-TECH FORUM by IVAM (organised by the IVAM Microtechnology Network) and the COMPAMED SUPPLIERS FORUM by DeviceMed (content supplied by trade magazine DeviceMed). The COMPAMED HIGH-TECH FORUM offers an inside look at current research and development phases of the processes and products presented at COMPAMED, explains technological trends within the sector, and offers information on relevant foreign markets for medical technology. There is a focus on the areas of new materials, production techniques, nanotechnology and micro system technology, which will all be presented by qualified specialists and leading experts.

“Europe meets USA – High-Tech for Medical Devices”

On all four days of the trade fair, the forum organised by IVAM in Hall 8a (booth G40) offers an international programme. One of the highlights of the forum is the new session on internationalisation “Europe meets USA – High-Tech for Medical Devices”, which is aimed at improving cooperation within medical technology between manufacturers of components and devices as well as users from both Europe and the USA. “The disturbance of our economic relations caused by COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine has shown how fragile our supply chains are. Many of our high-tech companies are looking for closer cooperation with countries with which we share common ethical values, e.g. the USA”, says Dr. Thomas R. Dietrich, CEO of IVAM. At the HIGH-TECH FORUM, companies participating in the neighbouring MEDICA 2022 will also present their products and talk about their expectations towards manufacturers of components.

The topic of microfluidics, a key technology in the field of diagnostics, has received a huge boost through the COVID-19 pandemic. At the forum in Hall 8a, this is reflected in the large number of professional presentations on this topic, so that for the first time this year, two sessions have been added to the programme: „Microfluidic Session Part I: Microfluidic Platforms – Shortcut to a Product” and “Microfluidic Sessions Part II – Microfluidics: The Bits and Pieces to Make Up a System“. Further important topics for the 2022 presentations are “Printed Electronics for Next Generation Wearables and Diagnostics”, “Smart Sensor Solutions” and “Laser and Photonics Applications”.

The entire process chain from a close practical perspective

In Hall 8b, throughout the four days of the trade fair, the COMPAMED SUPPLIERS FORUM presents current developments along the entire process chain, with a special emphasis on practice. The focus lies on mechanical and electronic components as well as on innovative basic materials, manufacturing processes, all kinds of custom manufacturing, aspects of design and usability, as well as quality assurance. Keynote speeches on new markets complete this diverse programme. Among the main topics of interest are Additive Manufacturing, Electronics, Regulatory Affairs, Cyber Security and Wearables.

Speaking of wearables: This area of application is becoming more and more important for supplies in the medical technology industry. For example, COAT-X has developed ultra-dense casing technology for wearable or implanted electronic components and PCBAs (printed circuit board assemblies). The Swiss company is a leading provider of leak-proof solutions of critical importance and an expert for thin-film encapsulation. At the forum, CEO Dr. Andreas Hogg will share information about the company’s innovative encapsulation technology for the protection of critical components inside wearables.

A member with a huge network and 25 years at COMPAMED

MedNet has been present at Düsseldorf for over 25 years: “Since the first opening, COMPAMED has been an important meeting place for the industry, for customers as well as for suppliers and partners. Every year, the international manufacturers we represent in Europe participate at our shared booth,” says Matthias Heinz, CEO of MedNet. The company acts as a competent service provider and supplier for the medical product and pharmaceutical industry, with a large portfolio of standard components by known manufacturers as well as their own product lines, for example for interventions in radiology and infusion technology. Beyond that, they offer a global, well-established network for comprehensive material and manufacturing technologies.

“We use our network to offer all-in-one solutions directly at our booth: from standard medical components to custom parts. Our spectrum covers high-performance polymers, biomedical compounds and alloys as well as custom metal components, thermoformed parts and precision blades. Our newest partner, Arkema, a leading producer of high-performance polymers, also supplies bio-based and recyclable polymers,” says Heinz. Arkema will also hold an informative presentation on this topic at the COMPAMED SUPPLIERS FORUM, as the importance of sustainability is growing for medical technology, too.

Highlights at the shared IVAM booth

The professional association IVAM is not only responsible for the programme of the COMPAMED HIGH-TECH FORUM, but also organises the shared booth and the product market “High-tech for Medical Devices”. The focus here lies on innovations in the key sectors of microtechnology, nanotechnology, photonics and new materials. International companies and research institutes are regular participants at the shared booth with its more than 600 m². This year, the IVAM area is home to almost 50 companies and institutes from nine nations. There is an especially strong presence of Swiss companies specialising in optics and precision technology. On site, there are many different microcomponents (microelectronical, optronical, microoptical, microfluidic), sensors, actuators and sensor systems, micropumps, coatings, smart textiles as well as manufacturing and processing procedures to be seen. All in all, optical components and procedures are becoming increasingly important.

No defect undetected, no matter how small

The company MABRI.VISION will be present at COMPAMED for the first time via IVAM, bringing automated systems for optical quality assurance to Düsseldorf. Using a variable lighting system, transparent and opaque materials, like microfluidic chips, can be checked for defects, scratches, particles or cracks and their geometrical properties evaluated. The evaluation system “MV.EYE MI1” for microfluidic chips is an inline-capable solution for automated 100-percent inspections of large-surfaced and microstructural components. Rapid, high-resolution image generation, paired with an analytical software powered by AI, allows any defects to be reliably detected and evaluates the dimensional accuracy of the chips.

Optical components and procedures gain importance

Several Swiss companies are presenting microoptics for use in medical technology and life science applications. Among them is the company FISBA, which offers high-precision microlenses starting at a diameter of 0.3 mm. At COMPAMED, the company wants to focus on their competence as a provider of all-in-one solutions. Their motto is: “From engineering to volume production. All from one source. All from FISBA.” SUSS MicroOptics presents refractive and diffractive microoptics for imaging, sensor or focused beam applications. Mikrop presents miniaturised optics for high-tech applications, e.g. spherical lenses, optical assemblies and high-quality miniature objective lenses for medical technology.

An eternal success story at COMPAMED: Sensors

Sensors are always a focus of interest. Sensirion from Switzerland are presenting tiny flow sensors for smart inhalers and digital health applications, as well as a sensor for liquids for subcutaneous administration of medicines. ES Systems from Greece are developing and manufacturing innovative, intelligent sensors based on microelectronic technology. These MEMS-based sensors (MEMS = microelectronic mechanical systems) measure pressure, gas flow, the properties of liquids and the temperature. Products by ES Systems are used in sophisticated control and monitoring applications, among other things in medical technology, either as independent components or as integral parts of other equipment. With a view towards the newest challenges, the company has also developed smart, autonomous, energy-saving, wireless sensors which are ideally suited for integration into the Internet of Things.

Photonics helps fight against tuberculosis

Eight companies and non-university research institutes have teamed up to use photonics in the fight against tuberculosis, which is often aggravated in developing countries by a lack of laboratory infrastructure. At the beginning of 2022, relevant solution strategies by the project “FluoResYst” were first presented. The project has received a three-year grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The project aims to develop a rapid detection system for multidrug resistances in tuberculosis infections, in order to ensure a quick diagnosis and efficient treatment of affected persons. microfluidic ChipShop specialises in the development and manufacture of Lab-on-a-Chip systems, also termed Point-of-Care (POC) or patient-centred diagnostic applications. Within the “FluoResYst” project, the company from Thuringia is working on an analysis cartridge, inside which novel detection technology carries out a tuberculosis assay. Following the initial progress of the project, established Lab-on-a-Chip solutions will be presented by microfluidic ChipShop at their booth.

Custom patient-specific implants

Since their founding in mid-2000, 3di from Jena has focussed on patient-specific implants for facial and cranial applications, for example following traumatic injuries, tumour excisions, surgical access or when functional-aesthetic corrections are required. To manufacture such implants, the company has developed a proprietary method that enables them to be fitted individually to each patient. Modelling, construction and manufacture are fully planned in virtual space. With respect to aspects of surgical techniques it is therefore possible to produce implants specific to a single patient – in special cases even within 48 hours. To make his happen, 3di needs CT/MRI data provided either on CD-ROM or via a secure internet connection. Any bone structure within the human skull can be modelled. The accuracy of the model deviates by less than 0.5 mm. The development by 3di is used in neurosurgery, trauma and cancer surgery, plastic surgery, cranio-maxillofacial surgery and ENT medicine.

The developments and instances of applied medical technology mentioned here represent only a selection of highlights from the broad spectrum of topics and innovations found at COMPAMED 2022. The spectrum ranges from packaging lines in cleanrooms to technology for the tiniest of microsystems. Due to the exhibition’s focus of interest, there is also a heavy representation of manufacturers of consumer goods, production equipment and various services. The innovative base of COMPAMED is made up of companies producing materials, raw materials and adhesives. This diversity offers many opportunities for cooperation, especially regarding those companies that also participate in the parallel MEDICA fair.

All information on COMPAMED 2021 regarding the companies taking part and their products, integrated forum programs and more is available online at:

Dates for COMPAMED 2022 + MEDICA 2022: 14 to 17 November

Opening times: 10:00 am to 6:00 pm

Author: Klaus Jopp, freelance technical writer for science and technology (Hamburg)