#ottobockcares: Necessity is the mother of invention!
Professor Hans Georg Näder helps socially disadvantaged families access digital education / Ottobock expands its product range to include social distancing accessories in the coronavirus pandemic
Ottobock is responding to the coronavirus crisis in a creative, flexible and responsible way. Professor Hans Georg Näder, Chairman of the Board and owner of Ottobock SE & Co. KGaA, has donated 300 iPads to underprivileged children so they can participate in digital education. Ottobock employees have formed interdisciplinary teams and are demonstrating their expertise by using the medtech company’s infrastructure to manufacture new products at a rapid pace. New door openers, hygienic handles, community masks and plastic visors all aim to reduce the risk of infection with coronavirus in the workplace. At the same time, the company is responding to the increased demand for products which promote social distancing.
Personal door opener for employees at the Vienna location
Just like the Duderstadt iFab, the colleagues in Vienna also produce personal door openers on their own initiative. Without having to touch the door handle, the employees can hook their handy companion into it to prevent a possible transmission with the corona virus. Thanks to the robust, heat-resistant material polycarbonat, the door openers can be sterilized in boiling water.
Initially, Reinhard Zlabinger and his molding team produced individual door openers in a 3D printer for test purposes, whereupon the demand at the Vienna site quickly increased. " We left the printers running overnight so that we could now provide all employees with a personal copy that they can use both professionally and privately," says Managing Director Dr Andreas Goppelt. A total of 650 personal door openers are available for the Viennese colleagues to pick up.
Video from the company headquarters opens up a look behind the scenes
‘We are there for our customers and users' is the message of the new video from the Ottobock company headquarters. It shows that the processes continue even during the coronavirus crisis - from global production to preparation for worldwide shipping and local supply. The viewers take a short tour of the various departments at the Duderstadt site and see what happens behind the scenes.
Financial support for employees at the Patient Care Center in Wuhan and health professionals in India
Hubei Province was one of the first regions in the world to go into lockdown. The Ottobock Patient Care Center in Wuhan had to stop work for 12 weeks. Since the salaries of many employees in technical functions and sales are performance-related, they had to accept high personal financial losses, with essential household items increasing greatly in price, during this lockdown. Prof. Hans Georg Näder provides financial support for the 17 colleagues affected. They thank you for this gesture with a video message.
Prof. Näder has made another donation in response to a request from employees at state hospitals in India. They treat a large number of patients who are ill with Covid-19 and are quarantined under particularly difficult conditions. The donation goes to the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India, which provides the health care staff with meals and other essential goods.
Room disinfection unit protects against pathogens
With the latest product developments, SMU Planning & Equipping, Materials is geared to the current hygiene standards in medical supply stores and utility companies: In addition to the mobile protective screen, the room disinfector can also protect employees and patients from pathogens by cleaning surfaces and room air.
"At the push of a button, the device sprays a fine mist of hydrogen peroxide, which eliminates bacteria, fungi, spores and viruses even in hard-to-reach areas," explains Product Manager Sebastian Hoch. The environmentally friendly and residue-free spray mist contains silver ions that prevent the growth of new bacteria and thus provide long-term protection. Thanks to two integrated wheels, the mobile disinfection device can be easily transported from room to room.
Interested parties can purchase the device with the article number 758E1 and the corresponding room disinfectant online from Ottobock.
Medical equipment for the municipal hospital in Blagoevgrad
Ottobock is making a donation in response to the increased demand for medical equipment in the Bulgarian town of Blagoevgrad - the medical technology company's new production site: Five ventilators, door openers and protective masks are to ensure intensive medical care in the future at the municipal hospital in Blagoevgrad.
"Since this region in southwestern Bulgaria is particularly hard hit by the coronavirus crisis, we decided to make a donation in kind in the medical field," says COO Arne Jörn. Stoyan Stoyanov, head of the new plant in Blagoevgrad, handed over donation to Dr. Ognyan Mitey, director of the city hospital, on May 15. Mayor Rumen Tomov also expressed his gratitude for his great commitment to the city: "We are very pleased that Ottobock is supporting us in this difficult time".
Community Masks from South Africa
Ottobock reacts to the legal obligation to wear masks in South Africa with self-designed community masks for employees: The logo, claim and bubbles adorn the white masks in the corporate design. The dummy was developed by the team around National Sales and Marketing Manager Nicholas Naidoo in mid-April. To save time on the one hand and to support the regional economy on the other hand, they have outsourced the production of the 300 copies so far. Of these, three community masks are available to the employees, which they can wash and reuse. As part of the #ottobockcares initiative, the colleagues in South Africa have distributed further copies to customers. "A perfect opportunity to work safely while looking good," says Nicholas Naidoo with a smile behind his mask.
PEM develops mobile protection screen for patient care centers
To protect against droplet infection, the Planning & Equipping, Materials department of Ottobock has developed a mobile protective screen for employees in patient care centers. "Placed on the counter, they prevent direct face-to-face contact and thus reduce the transmission of viruses," says Product Manager Sebastian Hoch about the idea behind it. The 0.6 x 0.85 meter protective shields are made of robust transparent plastic and can be used flexibly. Thanks to a pass-through, it is no problem at all to make payments or pass on recipes, for example. The mobile protective shield can be purchased in the Ottobock Shop by quoting the article number 758Z147.
Professor Hans Georg Näder supports young refugees with 50 iPads
Last week, 50 unaccompanied minors arrived as refugees from the Greek island of Lesbos in Hanover. After Professor Hans Georg Näder donated 300 iPads for children from socially disadvantaged families in his home town Duderstadt, it is important to him to provide these fugitives with iPads as well. "The iPads are a small piece for young people to give them normality and quality of life," says Näder.
HGN Covid-19 Support
In addition to regional campaigns such as the smartphone app 'dud.info' and the iPad donation for home learning for socially disadvantaged children and refugee children, Prof. Hans Georg Näder is involved in the 'HGN Covid-19 Support' initiative beyond national borders: He donates care packages to Ottobock branches, subsidiaries and charitable institutions that are particularly hard hit by the coronavirus crisis. With 25,000 US dollars each, he supports aid organisations that provide food to needy people in Austin, Buenos Aires, Rio and Campinas.
A further 10,000 US dollars will go to the 'Mobile Food Pantry' program of the Central Texas Food Bank. Prof. Näder's donation was supported by funds from two local Austin, Texas Family Foundations, so that a total of 80,000 meals can be financed.
The aid organization distributes whole truckloads of food to needy people in Texas. At central distribution points, people are queuing in their cars to pick up the food due to the current distance regulation.
"Due to the coronavirus crisis, the Central Texas Food Bank is experiencing a dramatic increase in demand for our services as many people are asking for food for the first time in their lives. We are so grateful that Ottobock is supporting us," said Amelia Long, Director of Community Engagement at the Central Texas Food Bank. The reason for the extremely high number of people in need is the double burden of the collapse of the health system on the one hand and the falling demand for oil on the other, which hits Texas, the largest US producer of crude oil and natural gas, particularly hard.
dud.info: an app for Duderstadt and surroundings
Not least to inform about the current development of the coronavirus crisis in the Duderstadt region, the urban development initiative Duderstadt 2030 has developed the smartphone app 'dud.info'. In addition, the app provides news items such as announcements by the city administration, announcements by the district administration, important appeals to citizens and changed opening hours of shops. "With the app for Duderstadt, we are taking the transfer of information in the region to a new level, Futuring Duderstadt - go digital", says Prof. Hans Georg Näder, who supports the project. Interested parties can now download the app from the App and Playstore.
Following the example of his mother Maria, who gave the sisters in the St. Martini Hospital an electric iron at his birth – which still works today – Prof. Hans Georg Näder himself acts: He has put together a care package for the nuns, filled with spa kits from the drugstore Kühle and Pink Gin hoodies. The sisters thanked Prof. Näder for the gesture with a personal poem.
Ottobock donated further plastic visors for contact minimisation to the Universitätsmedizin Göttingen (UMG). On 9th April, Klara-Maria Brennecke, orthopaedic technology mechanic at the Ottobock Competence Centre Göttingen, handed over 100 copies to Dr. Markus Roessler, Head of Emergency Medicine and Head of the Corona Crisis Staff at the UMG, and Daniela Kürschner, Head of the Central Archive of the UMG.
Ottobock donates further plastic visors
The following medical practices and institutions in Duderstadt and the surrounding area are also happy to receive donated plastic visors from Ottobock:
the nursing home for the elderly and senior citizens Am Park (Duderstadt), practice for general medicine Karin Michels (Rumspringe), Theresa Häusliche Alten- und Krankenpflege (Duderstadt), Kinder- und Jugendmedizin im Bahnhof (Duderstadt), the joint practice Die Landärzte (Lindau), the general practice Am Wall (Duderstadt), practice for general medicine Ehrenberg (Duderstadt), the joint practice Kirscht/Theile (Duderstadt), the practice for general Merten (Duderstadt), the joint practice Stange/Weigand (Duderstadt), the practice for general Schmidt (Duderstadt), the practice for general Backhaus (Seulingen), the Häusliche Gemeinschaftspraxis (Rittmarshausen), the group practice Wernicke/Fabian (Gieboldehausen), the general practice Abicht (Gieboldehausen), the general practice Rudolph (Krebeck), the senior citizens' and nursing home Hollenbach-Stiftung (Duderstadt), the nursing home St. Martini (Duderstadt), the Hartel retirement home (Rhumspringe), the Drei Linden nursing home (Wollbrandshausen), the St. Martini Hospital (Duderstadt), the senior citizens' home Haus Elisabeth (Wollbrandshausen), the nursing home Landhaus am Rotenberg (Pöhlde) and the joint practice Wassermann (Göttingen).
Protective masks for nonprofit organisations
As a medtech company, Ottobock has stocks of high-quality, medical-grade protective masks of categories FFP2 and FFP3 – however, the company doesn’t produce these masks itself. Otto Bock HealthCare Deutschland GmbH has donated a share of its masks to health workers at the Caritas-Sozialstation Untereichsfeld, a care service in Duderstadt. Given the high risk of infection in the outpatient care setting, Ralf Regenhardt, Spokesperson of the Management Board of the Caritas Association Südniedersachsen e.V. noted: “It would be irresponsible of us to send caregivers to our patients without adequate protection. So we’re all the more grateful for this fantastic donation.”
The Berlin senate administration, which initiated an appeal for donations of protective masks, is equally grateful. The senate administration is coordinating the distribution of the masks to doctors’ practices, hospitals and emergency services, among other recipients. The development workshop in the Human Mobility division responded to this appeal with another donation activity: Development Engineer Felix Kowollik loaded 125 FFP2 protective masks onto his bicycle and delivered them to the collection point set up by Berlin Police, who were very pleased to receive the donation from Ottobock.
With regular classroom lessons suspended for several weeks on account of the coronavirus pandemic, digital education is becoming increasingly important. However, not all families own a tablet, nor can all families afford to buy the necessary devices. In order to ensure underprivileged children are not excluded from digital education, Professor Hans Georg Näder has donated 300 iPads. These tablets are being distributed to children from seven primary schools and five secondary schools in Duderstadt. In addition, “Duderstadt2030”, an urban planning company initiated by Professor Han Georg Näder, has launched a “Stay home – stay digital” education platform which provides parents and children with carefully selected links, apps and videos.
3D-printed door openers and handles
Vienna’s Lorenz-Böhler hospital initiated a project in which our site service, development and iFab teams worked together closely to produce and install hygienic door handles. The ingenious feature of these door handles is that they can be opened using the forearm only. This can prevent coronavirus infections being transmitted via hand contact. The individual components are produced by 3D printers at the Duderstadt, Vienna and Salt Lake City sites. Our subsidiaries Pohlig in Traunstein, Bavaria, and Chabloz in Grenoble, France, are also producing and constructing components. The Development department provides the necessary screws and nuts. As an alternative, personal door openers are also being manufactured via 3D printing. The innovative design for these was supplied to iFab by Materialise, a 3D printing start-up.
"In implementing this initiative, we could also count on external support from our partner companies," says Marco Volkmar, Head of MedicalCare HC Germany / iFab. As part of a joint sponsoring campaign, the technology provider EOS and the chemical companies Evonik Industries and Arkema are supporting this project with 1000 kg of PA 1101 powder for 3D printing.
Home-stitched community masks
The junior firm at the company’s Duderstadt headquarters has also come up with creative ways to combat the spread of the virus. At the Duderstadt site, apprentices in Orthopaedics have been stitching so-called “community masks”, primarily using cotton and filter fleece, to protect other people. Although the end result is not a tested medical device and cannot guarantee complete protection against infection, it does reduce the risk of infecting others. The Global Academy and the sewing centres at the Königsee and Pohlig sites have followed suit. Employees throughout the company have been invited and encouraged to sew community masks for themselves, their neighbours and their colleagues – one for all, and all for one.
Higher quality plastic visors
In order to reduce the risk of infection with coronavirus, Ottobock’s iFab has begun producing protective plastic visors. These visors also enable people to wear their own glasses rather than disposable protective goggles. Employees in carbon fabrication start by cutting out the high-grade plastic visors on the plotter before deburring them.
The first batch of plastic visors has already been donated to Duderstadt’s St. Martini hospital. On 2 April, Marco Volkmar presented 50 visors to Director of Medicine Dr Udo Iseke and senior consultant Dr Clemens Borkert. “We’re delighted to receive this amazing support from Ottobock. The visors are the perfect addition to our gear and will provide our staff with the protection they so urgently need,” said Dr Iseke.
A further donation went to the Blank Group, whose care homes include Haus St. Georg in Nesselröden and Haus St. Martinus in Bilshausen. “If we have suspected or quarantined cases in one of our facilities, the visors will give our employees extra protection in addition to their FFP2 masks," explained Sonja Zwingmann, Head of St. Georg, as she took delivery of the visors from Marco Volkmar.