Kolibri's project aims to address the weaknesses in respiratory care in Germany, as 10% of the population suffers from respiratory diseases, including asthma and COPD.
The project targets challenges such as uncontrolled particle deposition, high risks in clinical development, patient acceptance and adherence. OECHSLER & PULMOTREE aim to develop innovative solutions to optimize drug delivery, mitigate risks, and enhance patient experiences. This project is a testimony to OECHSLER’s pioneering spirit and paves the way for a brighter future in respiratory health through advancements in drug delivery technology.
OECHSLER and PULMOTREE came together for a compelling reason. PULMOTREE, a start-up company founded by Ulf Kreuger and specializing in respiratory disease care, recognized the need to address gaps in the current market and meet the specific requirements of patients, physicians, and pharmaceutical companies. With OECHSLER's 70 years of expertise in injection molding, the company became an interesting and experienced partner that could go beyond a traditional customer-supplier relationship. The collaboration between OECHSLER and PULMOTREE has brought the Kolibri mash nebulizer to life, a product that was developed as a prototype and through their joint efforts will reach mass production.
The Healthcare and Pharmaceutical sector is facing various sustainability challenges such as significant waste generation and reliance on single-use plastics for safety reasons. Recognizing the burden this places on healthcare providers, OECHSLER and PULMOTREE have formed a partnership. As a first step, OECHSLER formed a collaborative partnership with Ansbach University of Applied Sciences to conduct joint research over a four month period to identify materials with the lowest CO2 emissions, without compromising on safety and quality aspects. Moreover, we took decisive action to reduce our ecological footprint through sustainable cleanroom construction, energy-efficient machinery, and resource efficiency measures. However, this is merely the beginning of our journey. Through OECHSLER’s & PULMOTREE’s partnership and other healthcare partnerships, OECHSLER is striving to promote local production focused on sustainable, long-lasting products, which goes hand-in-hand with the company's goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
The challenge for Kolibri was meeting three key requirements: cost-efficiency, high quality, and sustainability. The aim was to deliver a durable, lightweight, and safe medical device that aligns with user preferences while considering factors such as recyclability and end-of-life product reusability, in line with sustainable standards.
With a rich legacy spanning over 70 years in Polymer Injection Molding and more than 15 years of expertise in 3D printing, OECHSLER possesses valuable insights into when and how each technology can be used best. Regarding toolmaking, OECHSLER has been at the forefront of 3D printing tool development since 2014. This extensive experience has enabled it to deliver a complete package, presenting faster and more cost-effective production capabilities. OECHSLER's keen understanding of the right tooling criteria, especially for series production, as this know-how enables smoother tool-material shifting, streamlines the manufacturing process for optimal efficiency. Finally, OECHSLER's proficiency in additive manufacturing and toolmaking allows it to provide 3D printing and injection molded samples to test the mesh nebulizer (Kolibri) performance and showcase the final device, ensuring a seamless transition from concept to reality.
In alignment with Kolibri’s pillars, PULMOTREE decided for both materials, ABS and PP, to ensure a high performance and sustainable nebulizer's construction. It's worth highlighting that OECHSLER considered Kolibri's Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) during the material selection process. By implementing energy-efficient technologies, incorporating renewable energy sources, and considering end-of-life disposal, both ABS and PP were chosen for their recyclability and reprocessability. This enables multiple cycles of recycling, reducing waste and promoting a more sustainable approach.
ABS was chosen for its strength, stiffness, and impact resistance, enhancing the product's durability and extending its lifespan. It proved to be well-suited for Kolibri's housing parts, providing the necessary protection and longevity.
PP on the other hand, demonstrated excellent toughness, flexibility, and chemical resistance, making it a perfect fit for Kolibri's inner components. Its properties ensure optimal functionality and reliability.
"We are thrilled with the positive response to the Kolibri nebulizer. Kolibri´s parts have undergone rigorous testing and have yielded stellar results," Ulf Krueger, CEO and founder of PULMOTREE, believes that the Kolibri nebulizer is the evolution in inhalation therapy, combining advanced hardware and software devices. Kreuger asserts that this innovative approach will not only enhance patient health and safety but also enable pharmaceutical companies to deliver their drugs more effectively while providing physicians with more convenient diagnostic tools. However, Kolibri is just the beginning of PULMOTREE journey into respiratory care. The collaboration between PULMOTREE and OECHSLER will continue to push the boundaries of product design with a focus on safety, usability, and sustainability. Our commitment to innovation and addressing the needs of patients, healthcare providers, and the environment would remain steadfast.