June, 2023 by Rebecca Reinkilde

Join us on a journey from humble beginnings to global success as we celebrate Elos Medtech’s incredible 100-year journey – a century of innovation, partnership, and excellence in the medtech industry. From our roots as a small machine shop in Sweden to becoming a world-renowned partner for precision components and solutions for medical devices, this story will inspire you. Come along and explore the history behind Elos Medtech’s remarkable rise to the top.

Humble beginnings in a remote corner of Sweden

It might be hard to imagine that Elos Medtech once got started repairing forestry equipment in a remote corner of Sweden. Still, the qualities that have shaped the leading company we see today originate from this somewhat humble beginning.

The limited company Götene Träindustri was born in June 1923. Our founders realized early on that by designing and developing specialized tools, machinery, and components with utmost accuracy, they could make a profound difference in the day-to-day business of companies in the wood-based industry.

Elos Medtech celebrates 100 years in the medtech industry

With a steady output of high-precision solutions, they made it easier for their customers to continuously increase volumes, lower costs, and improve quality. This, in turn, helped more people in society access better and more affordable everyday items, leading to a more comfortable life.

Entering the healthcare market

From 1923 and decades ahead, our company was part of driving prosperity and improving the standard of living in a way that dramatically transformed Scandinavia.

Yet, as the world continued to evolve, it became clear that our sophisticated skills and unique experiences in precision engineering could be used elsewhere – and create even more value – not least in the global healthcare industry.

In 1951, we began producing high-quality components for the healthcare industry and quickly gained a reputation for excellence. As the medical device industry rapidly evolved into a more complex and innovation-driven field, we started delivering solutions for highly demanding applications, mainly in the field of orthopedics.

Groundbreaking innovation in osseointegration

In 1975, we were part of groundbreaking innovation in osseointegration. From having focused mainly on components for the orthopedics industry, we now stepped foot into the dental market. Professor Per-Ingvar Brånemark, also known as “the father of modern dental implantology”, was the first to discover that the human body accepts titanium. Together with him, we collaborated on a project to develop osseointegration and manufactured the first dental implant for Brånemark.

Rebranding, listing on Nasdaq, and the first acquisition

Originally known as Götene Träindustri, we underwent multiple name changes before rebranding as Westergyllen. In 1989, Westergyllen made its debut on the Nasdaq OMX Stockholm stock exchange to secure funding for growth and acquisitions.

Elos Medtech celebrates 100 years in the medtech industry

The pivotal moment for our expansion came in 1992 with our first acquisition of Elos Medtech Timmersdala AB. Elos Medtech Timmersdala AB was founded by three visionary men, Ekström, Lindström, and Olsson, who opened a mechanical workshop back in the fifties. This is also how the name Elos was created, from the first letters of their surnames. The acquisition marked a significant turning point for our company, enabling us to hone our focus on the healthcare sector as a contract manufacturer.

Entering the Danish medtech market

In 2005, we made a strategic decision to elevate our capacity proficiency in precision manufacturing by acquiring the Danish company Pinol A/S. This served as a key milestone in our goal to establish an organization committed to the medtech industry.

Pinol A/S was renowned for its production of advanced medtech implants and instruments. They used processes such as turning, milling, and laser machining to craft products using high-grade materials like special steels and titanium. As a result, we were able to increase our operations by 50%. We now became one of Europe’s largest players in precision-mechanical components in the medtech industry.

Categorized under healthcare and becoming Elos AB

In 2008, AB Westergyllen made an exciting leap by becoming publicly traded on Nasdaq OMX Nordic under the Health Care category. This move opened doors for healthcare investors and positioned us as one of Europe’s leading development and production partners for medtech products and components.

Elos Medtech celebrates 100 years in the medtech industry

At this time, our operations encompassed two segments: our Medical Technology segment, which accounted for two-thirds of our volumes, and our Precision Technology segment, which made up the remaining third. However, in May of the same year, we undertook a profound shift in our corporate vision. The new strategic intent of our company was redefined with a clear focus on precision applied to medical technology. To emphasize this new direction, we changed our name to Elos AB.

Entering the Chinese medtech market

In 2009, we signed a new agreement with one of our customers Novo Nordisk, a global leader in diabetes care. Having developed and produced mechanical components for their generations of multiple-use insulin pens, we now expanded our cooperation.

The agreement not only involved the continuous development and production of mechanical components for Novo Nordisk’s reusable insulin pens but also encompassed the construction of a brand-new facility in Tianjin, China.

The new facility was a significant undertaking, requiring the transfer of a large part of our Danish production and processes. Nevertheless, this was a great opportunity for us to establish our presence in the growing Asian market and expand our global reach.

Rebranding as Elos Medtech and yet another acquisition

In 2010, we underwent a strategic transformation to reinforce our commitment to medtech. As part of this effort, we rebranded as Elos Medtech and established three distinct divisions focused on Orthopedics, Dental, and Medical Devices. 

We also renamed our Swedish, Danish, and Chinese businesses to Elos Medtech Timmersdala AB, Elos Medtech Pinol A/S, and Elos Medtech Tianjin. Our goal in making these changes was to strengthen the Elos Medtech brand and streamline our organizational structure. By adopting a uniform name profile across all divisions and regions, we aimed to ensure that our customers would recognize us in any context. 

One year later, it was time for yet another strategic move. We acquired Microplast AB in Skara, a Sweden-based company specializing in injection-molded components for medical devices. This was an important step in the development of our offering that complemented our precision-mechanics expertise in the medtech business area.

Becoming 100% medical and entering the US market

In 2014, we marked a significant milestone in our history by fully transitioning into a medtech company. As part of this strategic direction, our executive board completed the divestment of the metrology division, allowing Elos Medtech to focus fully on advancing healthcare through its innovative medical solutions.

Following this well-defined strategy of focusing entirely on the medical device industry, we took another significant step in 2015 by acquiring US-based Onyx Medical, a leading supplier of trauma and extremities products within orthopedics.

With our presence in Europe, Asia, and the US, we were now better positioned to serve the global market more efficiently. The acquisition of Onyx Medical gave us access to the North American orthopedic trauma and extremities markets, which represented around 50% of the global market at the time.

Expanding production facilities in Sweden and the US

In 2016, we experienced an increased demand for injection-molded plastic components and decided to expand our Swedish production site in Skara. By adding 1500 square meters, we doubled our production capacity and were now able to take on several major projects, delivering excellent quality, and continue to grow.

On a similar note, in 2019, we expanded our US production site in Memphis to keep pace with the increased demand for drills, pins, wires, and screws in both traditional and robotically enabled surgeries. This expansion included the addition of new equipment and employees, as well as 27.000 square feet of production space to complement our existing 52.000 square-foot facility. The expansion enabled us to meet the needs of both current and new customers in the global orthopedic market.

A trusted CDMO in the medical device industry

Today – 100 years later – we are a global leader in the medical device manufacturing industry, driven by a commitment to quality, innovation, and collaboration. We are a trusted partner in designing, developing, and manufacturing essential components with particularly challenging geometrics, advanced surfaces, and exact hygienic requirements. We have grown in size and scope, joined by like-minded sharing our passion for making a real difference in people’s lives.

The knack for precision that once got us started in that remote corner of Sweden now permeates everything we do on a global scale. In strong collaboration with our customers worldwide, we drive progress and advance medical devices within orthopedics, dentistry, and life science – ultimately helping more people every day, in more places, regain functional abilities that restore their quality of life.

We are proud to be at the forefront of the medtech industry and of the work we have done for our customers so far. Moreover, we will remain committed to delivering exceptional quality and value to our customers in the future.

We hope you enjoyed this glimpse into our century-long history, tracing our evolution to become your trusted partner from development to delivery. Thank you for joining us on our journey – and we look forward to the next 100 years!

Tag along as we continue our celebrations on social media under #ElosMedtech100. We will be sharing a multitude of captivating experiences, ranging from events and activities, including heartwarming celebrations at our global sites, to our unwavering commitment to giving back to both people and the planet. See you there!

June, 2023 by Rebecca Reinkilde
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