Business Address: Otto Bock HealthCare GmbH, Max-Näder-Straße 15, D-37115 Duderstadt, Germany
Mobility for people: the name Ottobock stands for high-quality, functional and technologically outstanding products and services around the world.
The name Ottobock stands for high-quality and technologically outstanding products and services in medical technology around the world. The goal of helping to restore mobility for people with disabilities, and protect what mobility they have, stands behind each and every product of the company. The conviction that quality of life is closely associated with a maximum of individual freedom and independence is a key concept that has been a major influence throughout the company’s 90-year history and guides the development of new products in a focused manner.
The medical technology company Ottobock has seen stable growth for years: in 2012, sales rose by 10.5 per cent to EUR 666 million, adjusted for currency exchange effects, and the number of employees increased to over 5,000 worldwide. The global activities of the company are coordinated from the head office in Duderstadt. A network of distribution and service companies in 49 countries places the company near its customers thanks to a global presence. With its five divisions of Prosthetics, Orthotics, Neurostimulation, Mobility Solutions (manual and power wheelchairs as well as rehab products) and MedicalCare, the company is ideally positioned and capable of offering its customers a virtually unprecedented wide range of products, perfectly harmonised system solutions and extensive services.
Ottobock products set standards
Mechatronic solutions for the autoadaptive control of prosthetic components are a main area of Ottobock’s research and development. The electronic intelligence embedded in the product takes the burden off the user, so that the systems can adapt to different conditions and everyday situations automatically. On the basis of this technology, prosthetics products are constantly setting standards in the prosthetic care of people with disabilities. The C-Leg launched in 1997 was the first completely microprocessor-controlled lower limb prosthesis system in the world. Another milestone in product development was introduced by the global leader in exo-prosthetics in 2011: the ‘Genium - Bionic Prosthetic System’. It simulates natural, physiological ambulation almost perfectly. The Michelangelo prosthetic hand, in turn, is a quantum leap in prosthetic care regarding upper limbs. Controlled by muscle signals, it offers four movable fingers and a thumb that can be positioned separately, so that the user can execute different types of grasping accurately, fast and reliably.
Ottobock is also a global market leader in the field of neuroorthopaedics. This care is aimed at people who are affected by complete or partial paralysis of a leg. The complete-leg orthosis C-Brace® is the first mechatronic orthosis system in the world that controls the entire gait cycle dynamically and in real time.
In MyGait and ActiGait, Ottobock offers products for innovative therapy that provide effective help for people with weak dorsiflexion after a stroke, multiple sclerosis, incomplete paraplegia or craniocerebral trauma. They stimulate the affected lower leg muscles via electrical pulses to restore motor function.
Strict quality control standards are essential due to reliability and safety requirements combined with the amount of strain placed on the products. For example, before a new Ottobock prosthetic foot is brought to market, it is tested in special gait simulators where it has to take around three million steps. Furthermore, complex testing at the gait lab provides insights into the reaction forces at work during the roll of a prosthetic foot or into the influence that a prosthesis has on the metabolism of the test subject so as to find solutions that help to save as much effort as possible.
Apart from product quality, another focus is on the quality of prosthetic fittings. As part of Patient Care, Ottobock today operates over 75 fitting centres around the world. The know-how in high-quality patient fittings acquired there, a detailed understanding of the market and the individual business models developed for countries and regions benefit also business customers to whom Ottobock Business Service makes this range and know-how available as services.
Training and continuing education provided by Ottobock Academy
Sharing state-of-the-art specialist know-how, ensuring the quality of prosthetic fittings, and working in a targeted manner to counter the international shortage of skilled workers: these are the objectives of the Ottobock Academy, pursuing a strong role in the training and continuing education of orthopaedic and rehabilitation technicians. The extensive and differentiated programme is directed at all experts involved in patient care, and also includes Ottobock employees around the world to enable them to provide customers and partners with qualified advice and support. In cooperation with the Private University Göttingen (PFH) and the University of Göttingen, as well as other partners in medicine and science, Ottobock has developed three courses of study in the fields of orthobionics and healthcare technology. This closes the gap between medical research, modern medicine and orthopaedic technology.
Ottobock’s commitment to sports for the disabled has long been a fixture of the company’s philosophy. The goal is to place people with disabilities at the centre of society and to show them as great athletes and role models, demonstrating that sports and performance can restore their confidence about life. This spirit is embodied by the Paralympic Games, which Ottobock has actively backed and supported since the Games in Seoul in 1988. In London in 2012, the Ottobock team, consisting of 78 orthopaedic technicians from 20 countries, worked on 2,080 repair orders in 10,684 hours. Ottobock has been a cooperation partner of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) since 2005, and in London extended this contract through Rio 2016.
Science Center Berlin — “Discover what moves us”
The fascination of the human body, the interest in its function and that which is taken for granted and that is concealed behind complex movement patterns: all that illustrates the enormous challenge for modern medical technology that restores mobility for people through artificial limbs. With the Science Center Berlin, Ottobock has applied a unique approach and succeeded in giving medical technology a platform with a far-reaching mass appeal. Under the motto “Discover what moves us”, mobility becomes comprehensible for all. Exhibits and interactive displays invite visitors to experience the functionality of prostheses, orthoses and wheelchairs.