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Dutch Mold Maker Doubles Down on US Medical Market

Image: IGS GeboJagema IGS headquarters
IGS headquarters in Eindhoven, Netherlands.
The acquisition by private equity firm Smile Invest will bolster IGS's focus on developing, manufacturing, and validating high-end molds that meet the strict quality requirements of medical device OEMs.

Injection mold maker IGS GeboJagema announced recently that it has entered into the “next phase” of its business development strategy through its acquisition by Smile Invest. The change in ownership from Nordian Capital will allow the Netherlands-based mold maker to further pursue opportunities in the US medical market.

Nordian Capital acquired the company in 2016 with the goal of shoring up the company’s medical  business commercially and financially. That has been largely successful, as Nordian invested in R&D and production facilities to support the client base in the optical and medical markets and helped IGS establish a presence in the United States. “We have witnessed the company’s transformation into a leading player in the high-end medical devices and equipment market,” commented Perry Bos, Managing Partner at Nordian. “Its manufacturing plant and team of developers, engineers, and operators are among the very best in the market. In the next growth phase . . . a new party will be able to help IGS further.”

That new party is Smile Invest, and PlasticsToday asked Frans Branten, Strategic Business Manager at IGS, what made it such a good fit. “Smile Invest is a private equity fund backed by 40 entrepreneurial families focused on long-term growth companies,” explained Branten. “With its knowledge, experience, and extensive contacts, Smile Invest’s entrepreneurial network opens up new opportunities for us. The advisory board, which consists of industry experts with a large network in the healthcare Industry and expertise and experience in the United States, will actively support IGS in the further development of the US market.”

Automation and Industry 4.0

Branten notes that IGS’s focus on developing, manufacturing, and validating high-end molds that meet the strict quality requirements of medical device OEMs already has earned the company business in the United States. “Our high-precision molds have tolerances down to a few microns, and thanks to our focus on automation and Industry 4.0 production, we can deliver 100% repeatability and interchangeability,” Branten told PlasticsToday. “We have seen more and more OEMs and their contract manufacturers, both in Europe and the United States, reach out to IGS to fulfill their needs in terms of multiple molds and repeat molds for device programs.” As an example, Branten pointed out that IGS is currently involved in all major strategic insulin pen projects.

Beyond the company’s expertise in manufacturing precision molds, IGS partners with clients to develop optimal manufacturing processes that result in a lower total cost of ownership. “Through our rigorous validation process, we deliver molds with detailed instructions on how to produce products that meet our client’s exact specifications,” explained Branten. Moreover, the company embraces innovation and a nimble problem-solving approach.

“When the pandemic first hit, we rolled out remote validation to our entire client base,” said Branten. Customers could witness any stage of the validation process via high-quality video and other technological solutions. It will soon launch a new remote technical support service using Microsoft Hololens 2 augmented reality glasses, added Branten.

A singular focus on medical sector

He also calls out the importance of relationships in achieving successful business outcomes. “Especially in the healthcare industry, trust is essential,” said  Branten. “By establishing an office in the United States, we are investing in our relationships in North America. We hope to serve our existing and future clients better by having representatives in the same time zone.”

While IGS is open to serving other industries, the medical sector remains its primary focus as it expands its presence in the US market, said Branten. “Our entire organization has been set up to provide a one-stop solution for medical applications, both in terms of the quality of the molds we deliver and in terms of processes and documentation.”

Smile Invest is looking forward to contributing to this next phase in the company’s development, and has complete confidence in IGS’s ability to deliver. “IGS is a fantastic company with a unique market position,” said Smile Invest partners Ivo Vincente and Ad Notenboom. “Our entrepreneurs’ network and the knowledge and experience we contribute are exactly what IGS is looking for to support it with further expansion to customers in, for instance, the United States and with the continued development of applications for injection molds, such as medical packaging. In turn, IGS’s innovative medical profile and growth ambition are a perfect match for our portfolio.”

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