Meggitt A/S, based in Kvistgaard, Denmark, supplies piezoceramic materials that are used to create focused ultrasound transducers. To learn more about this important supply chain company, we interviewed Rasmus Lou-Møller, Meggitt’s Director of Engineering and Business Development.
“At the moment, we are working on a series of open innovation initiatives to build collaboration with researchers and developers in academia and industry,” said Lou-Møller. The three initiatives, which are being led by Konstantin Astafiev, include the following:
- Conference-based workshops about piezo materials and their applications.
- Characterization of new piezoelectric materials using our measurement equipment.
- Free simulation time for exploration of new ideas.
Learn more about these initiatives and the rapidly expanding company behind them in the Q&A below.
How was Meggitt A/S started and when?
Meggitt started as a private company under the name Ferroperm in 1952. In 1989, a separate division making piezoceramic (Ferroperm Piezoceramics) was moved out to new facilities. In 2008, Ferroperm Piezoceramics was acquired by Meggitt PLC and changed its name to Meggitt A/S.
How did you get involved in starting or joining Meggitt A/S?
I joined Meggitt’s Research & Development department in 2004 in after finishing my master’s degree in engineering at the Technical University of Denmark. I have been with the company for 14 years.
What is the company’s structure: ownership, lead executives, and their roles?
Meggitt A/S is owned by Meggitt PLC. The lead executives are:
- Frank Jespersen, General Manager
- Tim Schwarting, Director of Operations
- Rasmus Lou-Møller, Director of Engineering
- Thom Wurlitzer, Director of Sales
- Mickey Nielsen, Financial Manager
- Karen Breumlund, Materials Manager
- Susanne Heckmann, Director of Quality
In general, what is the current status of the company?
Meggitt A/S is in a period of rapid expansion. Over the past ten years, the company has seen a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10%. This growth has mainly been driven by the medical therapeutic market. In 2014, Meggitt moved to new facilities effectively doubling its square footage. With the move, leadership made a strategic decision to modernize the manufacturing facility’s infrastructure and machine park in order to meet the market’s quality demands.
Currently the company has about 100 employees and a turnover of about $15 million USD in 2017. The company employs 20 engineers out of which 6 hold a PhD.
What products do you sell to the focused ultrasound community?
Meggitt A/S manufactures and sells piezoceramic components. The main product family sold to the focused ultrasound community is mechanically focused bowls (lenses) that are able to withstand and deliver high-energy ultrasound.
Meggitt A/S Headquarters
What challenges do you have to expanding in the focused ultrasound market?
The main challenge with expanding in the focused ultrasound market is the communication with potential customers. A lot of players in the market come from a clinical environment, and Meggitt A/S is heavily grounded in the technical ultrasound community. Another challenge comes through regulations that restrict customers’ ability to change suppliers. This means that Meggitt A/S must be involved in the early stages of developing new products. A lot of companies in the focused ultrasound community are startups with new ideas, which means that they are difficult to identify. Meggitt A/S has made it a strategic priority to service universities and inventors. This brings very little revenue, but it provides a channel to the new players on the market and information about the latest developments in the field.
Do you have any products that are involved in direct patient care?
Yes. Meggitt A/S provides ceramic components that are involved in treatment of prostate cancer, essential tremor, kidney stones, and more. Generally Meggitt A/S does not disclose customer information, but we have been permitted to disclose that we deliver products to Insightec and Sonomotion.
We calculated that Meggitt A/S currently has or had business with 36% of the focused ultrasound transducer companies mentioned in the Foundation’s 2017 State of the Field Report. The number increases to 52% if only European, North American, and Israel-based companies are included.
What does your company offer over other similar suppliers?
Meggitt A/S offers the lowest batch-to-batch variation in on the market. We also offer technical support about piezomaterials and components throughout the development stages.
Do you partner with focused ultrasound companies? Which ones?
The preferred strategy for Meggitt A/S is to have an informal partnership with customers. The philosophy behind that is that if our customer succeeds, we succeed as a supplier. One good example of a more formalized partnership is our relationship with Sonomotion.
Is there anything else we should know about your company?
The company has a very strong tradition of participating in nationally and internationally funded projects with both academic and commercial partners. This has enabled the company to support a strong R&D activity with six engineers (three of which hold a PhD).
Being part of an international group (Meggitt PLC) with substantial financial backing, the company can enter into partnerships with long-term prospects. Meggitt PLC also delivers solutions covering next higher assembly and high-volume, low-cost manufacturing.
Meggitt A/S is launching an open innovation initiative in 2018 where we are offering training, characterization of new piezomaterials, and FEM simulations as a free service. To inquire into this initiative, Email Konstantin Astafiev at Konstantin.Astafiev@meggitt.com.