Automation Platform



  • Modular Design
  • Cleanroom class ISO 8 or higher
  • Line automation system
  • Wide product range
  • Fully automated plasma coating process
  • High resolution roughness measurement (0.1 µm)
  • Precise weighing application (resolution 1 mg)
  • Input- and output buffer for up to 120 parts
  • Intuitive HMI design
  • Automatic handling system

The IMSTec Coating Line represents a highly flexible automated solution for surface treatment applications such as grit blasting and plasma spraying on orthopaedic implants. Parameters such as coating shape and surface measurement methods are product dependant and can be parameterised. An automatic part handling system maximizes the mean time to assist.



IMSTec’s fully automated Hydroxyapatite (HA) coating system targets coating applications in particular for medical devices such as orthopaedic implants. The modular design provides flexible integration of the required process steps. Part quality is ensured by measurement stations such as weighing and roughness measurement. RFID tags within the part fixtures as well as data matrix codes on the samples guarantee full part traceability controlled by the line automation system. HMI touchscreens provide easy operator interaction. The flexible coating process makes the system able to handle a large variety of samples. For ease of use, with minimal user interaction, the coating process is embedded into an automatic handling system: The operator is only responsible for input and output of the parts which minimizes the error rate.

The operator uses the half automated kitting station for fixing the parts on their fixtures. During this process the RFID of the fixture is merged with the DMC on the part which ensures a complete traceability through the whole process. After a masking tape has been applied to certain areas of the samples the part-fixture assemblies are moved into the machine by a conveyor system. The robot picks up one part after another to transfer it to the grit blasting station. Here the surface is roughened in order to prepare the surface for HA coating. Before the HA is applied the parts are weighed at the weighing station and a roughness measurement is performed. Then the HA is applied in the plasma coating station. Subsequent weighing and roughness measurement assure the quality of the coated surface. Finished parts are transferred to the output buffer where the operator can unload them via HMI control. Parts with a “bad” inspection result go to the rework station. Good parts are separated from their fixtures using the unkitting station. After this process step the used fixtures are free for re-use. The grit blasting and plasma spraying stations are provided by external suppliers and integrated into the IMSTec process. Certain modules contain a filter fan unit on top that secures the cleanliness of the process.

The included input and output buffers minimize the dead time of the process. After loading of up to 20 parts the machine can run on its own for a longer time. Up to 120 parts can be stored in the output buffer so that unloading needs to take place only few times a day. A safety housing around the whole line ensures operator safety. All stations are accessible through maintenance doors when the machine is stopped.