Innovative tools from the region
Board of the Parkinson Forum Kreis Steinfurt e. V. visits walking aid specialist Ossenberg in Rheine and reports:
“We are extremely impressed. We didn’t expect that”, Reiner Krauße is still amazed. The chairman of the Parkinson Forum Kreis Steinfurt e. V. and the members of his board have just finished the tour of the Ossenberg GmbH. The company manufactures walking sticks and walking aids in Rheine and is a supporting member of the forum through its subsidiary Elbe Stock. “We wanted to clarify how both sides can benefit from each other”, Krauße explained the reason for the visit.
What Managing Director Carsten Diekmann presents to his guests in the production department with a lot of passion is a total surprise to everyone: “So much for just mounting a few sticks and that’s it,” says Krauße’s deputy Dorothea Stauvermann. Ultra-modern production facilities, in which large Kawasaki robots perform their work reliably and effectively, characterize the picture in the hall.
Most of the production is computer-controlled. Precision work of the finest quality and that with a huge variety of products. “We deliver two million walking aids per year. All order-related. By the end of 2020, it should even be three million,” says Diekmann. “We develop and build all our machines ourselves. They take ten seconds for a standard walking aid. The target is three and a half seconds.
From a small five-man business, Ossenberg developed within a few years, thanks to its innovative spirit, into one of the leading suppliers in its market segment throughout Europe and with customers in many countries around the world. “With walking aids manufactured here in Rheine, we even supply old people’s homes in China. Extensive knowledge of the materials used, such as aluminium and plastics and their processing, is the basis for the high quality of Ossenberg products. But Diekmann’s claim goes even further. “With new developments and optimized equipment of existing products, we want to help those affected to cope better with their everyday life”. With this, he is preaching open doors to his discussion partners from the Parkinson Forum. He shows, for example, a walking stick with a built-in GPS transmitter that helps locate a lost dementia sufferer, or sounds the alarm when he or she leaves a range of motion previously determined by a relative.
“You must do everything that a patient, dass ein Patient, he is motivated to use the cane because he doesn’t want to attract attention,” advises Krauße Diekmann when he asks him what needs to be taken into account in Parkinson’s patients with freezing symptoms. “Is the red line projected onto the floor by laser good? Is this power button here too small and in what color should it be illuminated,” the company boss asks in the round. The development of an unobtrusive control element for this special stick is already well advanced and will soon be ready for the market. Tests conducted by members of the Parkinson Forum could, however, still provide valuable insights. “We are happy to do that. You are cordially invited to come to one of our monthly meetings at Teepe in Steinfurt and present prototypes of your innovation there,” says Krauße. Parkinson Forum District of Steinfurt e.V.
text+photo: Rainer Schwarz