Ottobock is a German prosthetics company situated in Duderstadt with 49 local stations all around the world. It has been responsible for several innovations in prosthetics, including the C-Leg, a computerized knee joint that adaptively varies its passive resistance to suit the patient's different walking gaits, and the Michelangelo Hand, a fully articulated robotic hand prosthesis. In 2017, the company bought Bebionic, the high technology robotic hand, from the Steeper, US company that developed prosthesis, and has become the most high-tech company in upper extremities. Ottobock has been a partner to the Paralympic Games since 1988, and an international worldwide partner to the International Paralympic Committee since 2005. In 2016, the partnership was extended until the end of 2020.
|SE & Co. KGaA|
|Founded||Berlin, Germany (13 January 1919 )|
|More than 49 countries|
|Hans Georg Näder|
|Products||wheelchair, prosthetic, artificial limbs|
|Revenue||€771 million (2015)|
Number of employees
Ottobock was founded in Berlin as Orthopädische Industrie GmbH in 1919 by its namesake prosthetist, Otto Bock. It was created in response to the large number of injured veterans from World War I. Prostheses handmade by craftsmen could not keep up with demand. Bock's idea was to create components through industrial processes that could be supplied to prosthetists. This marked the beginning of a new industry. The political situation in post-war Berlin was unstable, and soon after the company was founded, it moved to Königsee in Thuringia. Over the following two decades, the company expanded to employ over 600 people.
After World War II, Königsee lay within the Russian-occupied East Germany. The company property and assets there were expropriated in 1948. However, Max and Maria Näder, Bock's son-in-law and daughter, had established an office in Duderstadt in Lower Saxony, initially as a sales office for the zones of Germany occupied by the Western powers. In 1947, Max Näder became the managing director of the newly formed Otto Bock Orthopädische Industrie KG. Otto Bock died in 1953.
The company has been responsible for several innovations in prosthetics. As wood was in short supply in the early post-war years, it pioneered the use of polyurethane to manufacture prosthetics. Otto Bock Kunststoff was founded in 1953 to produce plastic prosthetics. By 2016, it employed 423 people and anticipated revenues of €127 million. Ottobock developed the pyramid adapter, a highly adjustable linkage for prosthetic parts. In 1997, it introduced the C-Leg, a computerized knee that adaptively varies its passive resistance to suit the patients' different walking gaits. It was the world's first fully microprocessor-controlled leg prosthesis system, and transformed the company into a vendor of highly complex mobility systems. The C-Leg was followed by the Michelangelo Hand, a fully articulated robotic hand prosthesis, and the mechatronic C-Brace orthotronic mobility system. Ottobock developed the waterproof Genium X3 knee in cooperation with the United States Department of Defense to allow amputee soldiers to return to duty.
In 1958, a US-based corporate headquarters was established in Minneapolis, Minnesota under the name Ottobock. In March 2014, the company announced it would relocate its North American headquarters to Austin, Texas. The logistics facility relocated to Louisville, Kentucky, and manufacturing moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. The US company was its first foreign branch. By 2016, it had branches in 45 different countries. Sycor was established as a wholly owned subsidiary in 1998. By 2015, it had 520 employees, and annual revenues of €66.7 million.
Professor Hans Georg Näder became head of the company in 1990. In 1992, after the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent German reunification, the Näder family re-purchased the land in Königsee that had been expropriated in 1948, and established a new wheelchair manufacturing facility and logistics centre there. A medical science centre (German: Science Center Medizintechnik) was built by the company in Berlin in 2009 to celebrate 90 years since its foundation. Max Näder died that year at the age of 94. By 2015, with a work force of 6,300 and annual sales of €771 million, the company was valued at €2.5 billion. In February 2017 Ottobock acquired BeBionic. In June 2017, EQT purchased a 20% stake in Ottobock.
Ottobock has been a partner to the Paralympic Games since 1988, and an international worldwide partner to the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) since 2005. The 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro was the 13th games at which it provided technical services. This involved shipping 18 tonnes (18 long tons; 20 short tons) of equipment, including 250 items classed as hazardous good or dangerous chemicals, and 15,000 spare parts, including 1,100 wheelchair tyres, 70 running blades and 300 prosthetic feet, 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Duderstadt to the port at Bremerhaven, 10,100 kilometres (6,300 mi) by sea to Santos, and then 500 kilometres (310 mi) by road to Rio de Janeiro. At Seoul in 1988, four Ottobock technicians carried out 350 repairs; in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, 100 technicians from 29 countries speaking 26 languages carried out 3,361 repairs for 1,162 athletes, including 2,745 repairs to wheelchairs, 438 to prosthetics, and 178 to orthodics.
By 2016, Ottobock was the IPC's longest-serving partner. In Rio on 10 September, the IPC's president, Sir Philip Craven, announced that Ottobock had agreed to extend its world-wide partnership to the end of 2020, encompassing the 2020 Paralympic Games in Tokyo.
- "History: over 90 years of progress and tradition". Otto Bock. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "Ottobock Kunststoff: Inhaber prüft strategische Optionen - Veräußerung oder strategische Partnerschaften möglich" (in German). Plasticker. 14 October 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- "C-Leg 4 above knee prosthetic leg". Ottobock USA. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "Ottobock Healthcare wins the red dot: best of the best three times in this year's red dot award: product design". Retrieved 8 May 2009.
- "The 'Maserati of Microprocessor Prosthetics' Costs $120,000". Motherboard. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
- Grattan, Robert (31 March 2014). "German Health Care Manufacturer to Bring U.S. Headquarters, 110 Jobs to Austin". Austin Business Journal. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
- "Ottobock Relocating HQ to Texas, Other Divisions to Utah, Kentucky". The O&P Edge. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- Delzell, Emily (April 2014). "Ottobock moves operations to Louisville". Lower Extremity Review. p. 66. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "Umsatz- und Mitarbeiterzahlen von Sycor" (in German). Sycor. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
- "A Science Center for Ottobock at Potsdamer Platz". Retrieved 8 May 2009.
- "Prothesen-Weltmarktführer Otto Bock will an die Börse" (in German). Reuters. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- Marks, Bernard (2 February 2017). "Ottobock kauft BeBionic von Steeper". Göttinger Tageblatt (in German). Retrieved 1 March 2017.
- "Ottobock acquires BeBionic from Steeper". www.healio.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
- "EQT VII to invest in global "hidden champion" and medical mobility technology market leader Ottobock" (Press release). EQT. 24 June 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2019.
- "Ottobock Paralympic Games Fact Sheet" (PDF). Ottobock. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "Ottobock announced as the Official Provider for the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games". International Paralympic Committee. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "Today in the Ottobock Repair Service Centers". Ottobock. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "Ottobock, IPC extend partnership until the end of 2020". 10 September 2016. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
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