© Ruud van de Wiel

Masters of the golden triangle

In hospitals and practices worldwide, doctors, dentists and veterinarians use medical equipment from Novuqare, a Dutch company with only 18 employees. Its secret to success is balancing the three elements of innovation, production and close customer contact.


The two most important medical products made by Novuqare are MAPLe, a device for diagnosis and treatment of pelvic floor problems, and a medical sealer for sterile packaging of medical instruments. Novuqare is also a preferred supplier for Philips Healthcare. “We produce various devices as a contract manufacturer for the medical sector,” says managing director Iwan van Vijfeijken. “Thanks to our medical certification, we are allowed to produce such high-quality medical devices.”

Managing director Iwan van Vijfeijken (left) takes a close look at the development of new products. (Photo | Ruud van de Wiel)

“We are entrepreneurs”

Novuqare listens carefully when doctors comment on their professional needs. Such comments serve as input for the development and production of new medical products or the improvement of existing ones, which takes place in cooperation with partners such as the Swedish company Getinge. That also includes launching new products. “We are entrepreneurs,” says van Vijfeijken. “We want to make a contribution to the improvement of medical services. We do that by working according to the triangle principle. We combine our triangle of innovation, production and direct customer contact with the speed, efficiency and high standard of quality that we as a small business can provide. This golden combination is the recipe for our success and puts us a step ahead of even big companies. They may also operate according to the triangle principle, but can’t do it as quickly and efficiently as we can. Processes in big companies often go somewhat more sluggishly, and they’re less willing to take the risks involved in developing new products. But we’re willing to do that without further ado.”

MAPLe and the sealer for medical instruments are examples of medical products that were developed at Novuqare according to the triangle principle. Once a product is on the market, thoughts are made about innovative ways to improve or refine it. “Our employees are in regular contact with customers worldwide and hear from them about their experiences with our products. We implement that feedback in our products as quickly as possible, and we do all of this in our own production facility. That way we keep control over quality and keep on improving the product. We’d rather do one thing right than ten halfway.”

“We’re a step ahead of big companies.”
IWAN VAN VIJFEIJKEN, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF NOVUQARE

Maybe not attractive, but …

The medical sealers are Novuqare’s bestsellers. Hospitals and dental and veterinary practices can use them for sterile packaging of their medical instruments. “It may not be the most attractive product we make, but it’s indispensable for medical facilities and it’s the best of its kind,” says van Vijfeijken. “The unit is compact, light and reliable. It practically always works. And in the end it has to, because a hospital can’t work without sterile packaging for its materials. Besides that, the sealer is very user-friendly and works noiselessly.”

An ebm-papst drive ensures that the medical sealer is precise and super-quiet. (Photo | Ruud van de Wiel)

Super-quiet drives

The sealer is so quiet because of its integrated ebm-papst motor. According to van Vijfeijken, the motor is its most important component. “The motor ensures that the sealer serves its purpose — sealing  — as well as possible, quietly and with top quality. The packaging is sealed well but not too tightly, which is often precision work. The motors from ebm-papst are very reliable and practically never fail.” Novuqare has been collaborating with ebm-papst for more than ten years. Back then the company’s first sealer left the production line in Rosmalen. “The cooperation was outstanding from the beginning. There are no complicated communications channels. If a problem comes up, it gets solved right away. Thanks to its technical expertise and high quality standards, ebm-papst is the leader in its sector. Things like innovation and sustainability also have high priority there. That’s what we have in common.”

“I consider it important for us to remain flexible.” IWAN VAN VIJFEIJKEN, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF NOVUQARE

Novuqare has the world at its feet and many opportunities for growth. “For the time being, we can’t lean back yet,” says van Vijfeijken. “We’ve taken a new path with our medical sealers; now we’re also selling them directly to customers without middlemen. Demand for our sealers is increasing worldwide. That’s why we decided to take this step.” Van Vijfeijken also sees many opportunities in the coming years in the development of new medical products and further expansion of the relationship with Philips. “But I consider it important for us to remain flexible enough to be innovative and committed while controlling speed, efficiency and quality. After all, that’s the foundation of our success.”

In production, only top quality matters at Novuqare. (Photo | Ruud van de Wiel)

Proud of their work

What van Vijfeijken considers most important is that his employees are still proud of their work. “We keep our employees closely involved in the processes. They are often present at the birth of new medical products, so for them every product feels like their own. The team may be small, but it has a great team spirit. That’s good, and it’s important for reaching our goals. Am I proud? More than that. Sometimes I wonder how we do all that we do with only 18 employees. Everybody here puts their heart and soul into their work. That makes me very happy and is something we’ll need to keep up even as the company grows.”

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