m² production area
Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series
Areas of activity
Production and R&D: intramedullary nails for all extremities.
Market leader in intramedullary nails.
A nail from Kiel is implanted every 90 seconds worldwide.
400,000 nails are produced and marketed in Kiel every year.
Living and working at the sea
Wind and waves shape life in the town at the end of the fjord. The 17-kilometre-long fjord that connects Schleswig-Holstein’s state capital with the Baltic Sea is equally popular among beach-goers, surfers and yachtsmen and -women. The Kieler Woche weeklong regatta, one of the world’s largest yachting events, attracts about 3 million visitors every year, impressed by the competitions and the flotillas of ships. The sea has also, however, had a major effect on the world of work here. Because of its sheltered position and its access to the Baltic Sea, numerous shipyards and shipping companies have settled here since the mid-19th century and the many industrial companies here still attract technicians and engineers. Numerous work placements and jobs have resulted from Stryker’s close collaboration with the University of Kiel and Kiel’s University of Applied Sciences.
Commitment to the marrow.
If any name is inseparably connected to the Kiel site it is that of Ernst Pohl. Pohl began his career in medical technology as an orthopaedic mechanic, though his talent rapidly made him a much sought-after specialist for the doctors of the University Clinic in Kiel. The company he founded in 1904 initially developed equipment for x-ray technology and later, together with Prof. Beck, the so-called Beck’s Mill for human blood transfusions. Its method of function is still fundamental for the construction of artificial kidneys. Collaboration with Prof. Küntscher on the healing of broken bones proved particularly fruitful. Until the mid-1940s fractures were only treated with the help of plaster casts and extension processes – a painful therapy with unsure outcomes. Küntscher’s new approach was as simple as it was revolutionary: he not only cared for the fracture from the outside, but also with a steel nail through the medullary cavity of the bone. And Pohl, with his company, had the technical expertise for material selection, dimensioning and production of the new medullary nails. The method rapidly developed into the medical standard and the collaboration resulted in numerous new developments, including the predecessor of the worldwide successful Gamma™ nails. Pohl’s heirs sold the company to the American medical device producer Austenal, whose parent company changed its name to Howmet and subsequently Howmedica International during the following years. Through successful international management the company further improved its expertise in the development, production and sale of surgical systems and adapted from a workshop to an industrial company. The Stryker Corporation took over the company in 1998 from the parent company Pfizer and made it into a unique competence centre for intramedullary fracture treatment. Responsibility for all existing nail system products from Stryker was transferred to Kiel from the USA, Switzerland and France. Not without success because, right from the start, the T2, S2 and Gamma3 systems have become extremely successful product series. Ernst Pohl would be proud of the inventive spirit of his successors.