History

BW-TEC AG History

Jakob Willi and Werner Christl worked together for Schneider Medizintechnik in Bülach, Switzerland for many years. Schneider Medizintechnik worked closely with Dr. Andreas Grüntzig, a pioneer of cardiovascular balloon dilatation. Willi and Christl were involved in the development of equipment and were able to learn the process of PTCA balloon production firsthand. After Schneider was sold to Pfizer and then transferred to Boston Scientific in Galway, it was time for a new beginning and in 1999 BW-TEC was founded by Jakob Willi. After initial inquiries came in from former colleagues, he built the first machine in the garage of his private home. Shortly after, Werner Christl joined in and the workshop was moved to the Oertli Building in Höri, Switzerland where it still resides today.

In the beginning, the two entrepreneurs did everything themselves. Daniela, Jakob’s daughter, helped part-time to take care of the administrative duties and international communication. Rumors quickly spread that there was a Swiss equipment provider in the field of balloon catheters many purchase orders were signed for the development of equipment for different applications. Soon enough, automation and mechanical engineers where hired to meet the growing demands. By presenting at the annual Medtec Europe event in Stuttgart and by building quality equipment, BW-TEC became internationally known. The CO2 Laser Welding Machine 394 was the machine that lead the growth of the new enterprise. Companies from around the globe became interested in this technology and within a few years BW-TEC became the benchmark for distal and proximal welding of balloon catheters.

Because of the fast growth within the PTCA and PTA industry, smaller companies were often bought up by larger global players. This resulted in some big name changes within the BW-TEC client base and machines were introduced to other sites within those companies. The volume of orders increased and new employees were hired. Because of Switzerland’s unique education system, BW-TEC was able to quickly recruit qualified employees for mechanical manufacturing and electro-mechanical assembly. In 2007, the first apprentice was hired and received a full 4 year educational program to become an automation engineer. This educational practice is important for the Swiss marketplace and will always be a focus for BW-TEC.

In the last few years, the company has steadily grown. Today there are more than 20 people working for BW-TEC. The facility accommodates about 1000 square meters. BW-TEC has customers on six continents and with an 85% export share, has become an important partner for the Swiss economy.

Since the beginning of 2016, BW-TEC AG has a new management team. Josia Pantli assumes responsibility as CEO and will be supported by a great team of capable engineers. Daniela Pantli remains responsible for human resources. Jakob Willi remained part of the executive committee until August 2016 and then went into an early retirement. He continues to support BW-TEC as part of the board of directors. Werner Christl also left the management team and retired from the board of directors at the end of March 2016. However, he will continue to work for BW-TEC for the next couple of years.