Wagner Systems Overview

Wagner Systems is an engineering company, specializing in the development and manufacture of micro-engineering devices. Situated in Diep River, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa, the company has a staff of more than 30 people. The major portion of recent company activity has been the manufacturing of dental implant components, as well as related specialist tools. Wagner Systems prides itself in an integrated approach to design and manufacture, supported by lean management.

Philipp Wagner, an Austrian and trained as a watchmaker, immigrated to East London, South Africa in 1953. He worked in the watch-making and repair business in East London. During 1960-61 he temporarily returned to Europe to work for "Gübelin" Jewellers in Luzern, Switzerland, specializing in the manufacture of ultra-flat watches (1.7 mm deep), including six-position timing to chronometer specifications. Wagner moved from East London to Cape Town in 1975.

In 1965, Wagner formed Wagner Systems, a company built on specialized Austrian skills and machinery as used in the European watch and clock-making industry. He is the managing director of the company.

Mechanical tolerances in the order of a few micrometres are routine in micro-engineering. Based on its high precision capabilities, Wagner Systems has delivered both prototypes, as well as production runs in hundreds of components. Products ranged from a prototype millimetre wave radar switch to timer mechanisms used in extreme acceleration environments (in excess of 20 000 g).

Also addressing the product and prototype development needs in other fields of engineering, Wagner Systems collaborated with the South African Weather Bureau to produce anemometers and prototype radio sondes, and developed an automatic tripping bucket rain meter. For the South African Medical Research Council a syringe-filling machine, asthma whistle, and a medical balloon-filling device for a medical dispenser was developed.

salt.jpg Wagner also guided Wagner Systems into successfully producing an electro-mechanical system and assembly of optical elements into an optical head-up display for a South African trainer jet aircraft. Based on years of experience in research, design, development projects in micro-engineering, and showing a keen interest in multi-disciplinary design, Wagner Systems also successfully developed a closed-cycle extremely low temperature (rated 65 K, or approximately -210°C) cooler for thermal imaging devices. A high-precision geared mechanism, used for star tracking on the South African Large Telescope, was conceptualized, designed, developed, manufactured, integrated and also acceptance tested on a coordinate measurement machine at Wagner Systems. A high precision geared mechanism, used for star tracking on the South African Large Telescope, was conceptualized, designed, developed, manufactured, integrated and also acceptance tested on a coordinate measurement machine at Wagner Systems.

The South African Government's Council for Scientific and Industrial Research recognized Wagner System's unique position in the area of leading South African technology in 1988: Wagner was invited to be part of a South African delegation of leading technologists representing South Africa and giving lectures in Taiwan.

Anticipating the downsizing of the South African Defence Industry in the early 1990s, and building on multi-disciplinary skills, Wagner Systems repositioned itself in the field of bio-engineering. Within the company, this strategy included forming a specialist precious metals machining facility. Collaboration with a major exporter of medical devices from South Africa, as well as various parties in Europe has been established. Today Wagner Systems is well positioned as an exporter of medical implants and associated support equipment, such as precision dental implant torque wrenches.

Wagner Systems is working towards formal adherence to the ISO requirement, and in particular 13485:2003 "Medical devices - Quality management systems - Requirements for regulatory purposes". Wagner Systems has documented a quality manual and associated procedures following the guidelines of ISO13485:2003 and ISO14969:2004. (The first version was published for internal use in July 2007.)

The development of new products is important in Wagner Systems. Apart from continuously improving on the aspects of "design for manufacture" of the products being manufactured in the company, other products are also developed. Based on his expertise on Stirling Engines, Wagner led the development of a prototype low-cost Stirling motor pump for the South African Water Research Council.

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