The story behind Gramtec is the story about a family. Lisa was born in 1980 with a tibia dysplasia and after years of reconstructive surgeries, the family together with the doctor, decided to amputate her leg through the knee joint. In 1987 the range of prosthetic components for kids was limited. In order to harness the frustration and energy in a productive way Finn started to develop a knee joint for his daughter.
Prosthetist at Veterans Affairs Hospital
Prosthetic components for kids need to be smaller, lighter and much more durable. Kids play and explore, they are fearless!
Finn started with reconstructing a four-axis knee joint for adults. His curiosity and determination to increase the quality of life for his daughter led him to extensive studies of the human anatomy and walking patterns. As his knowledge grew he continued to developed the four-axis joint into a seven-axis knee joint specifically tailored to suit children
The knee joint showed good test results at a walking laboratory, was well received by orthopedic engineers and by the industry in general. An adult version was made and in 1990, the first patent was filed.
Next step was to get the product onto the market. The knee joint was technically complex, so to make the product profitable, he needed a business partner with good access to both capital and a large market.
Finn found his partners in the United States and in 1993, an American company was formed around Finn's product; Century XXII Innovations Inc., Jackson, Michigan, USA.
The knee joint was called Total Knee®. The company had an exclusive licence to manufacture, distribute, market and sell the knee. Finn had a support function and was responsible for production as well as development.
In the first years, the knee joint was awarded a number of recognitions. In Sweden, Finn received Alfred Nobel's Development Scholarship and the Total Knee® ended up on the front page of Borås Telephone Directory when the theme was Swedish inventions.
In the US, the knee received awards from both Design News and R&D Magazine.
Over the years, additional knee joints, feet, adjustable ankle, shock absorber, prosthetic locks and adapters have been added to the product range. In total, there were 20 unique international patents and global sales.
In 2000, the American company, Century XXII Innovations Inc., was acquired by the Icelandic company, Össur, which today is one of the largest orthopedic companies in the world. Össur bought the licensing rights and is still selling many of the products developed by Finn or products using technology invented by him.
Gramtec worked together with Össur to develop existing and new products for a couple of years after the aquisition.
Even though most of the patents have expired and some of the products have been discontinued, the legacy still lives on the market today.
Please take a look at the gallery below where we display some of the products Össur is still selling.