About us. The company, our history.

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About us


The company

Created in 1996 by René Flahaut, CREAPLAST is a company dedicated to the design and manufacturing of thermosetting resin-based mouldings. Thanks to its unique sense of creativity and a very meticulous know-how, the little company based in the North of France turned through the years into a worldwide known actor of a specific and innovative niche: the manufacturing of various human body parts (like the spine or the knee). 

Those anatomical models allow a large range of applications. For example, they are used to train orthopaedic surgeons on specific surgical techniques or to present and to highlight, as precisely and realistically as possible, surgical implants during international congresses or workshops (demonstration sessions to surgeons, manufacturers specialized in surgical instrumentations and sales representatives).  Our products are present on the stands of many exhibitions throughout the world, generating positive feedback as well as new ideas and opportunities of improvement.

Our corporate culture is a mix between detailed medical knowledge, handmade products of the highest quality and perpetual quest for innovation. These are the bases of our reactivity in the challenges that announce tomorrow's growing demand.

 


Our history

1996 - 1999: From sand-yachts to Spine Surgery Simulator.

René Flahaut
René Flahaut, 1998

CREAPLAST was born in 1996, when René Flahaut left Sofamor willing to create his own company, expressing the need to set his creativity free. His overflowing imagination combined with the possibilities offered by thermosetting resins led René to work with many different universes, so he found himself working on mouldings for sand-yachts as well as lollipops, roofs for beach huts, jet-ski, race cars…Everyone who needed something related to resin knew that CREAPLAST was capable to do it!

Sand-Yacht
A Sand-Yacht made in CREAPLAST (except the wheels and the sail)

This is probably why his former colleagues, who had remained in the market of orthopaedics, decided, in 1999, to entrust René with the conception of the Spine Surgery Simulator. The principle of this ambitious project was to create the most realistic human spine possible, integrated inside a fake body. The Spine Surgery Simulator was supposed to serve in the training of surgeons all around the world, helping them to update theirs skills to follow the constantly evolving surgical procedures.

Prototype Spine Surgery Simulator
Spine Surgery Simulator: the very first lumbar prototype (left, 1996)
and one of the most recent cervical models (right, 2011)

In collaboration with his wife, Sylvie Flahaut, who joined him during the same year, René managed to elaborate the fine product, never stopping to improve it as its success grew faster and faster. The name of CREAPLAST, a little manufacture located in the Pas-de-Calais (France), started to reach several countries and companies attracted by those high-quality spines and bodies.

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Sylvie Flahaut, 1999.

Feeling tight in their small workshop, René and Sylvie decided to relocate in a bigger and more modern place that is still today the head office of CREAPLAST.

 

2000 – 2005: A successful family business

The spines and the simulators made in CREAPLAST became a worldwide success.

In 2002, CREAPLAST won the "Prix AES 2002" (Most innovative company of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais) for the Spine Surgery Simulator.

In 2005, CREAPLAST developed another successful range of products: the acrylic bones. Those transparent bones are destined to implants and instruments makers, who need to expose their creations during congresses and exhibitions. CREAPLAST got busier and busier, dealing with a constantly growing list of customers. So Laurent Rossignol, brother of Sylvie and former Medtronic employee, brought his invaluable competencies to the team and raised the art of making transparent bones to an unexpected level.

In the same year, as a consequence of this great leap forward, CREAPLAST won the "Prix Artinov 2005" (Most Innovative Company of France).

 

2007 – Today: A constant motion forward

In 2007, the status of CREAPLAST changed from "Entreprise Individuelle" (EI) (Individual Company) to "Société par Actions Simplifiée" (SAS) (Simplified Company with Shares). René, Sylvie and Laurent became officially the three stakeholders of the company. This was the beginning of many changes, notably in the ranges proposed by CREAPLAST: among their worldwide known spines, the 3 partners started developing and selling shoulders, feet, arms, hands...

This renewed rush for innovation led CREAPLAST to acquire, in 2008, the technology that would enable them to work their ideas out: the 3D printing. Making prototypes and duplicates had never been so easy for the company, which could, from then on, run trials and make corrections faster and more precisely than ever.

The Scanner and the Printer of our 3D machine.
The Scanner and the Printer of our 3D machine.

With a constant growth of its production and sales, CREAPLAST bought some additional buildings and machines in 2009, achieving a total floor area of 600m².

In 2010, CREAPLAST extended its possibilities some more with new machines allowing inclusions in PMMA. Basically dedicated to the manufacture of stands for implants and instruments, the inclusions became in fact the base of many side projects like lamps and decorative objects. Coming soon!