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Röchling Group Opens Smart Factory in Brensbach

Brensbach, 26 October 2018. The Röchling Group has expanded and upgraded its existing plant located in Brensbach in the Odenwald Mountains. Starting immediately, production will be carried out in cleanrooms meeting GMP Grade C standards and under smart factory conditions. Röchling Medical has been manufacturing high-precision plastic products at the facility since 2008. The company is investing EUR 7.2 million in the new section of the plant.

“By expanding and upgrading our facility in Brensbach, we are responding to the strong growth in our Medical division,” said Prof. Hanns-Peter Knaebel, CEO of the Röchling Group and head of the Medical division, at the ribbon cutting ceremony on 26 October 2018. Alongside Knaebel, the Chairman of the Röchling Group’s Advisory Board, Johannes Freiherr von Salmuth, his deputy Dr. Carl Peter Thürmel, other representatives of Röchling’s management, and numerous employees of Röchling took part. Brensbach’s mayor, Rainer Müller, and Chief Commissioner for the County of Odenwald, Oliver Grobeis, architect Walter Trautmann, and a large number of customers were also in attendance.

The Medical division offers customers a wide range of standardized and customized plastic products in the fields of pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, surgery, and life sciences. “Our high-quality products are used in innovative drug delivery systems, primary packaging systems, surgical instruments, and disposable diagnostic items,” explained Joachim Lehmann, Director of the Medical BU in Europe. The products are manufactured in Brensbach in cleanrooms meeting the criteria for ISO Classes 7 and 8 as laid out in DIN EN ISO 14644.

Work in Brensbach began in September 2017. The current cleanroom space was expanded to 2,000 square meters, nearly doubling it. At the same time, the existing cleanroom was given an upgrade. The new cleanroom fulfills the stricter requirements for Grade C under the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) for the first time. Those rules establish special criteria for production processes and operations under tighter hygiene regulations.

To achieve maximum flexibility, Röchling Medical executed a design for the new building that enables injection molding and assembly systems to be fully integrated into the cleanroom. That ensures that machinery can be repositioned or replaced quickly. “This, in turn, allows us to fulfill the constantly changing requirements on the pharmaceutical market, especially in the area of injection molding,” said Alexander Stauch, Managing Director of the Medical BU in Europe.

The company also incorporated aspects of a smart factory into the Brensbach facility. All of the logistics, production, and mechanical systems for the plants are interconnected. That enables any disruptions to be detected and corrected early, or even before they occur. Furthermore, data on cleanroom quality, energy consumption, intralogistics systems, and the central plastic granulate supply is perpetually recorded and displayed. According to Lehmann, “We are setting new standards in the area of medical technology when it comes to Industry 4.0, flexibility, and productivity.”

The Röchling Group’s Medical division has engaged in considerable capital spending so far in 2018. In April, Röchling Medical officially opened a state-of-the-art production building at its current location in Neuhaus am Rennweg in the state of Thuringia. In June of this year, Röchling Medical Rochester acquired American medical technology specialist Precision Medical Products, Inc. (PMP), based in Denver, Pennsylvania. Since then, the company has gone by the name of Röchling Medical Lancaster. In July 2018, Röchling acquired FRANK plastic AG, a provider of medical and industrial equipment and based in Waldachtal in Baden-Württemberg.