Neuhaus am Rennweg, September 30, 2022 | Röchling Medical Solutions SE, a subsidiary of the Mannheim-based Röchling Group, celebrated the opening of the new production building at its Neuhaus am Rennweg site in Germany on Friday, September 30, 2022. A total of EUR 50 million will be invested in the expansion until 2025, making it one of the Röchling Group’s biggest investments in a single location. The importance of this investment for the German state of Thuringia as a business location was underlined by the attendance of Wolfgang Tiefensee (SPD), State Minister of Economic Affairs.
With the completion of the production hall, the Röchling Group is pressing ahead with the development of its smallest division, which was established in 2016. “I am delighted that we have been able to expand our production capacities in Neuhaus with the new building. This will lay the foundation for further organic growth and allow us to meet our customers’ needs and requirements even more effectively in the future,” comments Dr. Daniel Bühler, CEO of Röchling Medical. The reasons behind the investment are the realization of a major long-term order from a high-profile German pharmaceutical company and the implementation of additional new strategic projects at the location. The plastics processing company manufactures packaging systems for the pharmaceutical, diagnostics and medical technology industries in Neuhaus. Manufacturing, assembly, and packaging take place under controlled conditions in clean rooms.
The investment has also met with a positive response at the State Ministry of Economic Affairs on account of its contribution to strengthening Thuringia as an economic location. In September 2021, Minister Wolfgang Tiefensee paid a visit to get an impression of the company and the status of construction. “Röchling is continuously pressing ahead with its growth path in Thuringia,” Tiefensee commented today. “This is a really positive signal in light of the current global challenges.” He added that he was pleased the State of Thuringia had played its part in the company’s success by providing good local conditions. Tiefensee also noted: “The new investment by Röchling further strengthens Thuringia as a location for medical technology.” There are currently around 250 medical technology companies in the state, generating annual sales in excess of one billion euros.
Röchling Medical’s latest investment at its Neuhaus site also represents a firm commitment to the region. The company currently has around 380 employees. Last year, it produced 360 million items of primary packaging material and generated sales of almost EUR 60 million. The expansion is creating another 30 modern workplaces.
Mayor Uwe Scheler (Die Linke) underlined the importance of Röchling Medical’s economic strength for the town of Neuhaus: “At a time when the news is dominated by crises, this is an excellent day for Neuhaus am Rennweg. The expansion of Röchling Medical’s site will help to strengthen our town for the future. Above all, it will make Neuhaus am Rennweg even stronger as an economic location, ensure the retention and development of high-quality employment opportunities, and contribute to the growth of our town. We will continue to actively support the company in its future development.”
Röchling Medical’s latest investment in Neuhaus has also been received positively at the level of the Sonneberg district administration. “The fact that our region has developed into such a strong and attractive economic location is because of future-oriented companies like Röchling Medical. I would like to thank the company for the confidence it has placed in Neuhaus am Rennweg over the years, and I am delighted that the additional investments will create new jobs. This is a good and important sign, not least in times like these,” said Vice District Administrator Jürgen Köpper.
Over the past 14 months, a four-story building with space for co-extrusion blow molding has been constructed on a site with a total area of 1,850 square meters. The first floor is home to the central element: a GMP class C and D clean room production facility covering around 1,700 square meters, where containers, bottles, and canisters made from thermoplastic materials will be produced for pharmaceutical and diagnostic applications from the first quarter of 2023 onward. Depending on the container volume required, which can range from two millimeters to ten liters, it will be able to produce up to 100 million containers a year. “We have huge expertise when it comes to extrusion blow molding in particular. Combining this with automation and inline process controls allows us to manufacture and deliver highly complex products,” says site manager Alexander Stauch.
To meet the specific demands of the medical technology and pharmaceutical industries, the construction process was conducted with a particular view to ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and enabling automation. For example, the overall internal product flow is managed by an autonomous transport system to optimize production workflows under clean room conditions and to avoid product contamination. The necessary technical systems are located on the second floor along with the material preparation facility. The ground floor is used for logistics, some of which satisfies clean room conditions.
The clean room technology was not the only consideration when planning the new production hall. Röchling Medical also placed great importance on the use of renewable energies and energy efficiency at the building, which was constructed in compliance with the KfW 55 standard. In addition to the location’s environmental and energy standards, which are already certified under ISO 14001 and 50001, the basement of the new building features a cold storage system to sustainably save energy resources and reduce carbon emissions. Under this concept, the firefighting water tank in place for the sprinkler system, which has a volume of around 2,000 cubic meters, is reduced to a low temperature overnight as cold storage and the energy produced is used to supply the production lines with cooling water during the day.
The plant was founded exactly 20 years ago as HPT Hochwertige Pharmatechnik. The Röchling Group, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, acquired it in 2015. Röchling has already invested EUR 35 million in the first major phase of the location’s expansion. The plant site now encompasses more than 88,900 square meters, including six clean rooms, a logistics and a training center. The new production building does not mark the end of the investments in the Neuhaus site. An existing building is being converted for another project, while a property acquired in 2019 is being renovated and transformed into an administrative and development building.
Röchling Medical generated sales of almost EUR 190 million last year. Following a robust start to 2022, the division remains firmly on track for further growth. In addition to Neuhaus, Röchling Medical operates sites in Brensbach and Waldachtal, both Germany, Lancaster, Pennsylvania/USA, and Rochester, New York/USA and Suzhou, China. The Medical Division had more than 1,200 employees at the end of last year.
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