As precise as Swiss clockwork - TV channel Bayerische Rundfunk reported on Gerresheimer Lohr’s 125th anniversary

Düsseldorf/Lohr, January 21, 2015. Bayerische Rundfunk (BR) broadcasted a program called "Zwischen Spessart und Karwendel” on the 125-year history of Gerresheimer Lohr GmbH. It aired on January 24 at 6 p.m. The BR team took two days to film the footage at the plant itself, at the Spessart Museum and at the home of Eugen Heinz, a man who spent his entire working life at the company.

Eugen Heinz worked for Gerresheimer Lohr for more than five decades. During the last 28 years of his time at the company he was Works Council Chairman and in the latter years he was additionally a member of the Supervisory Board. Eugen’s grandfather also worked for Gerresheimer and its predecessor Spessart Glas.

His eyes light up when he talks about his job as a glassmaker. It’s all he ever wanted to be from a very young age. Part of his enthusiasm relates to glass itself, and part to his colleagues and his company’s history. Eugen has an impressive collection of photos documenting how glass containers were made in the olden days. They weren't transported in trucks, but in horse-drawn wagons. He still lives in a former company dwelling, an old but solid-built apartment building right next to the former glassworks. Eugen Heinz is almost 80 years old yet in remarkable shape. He still stays on contact with the plant.

The Maggi bottle is the most famous product. It’s been manufactured in Lohr for over 100 years, which is why it’s an exhibit at the local Spessart Museum. However, not many people are aware that Gerresheimer today specializes in pharmaceutical glass products, from the traditional brown-colored cough medicine bottles to thick walled special containers. The portfolio includes both standardized bottles and custom-made bottles for one specific customer.

The Bayerische Rundfunk film crew at the plant

“Gerresheimer Lohr is the first modern glassworks that I’ve been inside,“ said producer Susanne Ilse, who did the research and organized the filming of the program for Bayerische Rundfunk. Susanne started her on-site research at the end of December.

Everyone has to observe the safety regulations at Gerresheimer Lohr. So the BR film crew had to wear production coats, work shoes and headphones while they worked. They also had to get changed in the antechamber outside the clean room before filming the quality inspections there with disinfected hands and wearing coats, caps, masks and shoe covers.

The TV crew filmed the retooling of a production line for a new type of bottle. One of the most exciting scenes was the ring change. The ring ensures that exactly the right amount of molten glass falls into the first mold to create a preform for the precision molding of the bottle. Three of the plant’s employees changed the ring wearing fireproof suits using a procedure that they’ve practiced thousands of times. They can’t afford one single slip up! While they were doing that, the previous bottles’ molds were removed from the production line and the molds for the next type of bottle were installed. “A plant like Gerresheimer Lohr has to run like Swiss clockwork. By that, I mean we have to work with maximum precision,” said General Manager Andreas Kohl, adding that a continuous improvement philosophy is the basis for the development of perfect processes. The fast and faultless retooling of a production line is essential.

The entire workforce and their families thoroughly enjoyed watching the program about ‘their history’ on January 24.

The Gerresheimer Lohr apprentices are very proud about the long history of their company.
The Gerresheimer Lohr apprentices are very proud about the long history of their company.

About Gerresheimer

Gerresheimer is a leading global partner to the pharma and healthcare industries. The company’s special glass and plastic products contribute to health and well-being. Gerresheimer is a global organization with 11,000 employees and manufacturing operations in the local markets, close to customers. It has over 40 production facilities in Europe, North and South America and Asia generating revenue in excess of EUR 1.3 billion. The comprehensive product portfolio includes pharmaceutical packaging products as well as convenient and safe drug delivery systems such as insulin pens, inhalers, pre-fillable syringes, vials, ampoules, bottles and containers for liquid and solid pharmaceuticals with closure and safety systems, plus cosmetic packaging products.

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