Our growth strategy involves both the development of innovative products and solutions and the satisfaction of increasingly stringent quality standards. We continuously invest in the optimization of our production process and product quality, and in the development of our product portfolio. In doing this we collaborate closely with our customers, our partners in industry and science, and our institutional partners.
We have four Technical Competence Centers (TCC) in our Medical Systems division. Our experts at the TCCs in Wackersdorf (Germany), Peachtree City (Georgia, USA) and Dongguan City (China) are involved in the design and development of customer-specific medical plastic products. There is another TCC in Bünde (Germany) for ready-to-fill syringes and safety accessories. Gerresheimer item also specializes in the development and design of pharmaceutical and medical technology products. As a result of this continuous expansion of our design and development expertise we are regularly involved in new projects and in the development of innovative product concepts. The TCC in Wackersdorf unites various areas of expertise, from initial development, through industrial process design, mould making, machine and mould testing to small-scale production runs and prototype production. It regularly incorporates ideas provided by customers, sector trends and scientific research findings in its projects. One such trend in medical technology is miniaturization. Micro injection moulding necessitates new technological competencies in mould design, injection moulding, validation and process inspection. For example, the TCC in Wackersdorf has introduced computer tomography for the measurement of micro injection moulding parts.
Our German plant in Bünde is where we develop and manufacture our Gx RTF® brand (ready-to-fill) glass syringe systems. We also design practical accessories to enhance the safety in use of our syringes there. A next-generation production process that satisfies the highest requirements of quality was recently rolled out when the fourth Gx RTF® production line went into operation. It substantially reduces particulate contamination and scratches through the avoidance of glass-to-glass contact. The washing process also meets the highest standards, and the diverse inspection systems after each process stage guarantee optimum in-process quality. Research and studies are naturally also part of our development process. In a broad-based, long-term study between 2011 and 2015 we investigated the factors contributing to optimum syringe function. The study particularly focused on the factors affecting break loose and gliding forces, such as the siliconization of ready-to-fill glass syringes.
In collaboration with our Japanese partner we manufacture an innovative drug delivery system made of a special polymer with glass-like properties called COP (cyclic olefin polymer), which is marketed under the ClearJect® brand. The development team had been seeking an alternative for traditional glass syringes, which are not always suitable for sensitive pharmaceutical or biopharmaceutical drugs. ClearJect® syringes were specifically developed for these types of drugs. Gerresheimer is assuming the sales and technical consulting roles for ClearJect® syringes for customers in Europe and the US.
Gerresheimer is now expanding its product portfolio of COP syringes and is combining the tried-and-tested RTF® (ready-to-fill) concept of glass syringes with ClearJect® to create the new Gx RTF® ClearJect® brand. In close cooperation with the company's Japanese partner, the new syringe will be produced at a European production facility of Gerresheimer Medical Systems. The first product of this line is a 1 ml long syringe with integrated cannula.
One outcome of our global investments in production process optimization is the development of the Gx® Elite product family. These high-end vials are made of type 1 borosilicate glass. They were developed to meet the increasingly stringent requirements of pharmaceutical customers and demand for higher levels of patient safety. The Gx® Elite vials have 2x–3x standard type 1 glass strength, considerably higher break resistance on the filling line and during lyophilization, and they are cosmetically and dimensionally superior to the industry standard.
The new Gx® ARMOR vials are the product of intensive research and development activities. Temperature peaks in the manufacturing process are the main causes of delamination in tubular glass vials. This was discovered in a recent long-term study conducted by Gerresheimer and the Alfred University in New York, which led to the development of the Gx® ARMOR vials. This new product line is tailored to parenteral solutions with aggressive active ingredients and specially designed to prevent delamination.
Gerresheimer facilitates production quality improvements with proprietary converting and inspection technology that monitors the forming process of every single vial. The Gx® RHOC system inspects all quality relevant dimensional parameters and the Gx® G3 camera system reliably identifies cosmetic defects. Random samples are regularly taken from the production line and tested for susceptibility to delamination The new Gx® THOR system, which optimizes the temperature profile of the converting process, and the Gx® FLASH test system, were also developed in-house by Gerresheimer for quality optimization purposes.
Continuously we optimize some of our existing pharmaceutical plastic packaging products and create new innovative packaging solutions. Here are a few examples. DropAid is a dropper bottle accessory that makes the bottle easier to open. When placed on the bottle neck, it also helps the user to position the bottle correctly over the eye for administration. The Duma® Twist-Off product family of plastic containers for solid dosage pharmaceuticals has been extended by the new Duma® Twist-Off Protect. It’s an innovative plastic container with extremely good barrier properties provided by the materials in the multilayer design. This new product has significantly improved protection against water vapor and oxygen. BioPack is the name we have given to a comprehensive range of packaging products for pharmaceuticals and cosmetics made of biomaterials instead of conventional polyethylene PET. Our MultiShell® plastic vials are another example of our innovative strength. They were developed as a packaging for highly sensitive liquid medications.
Our development and production of cosmetics glass products such as perfume bottles and cream jars also satisfies the highest standards of process and product quality. Every year we develop around 100 new glass bottles for the cosmetics industry. Gerresheimer also manufactures several hundred variants of these glass cosmetic packaging products, some enhanced with complex finishing processes such as spraying or metallization.