Engineering excellence to continuously improve our production processes and quality

Top engineering based on experience and continuous improvement

After many years of experience working with glass and plastics and handling complex production processes, we have built up a high level of engineering expertise in the continuous improvement of production processes and product quality. We have our very own engineering and development skills in every area of the business.

A global network of engineering teams

A global network of engineering teams

We have four Technical Competence Centers (TCC) working in the field of medical systems. Experts at our TCC in Wackersdorf (Germany), Peachtree City (Georgia, U.S.), and Dongguan City (China) spend their time developing and engineering customer-specific medical products made of plastic. Our TCC in Bünde (Germany) and Wackersdorf develop innovations for prefillable syringe systems and safety accessories.

In the Gx Glass Innovation and Technology Center in Vineland/New Jersey/USA Gerresheimer is driving innovation in pharmaceutical glass, primary packaging glass products, technologies and digitized processes.

In the Advanced Technologies Division, our subsidiary Sensile Medical is working on developing the next generation of medical products for the delivery of liquid drugs. The aim is to develop easy-to-use, safe and precise liquid drug delivery products that enable people to continue treatments in their familiar home surroundings.

We have an Engineering Team in the U.S. working on further developing and improving the production and quality processes involved in converting tubular glass, i.e. processing tubular glass into vials, ampoules, cartridges, and syringes. At this center, we continuously enhance the inspection systems used to check products, ensuring that they meet our stringent quality requirements before finally being approved for delivery. Our in-house developments form part of a close-knit testing system that guarantees the highest precision and quality assurance in line with the latest standards. Our Gx® G3 inspection system for prefillable syringe systems and vials allows us to inspect every stage of the process using the highest camera resolution. Gx® RHOC is Gerresheimer’s own camera system boasting exceptional dimensional quality. It consists of three high-resolution matrix cameras per side and a hypercentric ID camera. Gx® THOR (thermal hydrolytic optimization and reduction) is a technology developed by Gerresheimer to restrict the vials’ tendency to delaminate. It is integrated into the existing conversion lines. Gx® FLASH describes a test procedure devised by Gerresheimer to predict how likely vials are to delaminate. Gx® Tekion is another process designed by Gerresheimer to clean glass tubes with ionized air.

Investing in machinery for our tubular glass plants

Investing in machinery for our tubular glass plants

Our global machine strategy – a project spanning several years – has also been running in tubular glass converting since 2014, with the aim of supplying our customers with significantly better vials of the very highest quality. Regardless of where our customers get their vials from, the latest generation of machine, checking, and inspection systems is used across the board, guaranteeing Gerresheimer’s high quality standard at all its tubular glass plants around the world. We install two types of machine at all our plants around the globe, which produce vials that far exceed the industry standard from a cosmetic and dimensional point of view. The two types of machine are supplemented with standardized checking, inspection, and packaging technologies.

After completing machinery upgrades in the US and Mexico in 2016, the focus in 2017 and
2018 was on Europe and Asia, and we were already able to start producing and shipping products made with the new machine generation in China.

Modern furnace, clean rooms, and inspection technologies for moulded glass ensure efficiency

Modern furnace, clean rooms, and inspection technologies for moulded glass ensure efficiency

Our moulded glass business also places an emphasis on the highest quality standards and the maximum possible productivity and is investing continuously in ultra-modern production and inspection facilities. By regularly upgrading the furnaces, our moulded glass plants have been able to substantially increase their capacity over the past ten years while significantly reducing their energy consumption per ton of glass. Raw material supply and batch house automation coupled with modern control systems for the furnace are helping to continuously increase efficiency at the hot end.

In the financial year 2018, we invested, among other things, in additional production and finishing lines for glass cosmetics packaging in the plants in Tettau (Germany) and Momignies (Belgium). Moreover, packing robots are increasingly being used for the end-of-line packaging of glass products, ensuring high accuracy and the prevention of errors during final packing on pallets.

In the Primary Packaging Glass Division, we launched a new manufacturing execution system (MES) in the financial year 2018 to help us streamline and accelerate production while simultaneously improving production quality. The new system centers on real-time interconnection and data exchange across all stages of the production process. Introducing the MES in the molded and tubular glass plants in the Primary Packaging Glass Division will significantly improve communication flow between the various production sections. Specially adapted to our needs, the system aids early fault detection and troubleshooting.

The production lines at our pharmaceutical moulded glass plants supply certified clean rooms (ISO class 8 in accordance with ISO 14644-1) at the so-called cold end, where the glass containers and bottles are then finished and packaged with negligible contamination from germs and other particles. Each individual product is inspected entirely automatically and checked for flaws and geometric irregularities at the cold end. State-of-the-art optic control systems create images of each item that are then analyzed by the computer to meet the pharmaceutical industry’s stringent quality requirements .

Glass production begins with engineering the mould. The more accurately the moulds are crafted, the greater the quality of the bottle. A perfect and even distribution of glass is the key to success when it comes to ensuring the robustness of these highly sensitive products. Gerresheimer employs a specially enhanced simulation software for this purpose. It defines the parameters for the moulds based on comprehensive data, producing a better product and reducing the development time involved.

Packing robots are increasingly being deployed in the final packaging stage for glass products, ensuring a high level of accuracy and avoiding errors as the end products are packaged into pallets.

Engineering projects for plastic packaging

Engineering projects for plastic packaging

Our plastic packaging team have been looking into using new materials over the past few years, giving rise to the MultiShell® vials and the BioPack product range, among other things. Consisting of multiple layers, the vials are transparent, shatter-proof, and biocompatible, making them especially suitable for storing sensitive parenteral drugs for prolonged periods of time. By contrast, BioPack products are made from biomaterial and renewable raw materials, for example the sugar cane plant. They are fully recyclable and boast identical properties to conventional types of packaging on the existing filling and packaging lines.

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