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rommelag: Market leader of BFS technology

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Rudolf Geiss

Rommelag has made a name for itself as the inventor, technology leader and worldwide market leader of the blow-fill-seal (BFS) technology. The core product, BFS bottel pack machines, as well as downstream machinery such as infusion cap welding machines, high-voltage leak detectors, particle inspection machines or finishing lines, are distributed by sales and after-sales services in more than 80 countries around the globe.

A strong group with decades of experience

Gerhard Hansen formed Thermo-Pack Germany for PE plastic film manufacturing, printing and sealing in 1952, and since then more than 50 years of experience in plastic processing have put rommelag at the forefront of BFS technology. Initially starting out with the extrusion of plastic film, the key driver for the group’s expansion was the invention of the BFS process by the engineer Gerhard Hansen at the beginning of the 1960s. This was followed by the successive formation of machine building companies, sales companies and contract packaging companies.

Today the rommelag group consists of an extensive network of specialised locations, with the two sales offices operating in Buchs, Switzerland, in Waiblingen, Germany and the two contact offices at Evergreen, CO, US and Shanghai, PR China.

The contract packaging facilities, operating to current GMP standards, are located at holopack Verpackungstechnik in Untergröningen and Sulzbach, Germany and Maropack in Zell, Switzerland. Investments are ongoing, says Rudolf Geiss, General Manager, rommelag: “Both plants have recently installed new lines and facilities for BFS bottelpack systems, for filling biosimilars and vaccines, as well as the bottelpack Pharma Suite – and a designated BFS aseptic production facility also for operating customer-owned machines was opened last year.”

The manufacturing facilities are based at Kocher-plastik Maschinenbau in Sulzbach-Laufen, Germany and Maroplastic, Reitnau, Switzerland. Finally, plastic film is manufactured at thermo-pack Kunststoff-Folien, Gaildorf, Germany. “In 2013 both these locations have increased their capacity through building extensions. At Kocher we installed a bottelpack training centre for the implementation of high quality training courses for customers.”

Leading market position

The way rommelag sees its own position in the market is described by Geiss. Geiss says, “Our international customers’ expanding requirements in the field of pharmaceuticals are continuously met by our newly developed strategies and our ongoing developments. Step by step development, starting with the design of packaging systems to the production of in-line equipment, which can be added to the BFS bottelpack machines – this is how we have reached the position of the leading systems supplier in this field.”

“We are a highly competent system supplier, equipped with extensive know-how and ingenuity, capable of designing and building according to individual specifications,” he adds. “Customers can rely on getting a unique range of products and services, enabling them to operate packaging processes with BFS bottelpack systems in a manner that is simple, safe and economical. As an innovative and reliable industry partner rommelag is placing a lot of emphasis on the provision of continuous support, efficient advice and worldwide customer support from highly qualified employees”.

Recent product developments

The company continuously invests in the development of products and services, as well as in product innovations and the expansion of the service range, says Geiss, “An example would be the recent successful market introduction of the new generation of BFS bottelpack high performance range, which is exclusively fitted with electrical drives that manage to reduce unit costs for our customers yet again. During INTERPACK 2014 we presented a brand new development of a VIM ampoules testing station for the automatic In-process-testing of BFS-containers, as well as announcing a new optical particle-test-system.”

The main market for the BFS bottelpack machines is the global pharma field, mainly for packaging sterile liquids, creams and ointments. A new and upcoming area are biosimilars and vaccines, and the operation of BFS bottelpack Co-Extrusions-machines with multi-layer containers for sensitive filling goods. “We are permanently innovating and optimising our range of containers and closures — like our ready-to-use — products of injection ampoules with integrated needles or the unit-dosage ampoules for eye, nose and eardrops with integrated dosage chamber, making preservatives redundant,” explains Geiss.

Expansion ahead

BFS bottelpack systems and additional devices are sold in over 80 countries worldwide, to customers in pharma, cosmetics and technical products. The western industrial nations are important, with growing developments in Asia. “We are working on rolling out our market penetration on a global scale, within both the existing and the developing application fields for our technology,” add Geiss.

Geiss expects further expansion for rommelag in the coming years: “Our BFS technology can offer a whole range of benefits, like aseptic properties, safe and cost-effective production process, low unit costs, high tamper resistance and advantages in the transport, storage, handling and application of finished packed products. Therefore we see a lot of additional growing space for our company, both within our key market of pharma and also within others, like the cosmetics, food and technical product areas, which are yet to discover how they can profit from the mentioned benefits.”

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