The Heilbronn-based German company L. Brüggemann GmbH & Co. KG announced the commissioning of a new production plant for polymer additives. The company said it has invested EUR 25 million in the new facility in accordance with Industry 4.0 standards.
According to Brüggemann, the company is continuing its commitment to moving towards digital production at the Heilbronn site. Among other things, the new building bundles the production of solid polymer additives in powder and granulate form. The nearly completely digitalised processes with their corresponding logic connections are said to make it possible to respond flexibly and with the highest quality to customer needs. “The high level of automation not only permits significantly greater flexibility, it also ensures the highest standards for product safety, occupational safety and traceability,” said Managing Director Dr. Josef Berghofer. “With the new system, we are setting the standard for tailor-made additive mixtures and guaranteeing customer requirements are fulfilled in the long term.”
The interior of the six-story complex is comprised of a modular, fully automated mixing, grinding and pelleting operation. Software-supported processes ensure optimised workflows: The raw materials required for formulations that have been entered into the system are transported with pinpoint accuracy from the storage space to the plant, weighed exactly and then processed. “Only the delivery of raw materials and the packaging and pick-up of the final product are carried out manually,” said Berghofer.
One of the notable additions that characterise this project is the integration of the fully automated container system and the modern, multi-level production system. The individual work steps are closely interconnected and, at the same time, scalable on a modular basis whenever necessary. Project Manager Michael Sommer said: “It was a significant challenge to optimally integrate the individual software components and connect them to the existing database system.”
According to the company, the comprehensive digitisation means that no compromises are made in terms of product and system safety while maintaining maximum flexibility. At the same time, the production system reliably prevents undesired contamination of the mixtures. All processes are seamlessly documented and can be traced at any time. For Brüggemann’s Managing Directors, Dr. Josef Berghofer and Joachim Hofmann, these strict logistics workflows also mean that it is significantly easier to change products in the system. “Thanks to the shorter reaction time for production orders, we can react much faster to the desires of our customers. Flexibility is extremely important for our customers, particularly in rapidly changing markets,” said Hofmann.
The new plant also created space in existing buildings for the production of additional synthesis products and the expansion of the company’s contract production offerings. The shareholder and chairman, Ronald Ayles, said: “With the largest investment of our more than 150-year company history, we are underscoring our ambition to grow and our commitment to the Heilbronn site. Our polymer additives offer very interesting opportunities that we want to take full advantage of.”
Brüggemann offers tailor-made solutions in the areas of synthetics additives, industrial chemicals and ethanol. With around 250 employees, the company specialises in the development and production of reducing agents on the basis of sulfur, zinc derivatives, AP-Nylon additives as well as additives for polyamides and polyester. Founded in Heilbronn in 1868, the company now supplies customers in more than 60 countries. With subsidiaries in Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Germany, in the USA and Hong Kong, the company has an annual turnover of around EUR 150 million.