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Pharmaceutical & medical Enhancing patient safety


Maximum quality: that is the mandatory requirement for manufacturers of plastic systems used in diagnostics and the medical sector. Cavity pressure sensors from Kistler combined with its ComoNeo process monitoring system are helping one medical technology provider to manufacture its products safely and efficiently – and what is more, Kistler’s technology also supports the company’s ongoing development work


as single-use caps for bottles or reagent vessels. “Closures, in particular, are anything but trivial: they call for special molds with the appropriate degree of precision to protect the contents – and at the same time, we have to make sure that the opening mechanism functions as intended,” Merhold notes.


Cutting-edge injection molding plants operate with molds that have up to 96 cavities – and they are equipped with Kistler's


ComoNeo process monitoring system


work, his heartfelt commitment shines through. Since September 2017, he has handled Key Account Management for a leading pharmaceutical company at Riegler, a plastics specialist located in southern Hesse, Germany. “Personally, I believe it’s important that the products we manufacture should be of very high quality so that they can serve their purpose – which is to help people. What we do here is rather different from what happens in the automotive industry, for example,” he emphasises. This young engineer is also responsible for innovation and ongoing technical development on behalf of the customer – every year, new products with large numbers of individual parts are added to the range. Riegler is a midsize company that


M


belongs to the global Wirthwein Group. With 300 employees at three sites, it


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uch more than a job: as soon as Christoph Merhold of Riegler starts talking about his


produces over one billion plastic parts and systems every year: all of them go to about 500 customers in application areas such as diagnostics, medical technology, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. And the trend is continuing to move upwards: two new clean rooms were commissioned recently for plastics production to even higher quality standards, and further expansions are already being planned. Merhold explains: “Our customers benefit from our services throughout the entire vertical production range – from single products manufactured in large quantities, assembly, toolmaking and contract manufacturing through to joint development, qualification and validation.” Many of the plastic parts produced


by Riegler are disposable products that doctors and medical technicians need every day: examples include primary packaging, injectors and syringe systems, along with a host of other application instruments. Riegler's specialties include screw closures such


Reliable CoNtRol of Multi-Cavity Molds Large sections of Riegler’s injection molding production facility at Mühltal are highly automated, with cutting-edge machinery and plant. The multi-cavity molds deployed have as many as 96 cavities: they are devised in the development and design department, after which they are produced in the company’s own mold shop by a team of 30 employees. End customers have high requirements and expectations: quality and cost are key factors, of course – but a good reputation always plays a critical part as well, especially for suppliers. Some irregularities occurred recently


during the injection molding of a two- part reagent vessel for laboratory analyses that is manufactured with a multi-cavity mold: once in every 200,000 or so parts, there was a pressure loss in the open hot runner, causing the scrap rate to increase to as many as 30 parts. “Without sensors, there was virtually


no way of determining exactly when and where the problem was occurring,” Merhold explains. “I approached Kistler because we were already in contact with them on account of a previous project, and they are renowned for their cavity pressure sensors.” Peter Jost, sales engineer at Kistler,


recommended the ComoNeo process monitoring system for reliable, convenient injection molding: “When we realised that this was quite an urgent case, we loaned a system to Christoph Merhold at Riegler in the


January 2019 Instrumentation Monthly


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