Fresenius Medical Care, the world’s largest provider of dialysis services and products, celebrated today the 40th anniversary of the company’s Schweinfurt, Germany plant. Joining employees and their family members for the festivities were numerous business and political representatives, including Schweinfurt Mayor Sebastian Remelé.
Schweinfurt is Fresenius Medical Care’s largest development and manufacturing facility for dialysis machines and other medical technology devices. Over the past four decades more than 800,000 dialysis machines have been made at the site, where the company is now investing some €20 million in a new, 8,000-square-meter (86,000-square-foot) technology center. The Schweinfurt facility’s workforce now numbers more than 1,200, with about a third of the employees involved in research and development.
“Schweinfurt is a huge success story – not just for Fresenius Medical Care, but even more so for our patients around the world,” said Rice Powell, CEO of Fresenius Medical Care. “For 40 years now, we have been developing life-sustaining products here at the very highest level, and we’re doing our best to continue writing new chapters in that success story. With the building of the new technology center, we are working to mesh development and production at this site even closer together, so that we can provide even better dialysis machines for our patients in the future.”
“I am very proud that Fresenius Medical Care is established in Schweinfurt and from here developed into the world market leader for dialysis machines,” said Mayor Remelé. “These dialysis systems are used to treat several hundred thousand patients with chronic kidney failure. In the name of the city of Schweinfurt, and personally, I want to wish Fresenius Medical Care continued great success in this important field.”
The plant’s history dates back to 1979 and the acquisition of a vacant factory building in a Schweinfurt industrial zone. There, under the business name MTS Medizin-Technische Systeme Schweinfurt GmbH, 40 employees began producing the first dialysis machine developed by Fresenius – the A2008C, which won the gold medal for technical innovation at the Leipzig Trade Fair that same year. By 1984, every second dialysis machine produced in Germany was “Made in Schweinfurt.” The A2008C would go on to become the world’s leading and best-selling dialysis machine, a position Fresenius Medical Care still holds following the introduction of the A2008C’s successor models. Today, more than half of all dialysis machines sold worldwide are made by Fresenius Medical Care.
Dialysis machines, bloodline systems and dialyzers – the latter often dubbed “artificial kidneys” because this is where the blood is cleaned – are the most important products for treating chronic kidney disease. During treatment, the dialysis machine pumps the patient’s blood through bloodlines, monitors its circulation through the dialyzer, and adds anti-coagulants. Treatments are generally carried out three times weekly, taking between three and six hours each.