The market for medical biotechnology in Germany is growing – and with it, the need for sterilization services. In 2019, for example, BGS recorded an increase in turnover of around 30 percent with products from the biotechnology area. Bioreactors and culture media used in microbiological testing are some of the most frequently treated items.
In the business segment of radiation sterilization, BGS saw further significant increases in 2019 of approximately 24 percent for products from the areas of pharmaceutical primary packaging material and medical devices. The increases are attributed to the excellent situation in the medical technology market and the increased demand for gamma and beta sterilization as the preferred sterilization method of many manufacturers.
Business year 2020: Setting the course for market growth
The increases in the business segment of radiation sterilization provide for a steadily increasing capacity utilization of both gamma facilities at the locations in Wiehl and Bruchsal. “The positive development encourages us to pursue the path we have embarked on and shows that our investments of the last years have paid off,” comments Dr. Andreas Ostrowicki, Managing Director of BGS. The company commissioned a second gamma facility in 2018, and with the introduction of a modern ERP system, optimised numerous business processes and further improved the service quality. In order to ensure long-term customer support and promote market growth, BGS is investing 7 million euros in the current business year for the expansion of its capacity. The productive capacity of both gamma facilities will be increased, for example, through reloads using cobalt-60. In addition, a new logistics hall is being built in Bruchsal that will offer about 2,700 square metres of extra warehouse space by the end of 2020.
With the help of gamma and beta rays, BGS refined about 10 percent more injection-moulded components in 2019 than in the same period last year. The increase in turnover is attributed to the increased demand in the automotive industry. This branch has a growing need for lightweight materials as steadily increasing demands are placed on the thermal, mechanical and chemical resilience of components. Furthermore, BGS recorded ongoing good growth with the crosslinking of piping and rod products used in district heating and cooling technology of urban infrastructure projects.
Automotive industry shows strong interest in radiation crosslinking
Numerous components manufactured from radiation crosslinked plastics are already being used in the engine compartment, for coverings, fastening elements, as well as for components in the interior and exterior area. “We recorded increased demand from automotive suppliers in 2019 and more projects in the area of injection moulding,” explained Dr. Andreas Ostrowicki, Managing Director of BGS. Radiation crosslinking offers new possibilities, especially for lightweight construction, as conventional plastics can also be qualified for demanding tasks using this refining technique. Crosslinked components show significantly improved properties in terms of heat and abrasion resistance, mechanical stability and creep behaviour. Ostrowicki also believes radiation crosslinking is becoming more interesting for the automotive industry in view of growing cost pressure: “Depending on the amount of the procurement costs for high-performance plastic, substituting it with a crosslinked material can lead to substantial direct savings. Other factors include reduced process costs, since radiation crosslinked compounds distinguish themselves through easy processing (e.g. low processing temperatures compared to high-performance plastics).”
Building sector also provides for increased turnover in area of radiation crosslinking
BGS registered a further increase of piping and rod products (around 10 percent) in 2019 over the previous year. The increases in this segment can be ascribed to a continuing good economy in the building sector – in particular, district heating and cooling systems of urban infrastructure projects process crosslinked piping. Radiation crosslinking ensures the performance characteristics of piping systems over a long period: It provides for improved creep behaviour at high temperatures and internal pressure, and consequently higher aging resistance. A major part of the piping systems is irradiated in Bruchsal with the help of a special handling system that tolerates dimensions of up to 12 metres for pipes and rods.
Business years 2020 and 2021: Modernisation and expansion at locations
After extensively modernising the electron accelerators at company headquarters in Wiehl, BGS is also investing millions of euros in the modernisation of the facilities and handling technology at the locations in Bruchsal and Saal a.d. Donau. Planning is underway in Bruchsal for the construction of a new logistics hall: A total of 2,700 square metres of new warehouse space will be created here by the end of 2020.