BGS has created a staff position for strategic technology management as of 1 July. Dr. Dirk Fischer, PhD chemist and longstanding head of application development at BGS, will take over the management. Marie-Bernadette Watolla will take over as Head of Application Development. After working at B.Braun, one of the leading companies in medical technology, the graduate materials scientist comes back to BGS.
“With the new staff position, we are successfully positioning our service for the challenges of the coming years. Because the key to the development of new technological solutions and the early recognition of industry trends lies in a systematically pursued technology management. In doing so, we will continue to cooperate closely with partners from science and industry,” emphasizes Dr. Dirk Fischer on assuming his new position. Ongoing projects, including the recycling of radiation-crosslinked polyamides, the crosslinkability of biopolymers or alternatives for determining the degree of crosslinking, will thus be transferred to the area of responsibility of the new staff position.
“In order to drive innovation, new technologies must be recognized, evaluated and implemented at an early stage. With the new staff position, we are increasingly tackling technology development, not only in the future-oriented sectors of renewable energies or e-mobility,” explains BGS Managing Director Dr Andreas Ostrowicki. “We are very pleased to have won Dr Fischer as a highly competent and valued colleague for the new task. With more than 25 years of experience in R&D, industrial engineering and technology and innovation management, Dr Fischer brings extensive knowledge to establish and bring to life a systematic technology management process at BGS.”
Marie-Bernadette Watolla takes over as Head of Application Development Marie-Bernadette Watolla has taken over as Head of Application Development. In future, she will have overall responsibility for the department’s tasks, which include technical feasibility tests and product qualifications in the fields of radiation crosslinking and radiation sterilization. Watolla is thus the new person responsible for the technical implementation, optimization and adaptation of customer-specific requirements for production. “For her new role, Marie-Bernadette Watolla brings years of experience as Deputy Head and Team Leader Sterilization in our Application Development department, as well as valuable practice as Program Manager Sterilization at B.Braun. We are delighted to have won her back as a valued former colleague,” says Dr Andreas Ostrowicki.
From 12 June 2023, BGS will implement the online-based time slot planning system Cargoclix for the delivery and collection of goods at the Wiehl site. This was preceded by a one-year usage phase at the Saal site.
Oliver Borsch, the operations manager of the Wiehl site, explains: “The time slot management of Cargoclix has convinced us in the long term at the Saal site, so that a roll-out to the Wiehl site can now be implemented.”
All parties involved benefit from improved plannability of loading and unloading volumes, increased loading performance and transparency regarding free capacities. This is a decisive advantage for the forwarders and also an economic aspect for customers who usually have to pay for waiting times. Due to the introduction of the new system, waiting times for freight forwarders can be reduced by several hours in the future.
BGS customers of the Wiehl location will have the possibility to reserve appointments for deliveries and collections from 12 June onwards. It should be noted that freight forwarders who have not booked a time slot will have to wait for available time slots and should therefore plan for longer waiting times. Booked appointments will be given priority.
Before booking an appointment, it is necessary to set up an account, which only takes a few minutes and is explained in detail by the provider.
BGS Beta-Gamma-Service GmbH & Co. KG ended the year 2022 with a low single-digit increase in turnover. The volume growth normalised significantly in the business segment of radiation sterilization involving medical devices, pharmaceutical primary packaging material and implants. Only in the area of the sterilization of consumables for diagnostics was a slight decrease apparent due to the low demand for laboratory capacities. In the business segment radiation crosslinking, the company looks back on a mixed business year 2022. Whereas increases in the crosslinking of cables were recorded, BGS recorded a falling demand for pipes and other crosslinked products. The insufficient supply of raw material and disrupted supply chains of processors caused problems for the plastics industry as a whole.
“Unstable supply chains and increased energy prices have posed challenges for us in 2022,” comments managing director of BGS, Dr. Andreas Ostrowicki. “The tight supply of material and raw material supplies has resulted in bottlenecks in the production of products for many of our customers. This also affected us as commissioned provider of crosslinking and sterilization services. Despite the difficult general conditions for society as a whole, we nevertheless managed to get through the year quite well,” explains Ostrowicki.
A particular challenge in the field of radiation sterilization were the stricter official requirements for the transport of cobalt-60 sources. “The necessary and punctual reloads of the gamma plants were not possible last year – this led to a substantial shortage of sterilization capacities and puts pressure on the entire medical device industry in Germany.” In order to ensure a supply of crucial, sterile medical devices to the market, managing director Ostrowicki appeals to politicians to create the necessary general conditions and to give higher priority to the issue of sterilization of medical devices.
Looking ahead to the 2023 business year
Despite continually higher energy costs, managing director Ostrowicki believes his company is well prepared for the current business year. “We have undertaken in-house efforts to improve our process quality, save energy and further automate the plant technology,” explains Ostrowicki. “In addition, we expect to complete our planned construction at the headquarters in Wiehl around the middle of the year.” With this extension, BGS is creating around 1000 sqm of new space for logistics and production and is investing in the research and development work of the company with a new laboratory. The focus of the R&D activities is on the development of new crosslinkable materials, the recyclability of radiation crosslinked plastics as well as the use of radiation crosslinked biopolymers in the most diverse technical applications.
Products in the electrical technology and electronics (E&E) industry have to meet high flame retardant standards and often demanding thermal requirements. Polymers available on the market so far do not meet these requirements. A joint research project between the German research institutes Fraunhofer IAP and Fraunhofer WKI, BGS and several industrial partners has achieved the first successes in the development of bio-based flame retardants in bioplastics. As a result, plastics out of 100 percent bio-based materials could be used in electronics and electrical technology in the future. The processing was tested within the scope of the research project by means of compounding, injection moulding and additive manufacturing.
During the three-year research project, several objectives were in the focus concerning the development of new bio-plastics and bio-composite materials for applications in electronics and electrical technology. Key priorities were to develop a halogen-free flame retardant (additive) that can be used in bio-plastics if possible in low quantities and with low costs, and to clarify to what extent radiation crosslinking is able to further improve the flame retardancy of the material. “In the course of our sub-project on the effects of electron radiation on the new materials, we defined three objectives,” explains Dr. Dirk Fischer, head of application development at BGS. “Through crosslinking of the new bio-based material, we wanted to increase the flame retardant effect on one hand and on the other hand, achieve a bonding of the flame retardant to the biopolymer. In addition, we wished to verify the crosslinkability of biopolymers already available on the market, in particular, in different formulations and using wooden particles. The results with regard to the crosslinkability and the changes in properties arising therefrom make us confident that new applications for bio-based plastics formulations will emerge from this in the areas of electronics and electrical technology,” Fischer goes on to say.
Newly tested: Electron radiation crosslinking bonds flame retardants to bio-plastic polylactides (PLA)
In order to achieve optimal flame retardancy, it is necessary to distribute the flame retardants homogeneously in the biopolymer matrix out of PLA. The bonding with the biopolymer matrix should be achieved through the specially developed reactive flame retardants. As a new procedure for the bonding of the flame retardants to the matrix, radiation with accelerated electrons (electron radiation) was used. This non-thermic process has been used for many years to improve the properties of bulk plastics and technical plastics and is a standard technique in numerous industries; radiation crosslinking, however, has received little attention so far in the area of bio-plastics. The properties of the polymers are modified here by triggering controllable crosslinking and bonding reactions via the radiation dose. In the tests, an additive proved to be effective where the crosslinking reaction of the PLA demonstrably outweighed the degradation of the polymer through irradiation. Other additives were also tested extensively. “The results improve the level of knowledge about the additives partly used for the first time as well as the processes in the plastics processing,” explains Fischer. “In particular, we were able to demonstrate through this the effects of the irradiation on the crosslinkability of these new bio-based formulations.”
Compounding with bio-PA: Testing flame retardants and radiation crosslinking
In addition, flame-protected formulations were developed in the course of the research project on the basis of bio-polyamides (PA) for injection moulding, and the crosslinkability was examined for the first time under the influence of electron radiation. “It showed that the bio-polyamides used here, namely PA6, PA10 and PA11 can be very effectively crosslinked with the help of a crosslinking additive and have no disadvantages whatsoever compared to conventional fossil-based plastics,” according to BGS project manager Fischer. The positive effect of adding wooden particles to the flame retardant performance could also be demonstrated. As in previous tests with PLA and PBS, the heat release rates were reduced through the addition of wood while shortening the ignition times simultaneously. The promising results are the subject of further research activities. “The crosslinking of the developed materials results in a new properties profile. In the case of nearly all the PA-based formulations, we were able to document an increase of tensile strength and the elastic modulus under tension, with reduction of the notched impact strength,” explains Fischer. “The project has also proven that the production of crosslinkable formulations and their processing shows many parallels to well-known conventional plastics. Bio-based plastics can therefore replace conventional plastics in many applications and their properties spectrum can be further optimised through radiation crosslinking. This not only opens new possibilities in the areas of electronics and electrical technology, but also creates new areas of application in the automotive industry – there is enormous potential here.”
Project title: Development of new applications for bio-plastics and bio-composite materials in electronics and logistics using halogen-free flame retardant systems
Funding bodies: Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)
Promoters: Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e. V. (FNR)
Clariant Plastics & Coatings (Deutschland) GmbH
Hesco Kunststoffverarbeitung GmbH
Kabel Premium Pulp & Paper GmbH
Hager Electro GmbH
Rettenmaier & Söhne GmbH
Georg Utz GmbH
Front row from left to right: Dr. Jens Balko (Fraunhofer IAP), Marc Mohring (J. Rettenmaier & Söhne GmbH), Dr. Antje Lieske (Fraunhofer IAP), Jochen Rausch (BGS), Katharina Krupp (BGS) Michaela Loos (BGS); Back row from left to right: Reinhard Lorenz (Georg Utz GmbH), Bernd Nass (Clariant Plastics & Coatings GmbH), Dr. Arne Schirp (Fraunhofer WKI), Andreas Neufing (Hager Electro GmbH), Dr. Dirk Fischer (BGS).
With Oliver Borsch, BGS has had a new head of operations and production at its headquarters in Wiehl (North Rhine-Westphalia) since the beginning of January. The trained engineer comes from the aerospace supplier Safran Cabin Germany where he was, amongst other things, head of supply chain management as well as most recently, director of operations. He will assume the management of production and logistics at the headquarters in Wiehl including personnel and technical responsibility.
“I am fascinated by the underlying business idea at BGS, the variety of application possibilities radiation crosslinking and radiation sterilization offer, and the resulting diversity of partners and customers,” comments Oliver Borsch on his new position at BGS. “In my function as operations manager, it excites me to be able to incorporate my knowledge and experience, for example, in production organisation and shop floor management. Moreover, I am looking forward to discovering and learning new things, such as the technologies used by BGS.”
In his new position, Borsch considers himself responsible for the employees of BGS apart from his task of production organisation: “I have had good experience with continuous improvements of processes and workflows and would like to build on this. It is not about the big plunge that changes everything, but about regular small steps, based on ideas of the team that we pick up on and implement. The exchange with colleagues is important to me in this context: Colleagues imbue the corporate processes with life and are absolutely at the forefront for me as new operating manager,” emphasises Borsch.
“With his many years of experience in supply chain and production management, Oliver Borsch brings along all the requirements to look after production and logistics at BGS optimally, while observing our very high quality standards,” says managing director Dr. Andreas Ostrowicki. “Mr. Borsch is starting his job in a very active phase of our company: Currently, Wiehl is expanding its logistics and production spaces. In addition, we are expanding our laboratory capacities for radiation crosslinking,” Ostrowicki goes on to say.
More capacity through expansion at location in Wiehl
With the expansion of the laboratory and the spaces for logistics and production in Wiehl, BGS is meeting the increased demands placed on material tests for radiation crosslinking as well as the rising demand for sterilization services in the sectors of biotechnology, medicine and diagnostics. The additionally planned spaces amount to approximately 1,000 sqm. In total, BGS is making investments for the expansion in the mid-seven digit range. The work is to be completed by the middle of the year.
Outstanding performance: 522 trainees out of a total of 10354 examination participants in around 150 different professions completed their training with a “very good” in the 2022 final examinations of the Cologne Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The Cologne Chamber of Industry and Commerce celebrated this special achievement at the end of October together with the top trainees, their training companies, vocational schools and other guests. Also present at the award ceremony was our trainee Marko Kürti, who completed his training as a machine and plant operator in the field of plastics and metal with excellent results. Due to the very good graduation of our apprentice, BGS is at the same time one of the training companies that were honored for outstanding achievements in vocational training.
A lot of praise for Marko Kürti and three other year’s best there was then again last Tuesday, 13.12.2022 from the IHK Oberberg and the Wiehl mayor Ulrich Stücker. In the context of the meeting of the city council he presented certificates and gifts and congratulated warmly on the successful examinations. Ulrich Stücker wished all successful examinees continued success and joy for their professional and personal life. For more information, visit (text in German) https://www.wiehl.de/aktuelles/nachrichten/8210-viel-lob-fuer-die-jahrgangsbesten.html.
Exclusive white papers, PDFs and videos for all presentation topics now available free of charge
Wiehl, 11 October 2022 – With the BGS Irradiation Service Days (ISDbyBGS), BGS Beta-Gamma-Service hosted a virtual trade fair on radiation sterilization at the end of September for the second time in a row. On 28 September 2022, experts from business, research and associations joined to analyse current trends and industry-specific themes in lectures, discussion forums and guided virtual tours that revolve around the use of beta and gamma rays in the sterilization of products for the medical technology and biotechnology industry. Exclusive white papers, PDFs and videos on all presentation topics may be called up free of charge until August 2023 after registering on our virtual trade fair platform at https://isd22.bgs.eu/.
The discussion panels at this year’s Irradiation Service Days were primarily dedicated to security of supply in the medical device market. Representatives from industry and associations discussed the current problems in the sector such as shortage of raw materials, supply bottlenecks and high bureaucratic hurdles in the transport of Cobalt-60 sources. The experts from BVMed, Ypsomed and BGS agreed that there was sufficient Cobalt-60 to operate the gamma irradiation facilities, but that due to tightened regulations for transportation companies, it could not be imported to Germany at the moment. This situation affected the entire industry in Germany and, at the same time, had an impact on the whole of Europe. Operators of gamma plants had been under pressure for months as a result of lacking reloads of their facilities.
In view of the Cobalt-60 deliveries, there was a consensus that bureaucracy severely disrupted the functioning of supply chains and made it increasingly difficult for providers of sterilization services and medical device manufacturers to remain operationally functional. “If politics does not take action soon, the lacking reloads will result in further capacity loss and continue to aggravate the already strained market supply of sterile medical devices in the coming months,” explained Thomas Oestereich, Distribution Manager at BGS.
The strained situation of sterilization capacities was also reflected in a survey carried out amongst participants of the virtual trade fair. Asked about the biggest challenge concerning the sterilization of their products, 33 percent stated the availability of sterilization capacities, closely followed by too little know-how about sterilization processes in their own companies (30 percent).
For about one year: Material for downloading free of charge
As of today, video recordings are available of all presentations in the virtual trade fair spaces. In addition, a number of exclusive white papers and complementary material can be downloaded free of charge. After registering at https://isd22.bgs.eu/, those interested can access all recordings and material until August 2023.
Wiehl, 19 July 2022 – BGS Beta-Gamma-Service extends an invitation to the BGS Irradiation Service Days (ISD) for the second time in a row: On 28 and 29 September, experts will be discussing trends and current themes revolving round the application of electrons and gamma rays for the sterilization of medical devices and products used in biotechnology, as well as for crosslinking plastics. Together with live conferences and discussions, the interactive and virtual fair offers six exhibition halls with guided tours and possibilities for a personal exchange with experts. Participation in the ISDbyBGS is free of charge. Registration is now possible via the event website at www.bgs.eu/isd22.
ISDbyBGS is a two-day virtual event over the course of which more than 20 experts from business, industry, research and associations will be discussing themes from the world of radiation sterilization and radiation crosslinking. The live presentations, interviews and discussion groups conducted in German and partly in English will be complemented by a virtual trade fair at which visitors will find further information and possibilities to download numerous materials in different spaces, and be able to arrange talks with experts. At the first ISDbyBGS 2021, more than 350 experts took part and informed themselves about processes and implementation options using radiation sterilization and radiation crosslinking.
With a focus on the transfer of knowledge, service and support in carrying out sterilization processes, ISDbyBGS will largely be addressing a professional audience from the field of medicine technology, in-vitro diagnostics and the biotechnology industry on 28 September. On 29 September, we invite experts, in particular from the automotive industry, machine construction and cable and pipe sector, to exchange ideas on the potential of radiation crosslinking, for example, for e-mobility, 3-D printing or for bio-based plastics, and to find out more about recycling of crosslinked polyamides.
Virtual guided tours and exclusive white papers as trade fair highlights Numerous videos, graphics and brochures are available during the virtual fair as well as for downloading by all participants free of charge. Another highlight are the live guided virtual tours at our BGS location in Bruchsal.
BGS ISD 2022: Register now free of charge!
Wednesday, 28 Sept. 2022
9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Trends and current themes on radiation sterilization
Lab extension starts up at headquarters in Wiehl, spaces for logistics and production will also be created
Wiehl, 8 June 2022 – BGS, specialised provider in the area of radiation sterilization and radiation crosslinking, is expanding its halls for logistics and production in Wiehl (NRW). In order to meet the increased material testing requirements for radiation crosslinking, the company is also investing in the extension of a new laboratory. With the announced extended storage capacities, BGS is responding in particular to the increased need for sterilization services in the sectors of biotechnology, medicine and diagnostics. Overall, BGS is investing a seven-digit amount in the expansion. The additionally planned spaces amount to 1,000 sq m.
“The demand for sterilization capacities is rising steadily. Continuously more orders for crosslinking are being placed at our headquarters in Wiehl. After the move to our new administration quarters in 2020, it is an ideal time to consolidate the freed up space, improve the internal flow of goods in the process, and use the new capacities optimally for the further growth of our company,” explains managing director Dr. Andreas Ostrowicki. “The material testing requirements are also increasing commensurate with the rising number of orders for crosslinking services. With our new spatial possibilities and cutting-edge test equipment, BGS is well prepared to meet the increased requirements.” Depending on the product and the respective area of application, BGS carries out the relevant test procedures such as measuring the degree of crosslinking as well as rheological measurements, amongst others, for customers from the automotive industry, machine construction and the cable and pipe industry. The completion of all construction measures is planned for the first quarter of 2023.
New laboratory supports R & D activities of the medium-sized company
The new equipment and possibilities in the laboratory also benefit the research and development department at BGS. “The focus of our R & D activities at present is the development of new, crosslinkable materials, alternative crosslinking aids and solutions for the sustainability of radiation-crosslinked parts and components,” declares managing director Ostrowicki. “As part of the German innovation network ZIM (Central Innovation Programme) MED-IG-4.0, we are additionally working to further accelerate the progress of the Internet of Things in the medical sector: For example, together with 22 other medium-sized enterprises, we analyse the need for intelligent products and systems from thermoplastic materials, develop new products and improve existing solutions.”
This year, for the first time, Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft e.V. (Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany) awarded BGS the seal “Innovative through Research” for its achievements in the area of research and development.
BGS is innovative through research: For our activities and investments in research and development, we have received the official seal “Innovative through Research” from the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft e.V. (Donors’ Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany).
In collaboration with universities, leading research institutes as well as in close cooperation with our customers, we work continually on the development of new irradiation applications and the improvement of existing products through applied and experimental research. The focus of our activities at present is the development of new, crosslinkable materials, alternative crosslinking aids and solutions for the sustainability of radiation-crosslinked parts and components. As part of the German innovation network ZIM (Central Innovation Programme) MED-IG-4.0, we are additionally working to further accelerate the progress of the Internet of Things in the medical sector. For example, we analyse together with 22 other medium-sized enterprises the need for intelligent products and systems from thermoplastic materials, we develop new products and improve existing solutions. We have been honoured now for the first time with the seal “Innovative through Research” for our achievements in the area of research and development.
By means of applied research and experimental development, we shall continue to work in the future on new materials, products and new applications in irradiation technology at our locations in Wiehl, Bruchsal and Saal a.d. Donau, amongst other things, for medical technology, biotechnology and the automotive industry. Annual investments are planned in the mid-six digit range.
Stifterverband is one of the largest private promoters in Germany in the field of education, science and innovation. Apart from its commitment to young academics, excellent universities and cutting-edge research, its task is also to analyse and evaluate the German research and innovation system. How much does the economy invest in research and development in Germany? What impact does this have on the future viability of this country? These questions are the focus of a survey, FuE-Erhebung, which the German Stifterverband (Science Statistics) carries out annually on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.