25. Jul 2014  |  40 years of the St. Wendel production plant

Fresenius Medical Care, the world’s leading supplier of dialysis products and services, today celebrates the 40th anniversary of its St. Wendel plant in Saarland. This is Fresenius Medical Care‘s main plant for the manufacture of dialyzers and is one of the company’s most important production and development sites. As part of the celebrations, Plant Manager Ulrich Kramp welcomed former and current members of staff as well as high ranking company representatives and numerous guests from the worlds of business and politics, including Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Minister President of Saarland, and Klaus Bouillon, Mayor of St. Wendel. The guests were given a tour of the works and told about the history of the plant and the current plans for expansion.

Ulrich Kramp, Plant Manager of the St. Wendel production plant

“The ongoing improvement of our products and production processes was and remains a critical factor in the success of the plant in St. Wendel and of Fresenius Medical Care overall”, explained Rice Powell, CEO of Fresenius Medical Care. “Top quality has always been our main priority. After all, every single dialysis filter is crucial for the health of a patient. That will continue to be our driving force in the next 40 years.”

The success story of the production plant dates back to the year 1974, when around 100 employees started producing infusion solutions in a former stocking factory. Then in the early 1980s a research team made a breakthrough in the field of kidney replacement therapy: they developed a dialysis filter (or dialyzer) made of the artificial material polysulfone. This heralded a new era in the treatment of patients with chronic kidney failure. Polysulfone dialyzers clean patients’ blood extremely effectively with high biocompatibility and still set the quality standard within the industry today. Since then, Fresenius Medical Care has made constant improvements to its dialyzers and expanded the production capacity in St. Wendel several times over. In the years 2013 and 2014 alone the company invested more than 100 million Euros in the site.

Today the plant is the world’s largest dialyzer production site and exports its products around the world. Together with the other sites operated by Fresenius Medical Care, the plant in St. Wendel has now produced over a billion dialyzers. The number of employees has also risen continuously: today the plant employs around 1,800 people.

As well as dialyzers, Fresenius Medical Care produces solutions for peritoneal dialysis in St. Wendel. The plant is also a development site for new products and production processes, which are then also employed in other company sites.

Else and Hans Kröner (right) during a visit to the plant in St. Wendel in 1974.

Infusion bottles being visually inspected for particles in the fluid and for damages (1974). The water in the area of red sandstone around St. Wendel is particularly suitable for the preparation of infusion solutions, with a low degree of hardness that makes distillation easier.

Fresenius first began producing its own dialyzers in 1977, in St. Wendel. Today, Fresenius Medical Care produces modern polysulfone dialyzers there, along with systems for peritoneal dialysis.