History of West in Ireland
Honoring Our Past, Shaping Our Future
West’s European story is one of innovation, development and growth, which has helped to build today’s vital, dynamic organization.
West traces its roots in Europe to 1960 when Hans Wimmer formed Pharma-Gummi Hans Wimmer in Vicht, Germany, with a vision to serve Europe’s pharmaceutical manufacturers with safe and reliable elastomer components. The geographic scope expanded from Germany to Spain (1965); England (1968); France (1974); Stolberg, Germany (1982); Singapore (1983); and Denmark (1994). The company joined forces with The West Company in 1968 and adopted the West name in 1999. Today, the company is proud to hold a leadership position earned by providing products and services that enhance and improve the delivery of health care in North America, South America, Europe, Japan, Asia and Australia.
Tech Group Europe in Ireland
In 2005, West strengthened its position as a leader in the global markets for pharmaceutical and health care delivery systems by acquiring Tech Group, a private U.S.-based plastic injection and assembly contract manufacturer that was established in 1967. The Arizona-based business expanded its operations into Latin America, Asia and Europe in the 1990s. The Dublin facility was built in 1998.
Its primary focus was on contract manufacturing for the health care and consumer markets. Tech Group had an impressive reputation in scaling up a range of complex drug delivery and diagnostic devices for the pharmaceutical and medtech market sectors on both sides of the Atlantic.
The complexity of devices that have been delivered range from single components to 60 component assemblies, the latter being the scale up of the Exubera device for Nektar Therapeutics for inhaled insulin. This in particular required a wide range of assembly solutions which were scaled up very effectively.
TGE represented the first European venture for Tech Group. Following a period of market investigation, the Board of Directors of the Tech Group Inc., signed off in January 1997 on an investment proposal to build a 40,000 sq. ft. building on the outskirts of Dublin. The major attractions of Ireland for the Tech Group Inc., were the high number of US customers who had operations in Ireland or the UK, the progressive business climate and the availability of skilled English speaking personnel.
TGE commenced manufacturing in 1998 with a start-up team of 17 employees. In 2004 a major expansion of the Dublin facility was completed which added an additional 40,000 sq. ft of manufacturing capacity and was recognised as one of the most significant developments in Ireland’s plastics processing sector in recent times.
Following the acquisition of Tech Group in 2005, Tech Group became a wholly owned subsidiary of West. The company is now focused on providing innovative development and manufacturing solutions for both the pharmaceutical and medtech markets as a service provider for its external customer base as well as for internal West owned IP products. March 2015 marked a new chapter for TGE with the opening of an extension to the existing facility. The increased footprint (from 80,000 sq. ft. to 92,000 sq. ft.) facilitated the commencement of two major contract manufacturing programs which include four automation lines (three of which are high volume assembly).
Shaping the Future
In the first years of the 21st century, West invested significantly in all European facilities to upgrade cGMP, capacity and technology. These investments have added manufacturing and processing capacity, and new equipment and technologies that improve quality and meet customer demand for increased levels of precision.
The additional investments in plants in Le Nouvion, France, and Eschweiler, Germany, enabled the introduction of new manufacturing technologies. Installations included new pharmaceutical washers, clean rooms and systems for producing Water for Injection, which added capacity to the three existing washing lines. The new finishing lines are especially important because they will enable West to satisfy customer demand for clean products.
In 2004, West completed a 4,000-square-meter expansion of the plant in Stolberg, Germany. The added space accommodates manufacturing capacity to satisfy current and anticipated sales growth in pharmaceutical seals and TrimTec closures. The addition also includes a new raw materials warehouse and a tooling maintenance shop. The Stolberg plant is a potential site for manufacturing West Spectra ID products and Flip-Off CCS seals. West Spectra ID seals display vital information such as a vial’s contents, brand name, point-of-use instructions, and dosage or strength of the medicine. West Spectra ID can help identify products as genuine and establish and protect brand identity.
In August 2005, West acquired Medimop Medical Projects, Ltd., a company based in Israel that designs and manufactures systems and devices for mixing, transferring, reconstituting and administering injectable drugs.
In 2009, West purchased the drug delivery device business assets of Plastef Investissements SA, and obtained the right to manufacture the Eris safety syringe, a passive safety system for use with fixed or staked needle prefillable syringes. The Eris system complements West's NovaGuard passive safety needle, which was recently introduced to the market for use with luer-lock syringes.
Also in 2009, West dedicated its first manufacturing plant in China, located in the Shanghai Qingpu Industrial Zone (SQIZ). The plant, which manufacturers TrimTec® and InsoCap® closures for intravenous bottles, was established in direct response to client demand and helps solidify West’s status as a global, cutting-edge company committed to supporting the growth of the Company’s pharmaceutical customers in China.