History of West in Serbia
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.
West in Serbia
Production at Kovin, originally a joint venture between West and Galenika Holding, began in October 1981. The plant is located about 50 kilometers east of the capital city, Beograd, and just a few miles north of the Danube River. The Kovin facility manufactures injection and infusion stoppers, plungers and medical device components for customers in Eastern and Central Europe. From 1981 to the middle of 1992, Kovin was a small but successful facility.
In 1992, an unstable political situation and an economic embargo ended the successful period. The plant operated for only short periods under very difficult conditions. Somehow, through the turmoil, employees preserved the plant with little damage; they even managed to install a new 300-square-meter finishing area with Class 100 and 10,000 clean rooms, and a Water for Injection washing system.
With increasing demands on West’s manufacturing capacity in Europe, the Kovin plant now finds itself in the right place at the right time to capitalize on growth opportunities.
In 2004, a long-term, phased expansion program commenced that will increase the plant’s capacity so it is capable of meeting the growing market demands in Russia and Eastern Europe.
In addition to providing market-leading products, West’s commitment to European customers is clearly demonstrated by the resources applied to provide technical support to our customers. The Technical Support group, based in Germany, is mostly staffed with experienced chemists and engineers whose knowledge help customers to make component selections and who support customers’ technical needs throughout their products’ life cycle.
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.
West strengthened its position as a leader in the global markets for pharmaceutical and health care delivery systems with two acquisitions in 2005. In May, West acquired The Tech Group, a U.S.-based plastic injection moulding company with a facility in Dublin, Ireland.
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.