Dottikon, Büchi and Systag: Faster Scale-up to Production
Working Together Gives Companies and Customers a Leg Up Over the Comp
Better Together - Systag, Büchi Glas, and Dottikon, all of Swiss origin and each consistently pursuing a one-site strategy, unify 220 years of corporate scale-up experience from process development, automation, pilot plant and reactor systems and large-scale chemical manufacturing. The strategy for future success lies in rediscovering the value generation by invention of new products and rocket-launch them to market, as the party of value growth from global economy of scales and specialization is over. Coined by this environment, the three CEOs share one vision: faster scale-up to production.
Editor in Chief Brandi Schuster of CHEManager International asked the three CEOs Dr. Markus Blocher of Dottikon Exclusive Synthesis, Mike Mandlehr of Systag System Technik and Hermann Büchi of Büchi Glas Uster about their collaboration.
CHEManager International: How does the one-site strategy work for each of your companies?
M. Blocher: The one-site strategy allows reduced decision and communication pathways, ensures rapid and efficient project development, timely decision making as well as clear and transparent communication with customers. Over all, this results in short realization and implementation times and, in combination with a distinct technology portfolio, superior cost-effectiveness and high reliability.
H. Büchi: Being able to satisfy the demand of our customers with high-quality high-pressure reactor and plant systems is a game changer for our customers and is essential for the success of their end products.
M. Mandlehr: In the today's ever-faster moving environment, time is indeed money. Effective process development to cost-efficient chemical processes has to be achieved by simultaneous conduction of several activities to shorten lead times. For instance, modularly customized controlled lab reactors enable project-specific multi-parameter variation parallel testing. To set up and test such high-end equipment, an interdisciplinary and highly skilled team at one site is a prerequisite.
M. Blocher: We see time and again that our geographically diversified competitors are outpaced in the realization of complex chemical development and manufacturing projects.
How do the three companies work together?
M. Blocher: At the technological forefront of effective chemical manufacturing, there is no room for compromise in equipment quality and set-up, automation systems or process safety. The attitude of performance and technology leadership made Dottikon approach Systag and Büchi Glas.
M. Mandlehr: For example, in safe and reliable scale-up to production, thermal process safety data by reaction calorimetry are essential. We have experienced this with many pharma customers or in our close collaboration with the strategic development and manufacturing partner Dottikon, which has been using our equipment routinely with great success over many years. The open information exchange about needs and experience continuously supports us in enhancing the equipment.
H. Büchi: Automation and plant system engineering are of great importance in chemical process control for safe high-quality production. That's why Systag was chosen as our preferred partner when it comes to automation of our high-quality lab reactors and high-pressure pilot plant systems.
M. Mandlehr: The common mindset of performance leadership and cutting-edge technology aspiration - each of us are leaders in separate but interlinked value segments - unifies us and makes us natural collaboration partners.
Can you give some examples of successful joint projects?
H. Büchi: In the past, we realized several state-of-the-art high-pressure reactor systems and pilot plants together.
M. Mandlehr: The latest product of this three-company collaboration is the co-developed parallel pressure reactor system that was launched at the Informex 2014 in Miami.
M. Blocher: This is a good example how the combined spirit of entrepreneurship and passion for technology results in product innovation.
What challenges have you encountered in working closely together and how were they overcome?
M. Blocher: Ménages à trois are known to be challenging. But we have learned that the collaboration works best when one of us acts as business sponsor, the second party fulfills the lead supplier role, managing the third party as technology partner.
H. Büchi: These roles may be exchanged project by project. This assures checks and balances and clarifies competence and responsibility.
When working together on a project, what do you do as a collective to remain both versatile and innovative?
M. Mandlehr: Whenever starting a joint project, we always evaluate outside collaboration alternatives at arm's length to challenge and stimulate each other's technology leadership position and innovation drive. Nevertheless, the collaboration of our three companies repeatedly proves to be the most promising and effective constellation.
What are the advantages to be had in being a member of such a joint initiative?
H. Büchi: The main advantage is the holistic approach that is taken. Let's look at the parallel pressure reactor, for instance. Büchi brings in the high-pressure equipment manufacturing experience, Systag engineering and automation and Dottikon process development, scale-up and manufacturing experience.
M. Blocher: Having the same mindset and speaking the same language allows us to interdisciplinary exploit this wide experience platform and implement the essence of it in the final solution.
M. Mandlehr: In short, such a joint initiative brings the solution closer to market and practice.
What are the advantages for your customers?
M. Blocher: This unique collaboration of the three companies, each of us a leader in our area of expertise is game-changing the scale-up to production in bringing innovative products faster to market for our customers.