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Dr. Schwabe and the Leanmaster

Over the years, individual repair orders have evolved to form a fixed inspection and maintenance schedule at Dr. Willmar Schwabe for what is now a unique system from Fette Compacting. The tablet distribu­tion system Leanmaster offers great machine availability and thus ensures the company’s high quality standards.

Fette Compacting has been supporting the Karlsruhe-based family company Dr. Schwabe since the early 1970s. What began with a P2 tablet press has grown over the years into a machine park. The production of herbal medicines such as Tebonin®, Crataegutt® and Refluthin® is based on seven tablet presses of type 2090/2090i, a P1200 for galenic development, and various tableting tools. As a result, Dr. Schwabe now produces over three billion tablets per year.

With the aim of increasing productivity, the company introduced Fette Compacting’s Leanmaster to all production lines in the late 1990s. The automatic tablet distribution system with integrated in-process control enables round-the-clock production without the need for an employee to be on site. A special feature: Dr. Schwabe still uses the Leanmaster today because the system has proven itself over decades.

This presents Fette Compacting’s service technicians with a unique challenge: during every inspection and maintenance procedure, they have to manually check all mechanical parts of a tablet press and replace them if necessary. They also check all electrical and mechanical settings and finally recalibrate the production speeds and compression forces. Although the machine detects electrical and sensor errors itself, the technicians still have to scan the machine-generated diagnostic log at the end for errors in production.

Digital support for a veteran system

It is precisely this detailed work that is behind the service philosophy pursued by Fette Compacting: making customers’ highest quality requirements possible even under demanding conditions. Because: high machine availability is an absolute must for stable and reliable tablet production.

Sebastian Kopf, Group Manager Maintenance at Dr. Schwabe, supports the service technicians at Fette Compacting in this regard. “Three months ahead of a service date, we inspect the equipment and order spare parts. This way, we always have the requisite parts on site in time for the two appointments in spring and fall,” Sebastian Kopf explains. “We maintain long-term contact with Fette Compacting’s service technicians. Most of them have been coming to us for a very long time and know us and our machines. That’s a major advantage.”

This advantage saves the company both time and money: “We had a malfunction on a tablet press that occurred repeatedly, but only sporadically. With the expertise of Fette Compacting’s service technicians, we were able to isolate the fault and ultimately rectify it,” says Sebastian Kopf. “The LiveGuide app also helped us a lot in this process, as it made troubleshooting trans­parent. That way, everyone involved was always on the same page.” LiveGuide enables faults to be quickly identified and reliably rectified via live chat with the technical team at Fette Compacting.

Fast, reliable, trustworthy

What Sebastian Kopf appreciates most about this collaboration is the direct contact and the speed of the service technicians. “We can’t afford any longer downtimes in production. At the same time, the availability of spare parts on the world market is extremely limited. We benefit enormously from cooperation with Fette Compacting, which often delivers spare parts to us directly the next day. That is really impressive.”

To make this possible, service technicians such as Rolf von Appen are on the road a lot. “The traveling and the various challenges still excite me today just as much as they did 22 years ago when I started in Service,” Rolf von Appen tells us. “I particularly enjoy visiting long-standing customers like Dr. Schwabe because we are a good team and the people there know exactly which special repair tool I need and even how I drink my coffee.”

On this basis of trust, both sides want to continue their successful cooperation in the future: “In the long term, we will gear our pro­duction to a new type of machine to optimize setup times and increase our production capacity,” says Sebastian Kopf. When that time comes, he can rely entirely on the support of Rolf von Appen and his colleagues.


Sebastian Kopf, Gruppenleiter Instandhaltung bei Dr. Schwabe

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