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Innovation out of Tradition: The medical and adhesive market oriented Lohmann Group based in Neuwied celebrated its 150th anniversary on 7th July Progressing from cotton wool balls to a global Group of companies with 4,500 employees
Neuwied/Germany (ots) - The founder, Julius Lüscher, could not possibly have imagined on 7th July 1851 as he registered the business "dealing in material goods" in Frankfurt that he was laying the foundation stone for such a large business enterprise. 150 years later, the Lohmann Group, which developed out of the earlier "Lüscher & Bömper Cotton Wool Factory", is one of the lesser known companies of its size in Germany with 4,500 employees active worldwide and with a turnover of 1.2 billion DM (before consolidation). The company headquarters have been located in Neuwied for over 100 years. Lohmann is present in thousands of everyday products although the name Lohmann very often does not appear in such products. "We are mainly known in medical circles as well as being in addition, a supplier to the manufacturing industry" reflected the Managing Partner, Dr. Martin Barth.
The past 50 years, after the reconstruction of the main production site in Neuwied which was 80% destroyed in 1945 shortly before the end of war, have all been focused on innovation and internationalisation. Dr. G. A. Barth, who was a Managing Partner at that time, recognised early on that surgical dressings would be facing a stagnant and hence very difficult market in peacetime. Lohmann diversified and through its expertise with fibres, fabrics and coating or laminating materials with adhesives, consequently developed four independent key business areas.
Today products from the Medical Division Lohmann & Rauscher can be found in hospitals and doctors surgeries all over the globe. Transdermal plaster products from LTS-Lohmann help heart and chronically ill patients Adhesive films from Lohmann are to be found in Nokia mobile phones, computer keyboards, and in addition, are used in such diverse industries as the furniture trade and car manufacture. Nonwovens from Lohmann have for some time not only been used for dressing wounds but also as cleaning wipes, as performance aids in diapers, and as a vital component in conveyor belt systems. "Lohmann has striven to provide solutions for practical life improving products" stressed Dr. Martin Barth who, with his brother Dr. Peter Barth, is the fourth generation of the Family to run the company. Lohmann has 76 Limited Partners, the largest of which, with a holding of about 10%, is Lohmann Partner AG, made up out of 700 previous and current employees.
The Group now has various production sites in Germany, Europe, USA and Asia.
After Mr. August Lohmann joined the company then known as Lüscher & Bömper in 1869, production of cotton wool and surgical dressings had commenced by 1880 and was considerably expanded after the company's relocation to Fahr am Rhein, now incorporated into the town of Neuwied. Primarily medical products were developed and patented, numerous Lohmann inventions have been exported or licensed worldwide over the last 150 years. The milestones of Lohmann 's innovations are as follows :
The chemist Georg Teske, from Neuwied, developed the first elastic plaster bandage known as "Elastoplast" in 1924. This product, through licensing, is still very much a household name in Europe. A medical breakthrough was achieved in 1930 with the development of the fixated Plaster-of-Paris bandage "Cellona". During the war the first air permeable adhesive plaster "Poroplast" was patented. In the early 1950's Lohmann developed binder-free 100% cellulosic nonwoven fabrics, leading in 1957 to "Metalline", an aluminium vaporized coated nonwoven dressing that was introduced in the market and was effectively the first textile dressing which did not stick to open wounds. In the mid-1960's Lohmann pioneered the thermo-bonding of nonwovens, a technology that was to become the first off-the-shelf nonwovens process making the large scale production of hygiene products possible. In the 1980's Lohmann started the era of transdermal plasters or patches. A transdermal nitroglycerine patch was developed in conjunction with the pharmaceutical industry with featured slow release capabilities through the skin of heart patients to better control 'angina pectoris'. LTS-Lohmann anti-smoking transdermal patches were developed a few years later to deal with millions of people with smoking problems. LTS is today fully independent and with it's manufacturing sites in Andernach, Germany and W. Caldwell, NJ, USA, is one of the major global manufacturers of transdermal systems.
In recent years the mother company Lohmann GmbH & Co.KG has entered into new alliances in order to strengthen all the divisions in the group. In 1998 the Medical Division was brought together with the Austrian company Rauscher, and shares of LTS-Lohmann sold on to pharmaceutical industry and investments companies. The nonwovens site in Dierdorf went over to the TWE Group in July 2001 in order to open up future distribution channels directly to customers.
The 150th anniversary is not only an opportunity to look at the history and family tradition but above all to look at the future. "Our adhesive business has developed very well. Times are hard on the medical side" stressed Martin Barth. "Due to health reforms, manufacturers are expected to deliver ever cheaper products however old existing standards and habits hinder the introduction of truly new products. Dressings are still made today as they were during the war". However, Dr Barth further noted that "this "traditional approach" provides challenges for the Lohmann Group which, based on its past history of innovation, it will address appropriately".
Further reference : http//www.lohmann.epaper.rhein-zeitung.de (in German)
ots Originaltext: Lohmann GmbH & Co KG
Dr. Martin Barth
Lohmann Managing Partner
Phone +49 2634 996 213
Phone +49 2631 779377