SternMaid expands its Wittenburg site

by World Grain Staff
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WITTENBURG, GERMANY — SternMaid GmbH & Co. KG announced on Oct. 15 that it officially opened the extension to its Wittenburg plant in September.
After completion of this eighth phase of construction, in which the company has invested €14 million, SternMaid employs a staff of 180, making it one of the biggest employers in the region. With the recent extension, SternMaid is entering a new business field and will in future be able to produce for the pharmaceutical industry as well as offering new products for the food sector.
The Wittenburg company specializes in customized solutions for blending, processing and filling powdered foods, food supplements and active pharmaceutical ingredients and excipients. The plant was established in 1998, originally as a production facility for the companies of the Stern-Wywiol Gruppe based in Hamburg. But in the meantime the Wittenburg factory no longer produces solely for the various units within the group, which specializes in functional ingredients for food and animal feed worldwide.
From the start, SternMaid systematically enlarged its processing capacity and invested in advanced production technology in response to its customers’ needs. The latest acquisition opens up totally new processing opportunities: with this investment, SternMaid is entering the realm of fluid bed technology, which permits a specific influence on the physical properties of solid products and their applications. Powders are dried, granulated, agglomerated or coated, depending on the intended application, and thus acquire a tailor-made profile.
“Fluid-bed technology is one of the most important formulation methods in the pharmaceutical and food industries. With this versatile technology we will be able to enter new markets with a promising future,” said SternMaid’s managing director Stefan Schliesser. 
Two fluid-bed processors with different capacities form the basis of this new field of applications. A laboratory-scale pilot plant is available for test runs for developing and optimizing new functional ingredients. Commercial-scale production is then carried out in a multi-purpose industrial unit.
The focus of the plant is on applications in the pharmaceutical and health-care industries. In the case of the pharmaceutical industry, SternMaid has recently added to its specific range of services. For example, the counter-current container blending line that came into service in 2009 primarily for blending vitamin compounds has been qualified retrospectively and is now officially certified according to Part II of the E.U. GMP Guide.
With the latest extension to the factory, SternMaid will be equipped for new orders from its customers. Blending capacities have been increased to 40,000 tonnes per year, and the enlarged high-bay warehouse accommodates 20,000 pallets. To facilitate procedures, a new incoming goods area and a larger area for small packs have been created.