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COVID-19 Vaccine Production: Rubber stoppers for vaccine vials manufactured by WICKERT pharmaceutical presses


• WICKERT pharmaceutical presses shipped worldwide to suppliers of the pharmaceutical industry
• Faster delivery time thru accelerated press manufacturing process and express delivery by Antonov airlift

There is no COVID-19 vaccination without those sterile rubber stoppers which seal each high-purity vaccine vial. Most of these stoppers are being manufactured on special presses designed by WICKERT Hydraulic Presses, a family-owned German engineering firm.

In spring 2020, suppliers of the international pharmaceutical industry awarded WICKERT with a big order of these stopper presses. The task: enable the manufacture of billions of vaccine vials within only a few months lead time. WICKERT's press WKP 10.000 S is capable of turning out 2.000 rubber stoppers per single press stroke.

In order to cut delivery time, WICKERT has been manufacturing the presses at an accelerated speed in recent months. To further save delivery time the first eight press units were airlifted to their world-wide customers using the world's largest airplane Antonov. Meanwhile, all eight units are manufacturing rubber stoppers at full capacity.

WICKERT Rubber stoppers  Antonov Photo 4To save delivery time, Wickert accelerated production and the first eight press units were airlifted to their world-wide customers using the world's largest airplane Antonov. Two 45-ton presses including supplies could be transported per flight (Photo: Wickert Maschinenbau GmbH).

At present, WICKERT assembles several more pharmaceutical presses under extreme time pressure in order to help satisfy the enormous immediate demand for rubber vaccine vial stoppers.

Delivery time reduced from ten to six months

wickert claims to be global market leader for clean-room and pharmaceutical presses, and is one of the largest employers in the Southern Palatinate region of Germany. These presses are also used to manufacture needle shields and syringe pistons for disposable syringes.

WICKERT Rubber stoppers Hans Joachim Wickert Photo 1"Our presses are essential for bottling the vaccine. This is why our employees are highly committed to helping getting the vaccine properly sealed and delivered to the public as fast as possible. Our specialist teams have been working extra weekend-shifts to speed up delivery of our desperately needed presses", says Hans Joachim Wickert, managing director and owner (Photo: Wickert Maschinenbau GmbH).

WICKERT helps their customers manufacture the life-saving vaccine and make it available to the public as quickly as possible by speeding up its internal production processes, reducing delivery time to six months, down from 10. Airlifting the 45-ton presses instead of standard boat shipping yielded another 25 days delivery time gain.

Reliable clean-room production of rubber stoppers – even at extreme sub-zero temperatures

WICKERT pharmaceutical presses work under clean-room conditions, subject to very strict cleanliness requirements. Hans J. Wickert: "Any particle as small as 3.0 micrometers (.003 millimeters) is considered a contamination." For comparison, human hair measuring .03 millimeters is 10 times bigger.

Rubber stoppers for vaccine vials require government approval. For they must have specific properties in order to reliably seal billions of vials. They are required to seal the vaccine at extremely high ambient temperatures as well as at extremely low temperatures. "Stoppers made by WICKERT presses meet all these requirements. Our presses are indispensable for the manufacture of vaccine vial stoppers", Hans J. Wickert points out.

WICKERT Rubber stoppers Press Photo 2WICKERT Maschinenbau GmbH claims global leadership in clean-room and pharmaceutical presses. They are one of the larger employers in the Southern Palatinate region, Germany (Photo: Wickert Maschinenbau GmbH).

WICKERT Rubber stoppers Photo 3Sterile sealing of vaccine vials with rubber stopper (Photo: iStock)

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