Emerson expands clean-room manufacturing facility for ASCO miniature valves
Major expansion addresses growing need for smaller, precise, reliable valves, for use in Analytical and Medical machinery.
Emerson has greatly expanded the clean room facility at its ASCO valve manufacturing plant in Ölbronn-Dürrn, Germany. Clean room manufacturing, is essential for miniature valves, which are often used in analytical and medical machinery. Emerson manufactures per ISO Class 8 equivalent cleanliness in every world region. An increasing demand for greater miniaturisation has driven growth in the volume of valves that are required to be manufactured under clean room conditions. The Ölbronn-Dürrn, Germany site also saw an expansion to the R&D and engineering capabilities.
The new 720 m2 clean room was part of a major expansion at the Analytical & Medical Centre of Excellence, located close to Stuttgart. The site has been producing miniature valves for almost 20 years. The valves are used in super critical medical applications, such as patient respirators, incubators, and dialysis machines, as well as in laboratory applications such as DNA research.
The valves being produced at the site are often only a few centimetres or less in size, which means that the orifice, or area through which the media flows, is in some cases only a fraction of a millimetre in diameter. At this scale, particles that may normally be present in the atmosphere can lead to functional impairment or loss of performance. Increasing miniaturisation of the machines in which the ASCO valves are used has led to a greater demand for smaller and smaller valves. The expansion has led to a significant increase in the number of employees working in the clean room area.
As you would expect from a company involved at the forefront of Industry 4.0, the clean room utilizes paperless manufacturing, with production control managed through an infra-red communication module on the production hall ceiling; The orders are continuously updated as they are processed. The scanning of the electronic tags enables personnel to obtain precise information about the specific assembly steps required, and loads the software for the semi-automated final testing of the valves. This prevents any errors.
"We are extremely proud of our new facility." Stated Peter Appel, Emerson's Ölbronn-Dürrn Site Director. "The markets that we serve from this site are at the cutting edge of technology. In order to serve them best we need to be at the cutting edge of technology also, not just in the products that we make, but in our manufacturing processes too. This new facility clearly demonstrates the value that we can offer our customers."