In 2022, the Optima Group celebrated its 100th anniversary in Schwaebisch Hall, Germany – looking back on a century of innovation, expansion, partnership, and responsibility. For Optima, 2022 was all about the company’s 100th anniversary year with the tagline ‘100 Years of Future’. The 100th year was marked by a number of activities and events that were held throughout the year. As part of this, a new pharma division facility was inaugurated in Schwaebisch Hall’s Solpark industrial park. The production facility featuring cutting-edge technology represents another milestone for Optima and provides the ideal conditions for assembling, commissioning, qualifying, and approving pharmaceutical filling systems.
Optima supports companies worldwide with flexible and customer-specific filling and packaging machines for pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, paper hygiene and medical devices markets.
Schwaebisch Hall headquarters
“This investment is once again reaffirming our commitment to the Schwaebisch Hall site and, even in uncertain times, we are creating the conditions for continued growth and new jobs with confidence,” says Hans Buehler, managing director/CEO of the Optima Group. The Baden-Wuerttemberg minister-president, Winfried Kretschmann, made a special trip to the company’s 100th-anniversary celebrations to see for himself the facilities that are so crucial in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Companies like Optima are beacons. They embrace every challenge, are constantly reinventing themselves, and continue to put their heart and soul into their work – and have done so for 100 years. When it comes to the process of transformation that is so profoundly shaping our economy, digitization, and sustainability, they have taken up the reins, and in doing so have given Baden-Wuerttemberg a boost as a location for innovative companies,” the minister said.
The Consumer Business Unit also received a lot of big orders in 2022, which requires a lot of space for the complex systems needed. To do this, additional space has been leased, including the former solar factory in Schwaebisch Hall’s Solpark industrial park. To handle a historically large order in the food sector with several filling and packaging assembly lines, Optima specially refurbished the building extensively and created optimal working conditions.
Service coverage in North America
In addition, Optima is continuing to expand its service coverage around the world. One example of this is Optima Pharma’s new service hub, which opened mid-year in Raleigh, North Carolina. The company is offering comprehensive on-site services, equipment, and spare parts sales as well as comprehensive training programs. With these measures, Optima offers customers even better and faster support, both remotely and directly on-site.
As part of the company’s 100th anniversary, the sustainability strategy entitled “We care for tomorrow” was published in mid-2022. It centers on three pillars – developing genuine packaging for a fully functioning circular economy together with customers, using sustainable machinery and systems to manufacture efficiently and preserve resources, and becoming excellent in the areas of environment, social affairs, and corporate governance. Optima has also entered into a strategic partnership with the company Weyhmueller – for more sustainable packaging development and production. This means that Optima can offer its customers complete solutions in order to package products more sustainably.
In late 2022, the EcoVadis rating agency awarded Optima the silver medal for this overall commitment. This places the Optima Group in the top 25 percent of the companies rated by EcoVadis. The areas assessed were the environment, labor, human rights, ethics, and sustainable commitment. Optima’s sustainability strategy is assessed annually by EcoVadis to identify new potential initiatives and promote existing activities.
The Optima kit deal was created to mark the milestone anniversary. Optima raffled off 100 complete sets of kits to youth teams from all sporting disciplines from the Schwaebisch Hall and Hohenlohe areas. At a Schwaebisch Hall Unicorns soccer match, the kits were ceremoniously handed over. The event brought in almost 700 players from regional youth teams and their coaches to Schwaebisch Hall. Optima is offering young people future-proof, multi-faceted apprenticeships and student placements. On average, Optima employs over 150 trainees and students every year.
Optima 2022 has also invested boldly in research and development and launched innovative solutions. This year, research has continued into the automated production of fuel cells. This also makes Optima a provider of complete solutions for manufacturing fuel cells. As a consequence of climate change, hydrogen-powered fuel cells are being hailed as the climate-neutral drive technology of the future. The German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg is funding the construction of a new test facility in Schwaebisch Hall with money from the Future Hydrogen Program BW. Baden-Wuerttemberg is looking to become a pioneer in hydrogen and fuel cell technologies.
Change as an opportunity
In many respects, people are currently talking more than ever about a turning point in history that is presenting a challenge to the entire economy and all of society. “Today it’s all about continuing to work together to shape the future – whether in terms of new markets and issues like digitization and sustainability or our highly valued, trust-based cooperation with our customers and across the entire Optima Group. With all the opportunities and risks globalization brings, it continues to be in a state of constant flux. Many things that were taken for granted until now are beginning to falter, and we are becoming aware that everything happening in this world has diverse ramifications for each and every one of us. We will continue together to do everything in our power to shape Optima’s future in a safe, flexible, and innovative way,” says Hans Buehler.