Fresenius Medical Care, the world’s largest provider of dialysis products and services, has taken another step in the expansion of its production and development site in Schweinfurt, Germany. At an official ceremony today attended by Schweinfurt Mayor Sebastian Remelé, the company broke ground on a new technology center for developing dialysis machines.

As many as 250 employees from different departments will be able to work under the same roof in the 8,000-square-meter (86,000-square-foot) building. Using an open concept and designed to minimize distances that need to be covered, it will facilitate cooperation and exchanges between different teams. Fresenius Medical Care is investing a double-digit million euro sum in the construction, which is scheduled for completion late next year.

“With the new technology center, we are aiming to mesh production and development much closer together,” said Kent Wanzek, Fresenius Medical Care’s Chief Executive Officer for Global Manufacturing and Quality. “This will enable us to do an even better job developing high-quality yet affordable dialysis products for a steadily increasing number of patients.”

Dr. Olaf Schermeier, Fresenius Medical Care’s Chief Executive Officer for Global Research and Development, said: “The innovative therapy systems that will originate in our new technology center will improve the lives of our patients worldwide.”

Mayor Remelé said: “Fresenius Medical Care has been a major employer in this region and a pillar of Schweinfurt’s economy for many years. We see the building of the new technology center as a real commitment to this city, and we’re very happy about it.”

The plant in Schweinfurt, which was established in 1979, is Fresenius Medical Care’s largest development and production facility for dialysis machines and other medical devices. The company now employs more than 1,200 people in the city, about 120 kilometers (75 miles) east of Frankfurt in northern Bavaria. About one third of them work in research and development.

Dialysis machines, bloodline systems and dialyzers – the latter often dubbed “artificial kidneys” because this is where the blood is actually cleaned – are the most important products for treating chronic kidney disease. During treatment, the dialysis machine pumps the patient’s blood through bloodlines, monitors its circulation through the dialyzer, and adds anti-coagulants. Treatments are generally carried out three times weekly, and take between three and six hours each.