Economy & Politics

B Medical Systems throws a cold on the vaccine

The company, based in northern Luxembourg, has seen its order book swell visibly in recent weeks. It is true that states are snapping up their fridges capable of keeping anti-covid doses at very low temperatures before vaccination.



The company, based in northern Luxembourg, has seen its order book swell visibly in recent weeks. It is true that states are snapping up their fridges capable of keeping anti-covid doses at very low temperatures before vaccination.

Less activity in scientific laboratories, companies timid to invest in new equipment, declining blood donations and therefore falling storage needs: for B Medical Systems, the start of 2020 was “let’s say, worrying”. But what an end to the year for the company based in Hosingen. “We will say that our production was multiplied by 7 over the year. And that within a month, we should even produce ten times more parts than in 2019 ”, account Mario Treinen, director of operations.

Wirtschaft, Die Lage in der Luftfrachbranche. Boom nur ein Strohfeuer, LuxairCargo, Luxair, Cargo, Cargolux, Frachtflugzeug, Coronavirus, COVID 19, foto: Chris Karaba / Luxemburger Wort

To bring the doses of serum to the population, the Ministry of Health and logistics experts have been working together for weeks to find the best solutions. A major challenge, in particular because of the management of the cold chain.

He joined the company a few months ago. “I came from DuPont de Nemours in Contern (which manufactures the sanitary protection fabric essential for caregivers’ outfits) and I found myself having to manage another product that was to become equally crucial in the fight against covid: high performance refrigeration systems. ” Because after the commercial trough due to the generalized lockdown, here we are B Medical diving into the heart of the vaccine tornado.

Its refrigerators ensuring storage temperatures below -80 ° C have become THE although governments or institutions are snapping up. The fault (or merit) of the anti-covid vaccines in development. “As soon as Pfizer or Moderna announced their good success rates (and storage specifications well below -20 ° C), the demands for refrigeration systems and cold-link transport did not stop falling. … factories capable of releasing devices capable of maintaining products at these extremely low temperature levels are not numerous. Here, we don’t produce everyone’s fridge. ”

Among B Medical’s usual markets, blood transfusion centers still feature prominently.

Photo: Gerry Huberty

And while the company’s know-how is based on more than three decades of activity, the “cold rush” has opened up new markets for it. “Our refrigerated cabinets and our passive transport boxes were already widely distributed across the planet. Because B Medical System takes pride in designing effective solutions in a Western laboratory like deep in a Nicaraguan forest ”, praises Mario Treinen.

From model to model, the specific features of the devices are also impressive: in electric or solar version, capable of adapting to more or less efficient electrical networks, ensuring perfect thermal conservation from 5 to 43 ° C outside and this in any condition of humidity, condensation. “We even provide remote monitoring of 10,000 devices scattered all over the world. ” At the slightest failure, at the least degree lost, at the slightest forgetting to close the door, the customer receives an alert via SMS.

Today, customers would almost forget that the ‘refrigerators’ or ‘coolers’ that come out of the Luxembourg chains are little tech gems, as their operation is simple. And also there is such an urgency to equip oneself. “Our teams have been working 10 hours a day, in two shifts, for several weeks to ensure on-time deliveries,” says the director of operations.

The hundred or so workers usually in place recruited 60 reinforcement employees. And it will continue. “We need electricians, mechanical operators, refrigeration engineers, plastics specialists,” Mario Treinen list.

But faced with the wave of orders, we must also review the entire organization. Better manage the flow of trucks near the docks for deliveries and departures, ensure the capacities of suppliers, push the walls to store more materials, invest in new machines.

The state, the municipality: everyone ensures that growth takes place as well as possible (and as quickly as possible). “We will even find solutions with local businesses that may be in a difficult period to consider loans of labor, or rent them storage areas, or even entrust them with pre-assembly.” But in a rush, B Medical System especially does not want to lose its level of requirement. Each device is not only carefully assembled, but individually checked. The reputation of the brand and its products are at stake.

Luxembourg among clients

“There will also be an after-covid, and we will still be there with refrigerated cabinets, logistics solutions adapted for samples from bio-banks, blood, plasma and other vaccines that will have to be transferred from factories. production up to the arm of any human in the world, comments the operational director. So you might as well be efficient now to acquire new customers ”.

But already many States and their Ministry of Health, Unicef ​​or Gavi have the number of B Medical in their directory. Including the government of Xavier Bettel and the Directorate of Health who ordered “a handful” of these refrigerators to equip the upcoming vaccination centers in Luxembourg.


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