SPIE installs electrotechnical infrastructure at Merck’s new packaging centre

Published on 26 June 2019
  • On behalf of the Merck Group, SPIE has undertaken the electrotechnical installations for the new "Pharma Packaging Center PH85" in Darmstadt (Germany).
  • The operation focuses on the installation and documentation, in accordance with technical requirements, of medical product manufacturing plants.
  • This modern packaging centre will be able to produce 210 million packages of medicines per year.


Darmstadt, June 26, 2019 - SPIE Deutschland & Zentraleuropa, a subsidiary of SPIE, the independent European leader in multi-technical services in the fields of energy and communications, has been awarded a contract for the electrotechnical installation of the new Pharma Packaging Center PH85 as part of a contract with the Merck group, located in Darmstadt.

Extensive services in the field of electrical engineering

SPIE Deutschland & Zentraleuropa has laid 350 kilometres of high and low voltage cables and implemented 600 KNX bus subscribers with data interfaces in the new Merck Pharmaceutical Group's Pharma Packaging Center PH85. The work took place over a 16-month period and a total area of 20,000 square metres.

The contract also included the installation of lighting systems including emergency lighting, a fire brigade information system and several data networks. SPIE's German subsidiary therefore set 2,000 lighting fixtures as well as 480 loudspeakers up throughout the new infrastructure.à

Professional implementation in accordance with strict regulations

The most important aspect of this project was to work in compliance with official regulations: "Medical device manufacturing facilities are subject to strict installation and documentation requirements. We are delighted that Merck placed its trust in us to carry outthis sensitive project,” says René Rößler, project manager at SPIE. After completion, all installations will be subject to inspection by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA). In the new centre, medicinal products with and without hormones are packed in separate cleanrooms. To keep these spaces free from any contaminant, the number of particles must not exceed a very low value specified by the FDA. In addition, the temperature, humidity and pressure must remain constant. This prevents contamination from harmful substances. "It is also important that no contaminants can form or settle on the electrical installations. For this reason, we have installed special antibacterial sockets and all electrical installations are hermetically sealed” explains Rößler.

High motivation and excellent cooperation

An additional challenge for the multi-technical service provider was additional work that only emerged during the installation process. For example, due to a special technique, SPIE laid almost twice as much cable as originally planned for the instrumentation and control engineering. "With 16 months, the schedule was already tight. The fact that we were still able to complete our work within the standard timeframe with the additional effort was mainly thanks to the high individual commitment of our employees,” explains Rößler.

Another success factor was the excellent coordination with main contractors, general planners and subcontractors - with quick decision-making, fixed deadlines and flexibility for changes at short notice. “The technical know-how and uncomplicated working relationship with SPIE contributed to the successful completion of the project,” says Dieter Klinck, Senior Engineer, Advanced Logistics & Operational Technologies at Merck.

A packaging centre for state-of-the-art pharmaceutical products

Merck’s Pharma Packaging Centre PH85 stores finished drugs - mainly tablets - in a high-bay warehouse and packages them on eight production lines. 210 million pharmaceutical packaged items are now expected to roll off the production line every year. The building is equipped with the latest technology. In addition to logistics, there are cleanrooms, offices, technical facilities and social areas.