Europe’s biggest gas sterilization facility offers the perfect conditions for medtech companies
Halberstadt is the only mid-sized town in Saxony-Anhalt. Yet its growth is above average. Some 200 companies – many of them in the medtech industry – have taken up residence in the town’s six business parks. Thanks to close cooperation between businesses and the local authorities, efficient decision making is a major factor in the town’s growth trajectory. But that’s just one of several assets in Halberstadt’s favor.
Until 2011, Halberstadt was just another shrinking community. Then everything fell into place and the town has been expanding ever since. So much so that in 2019 it caught the attention of Germany’s Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR), which ranked it in the highest growth category. Very few of these smaller municipalities – with 20,000 to 100,000 residents – achieve such rapid expansion in Germany, especially in the east of the country. So how did this one medium-sized riverside town in Saxony-Anhalt, with a population of 41,000, make the leap? Well, it definitely has something to offer: an impressive cathedral – Halberstadt has long been the main diocesan town in the region – and 400 restored half-timbered buildings, both of which attract an increasing number of tourists.
Ideal for medtech
But the real driving force behind the town is commerce. Halberstadt has no less than six business parks, housing around 200 companies that between them have created over 3,100 jobs. From automotive suppliers to wood- and metalworking operations to food manufacturers, the town is home to a wide range of SMEs. “A good mix makes a town more resilient – we’re living proof of that,” says local Business Development Manager Thomas Rimpler. But there’s one industry that stands out: medtech. Almost 30 firms in the sector have established themselves in Halberstadt, including Dahlhausen Medizintechnik and Novoplast Schlauchtechnik GmbH to name just two. And the trend is set to continue. Rimpler is optimistic that once the current crisis is over, German production will resume afresh, and with over 129,000 sq. ft. of cleanroom space, Halberstadt stands well-placed to benefit. HA2 Medizintechnik GmbH, another Halberstadt business, operates Europe’s biggest and most modern gas sterilization facility with space for 170,000 pallets. The time and budget that manufacturers could save by having medical devices sterilized locally represents a huge advantage, says Rimpler.
One of many in fact, along with large contiguous spaces at good prices, reliable internet service, efficient, dovetailed cooperation between businesses and the local authorities, and a high level of community engagement. But as Rimpler explains, the town has an exceptional strategic plus: “Our modern business parks offer an outstanding environment for large industrial facilities. Last year, working with the Investment and Marketing Corporation Saxony-Anhalt, we signed a contract with an international investor for 70 hectares. Our real estate is ready and waiting for immediate development.” There’s also an excellent supply of local labor these days. “We’ve been proactively developing our economy since early 2000,” says Rimpler, “so we’ve worked hard to create a great place to live and work. For such a small town we have lots of culture, an excellent infrastructure, and affordable homes as well as plots for new builds.”
As regards infrastructure, Saxony-Anhalt’s connections to the national highway network are an unbeatable advantage: you can drive from Halberstadt to almost anywhere in Germany within four hours. That was a major factor in KAMEDTECH Medizintechnik’s decision to set up there in 2006. The company tests and maintains technical medical products from blood pressure monitors to nursing beds and infusion technology. KAMEDTECH has 24 employees based in Halberstadt, providing services nationwide. “The growth indicators were positive from the start. Doing the job right is the best business development strategy there is, and that’s how we grew our customer base,” says Managing Director Sebastian Albrecht. Though KAMEDTECH has taken a big hit from restricted access to care homes as a result of Covid-19, it’s in good shape and able to pay the bills. “I’m assuming,” says Albrecht, “that once the crisis is over we’ll be taking a lot more orders than we were before, which is why we’re investing now, for example by taking on new employees.”
Alongside the excellent road links, KAMEDTECH chose Halberstadt because the local authorities are a pleasure to work with. Albrecht sums it up: “We have a direct relationship with the mayor. Problems are dealt with quickly. And the local business development team is very proactive all-round. We also work closely with the Halberstadt job center, for example through training programs.”
Thomas Rimpler, head of the town’s business development team, also cites the job center. But he runs another initiative to attract skilled workers: “returner’s day,” which entices back those who moved away from Halberstadt. The second of these annual events took place last year, drawing 1,200 visitors. According to Rimpler, a number of people ended up signing employment contracts on the day.
And his vision for the future? “Halberstadt is characterized by SMEs, and that’s the way we’d like to keep it growing.” The cooperation agreement between the local authorities and the Investment and Marketing Corporation Saxony-Anhalt (IMG) will certainly help. The agreement is indefinite and sets out how the parties work together to support investors and businesses as well as to develop projects that help companies start up and expand. The net result is a reliable, high quality system.
Author: Anja Falgowski
Fachbereichleiter Wirtschaft/ Stadtplanung/ Kultur
Tel.: +49 3941 551230
Am Bahndamm 5
Tel. 03941/62 35 20
Fax 03941/62 35 31
Innovative prostheses, surgical robots, telemedicine - the possibilities of medical technology revolutionize diagnosis and therapy. Companies from Saxony-Anhalt are at the forefront of the development and manufacture of innovative medical technology products. > further information about the MedTech industry in Saxony-Anhalt