Within the OPHARDT Group, our location in Niederbipp is an important site of development. It has produced innovative dispenser systems and has always set standards in high-quality stainless steel manufacturing.
The success story of OPHARDT Switzerland (OPHARDT Hygiene AG) began in 1996 with only three employees in the town of Courtelary. Albrecht Lang—Managing Director of the site—was there from the very beginning. Today, he looks back with pride on 25 successful years.
OPHARDT Switzerland: A dynamic start
After experiencing rapid growth, the Courtelary plant quickly reached its limits. In 2000, operations moved to Niederbipp with an increased focus on sheet metal and stainless steel production. Since then, Swiss operations have remained at Herrenmattweg 1.
Albrecht Lang emphasizes the necessity of this step: “The SanTRAL series was in great demand around the turn of the millennium. Within a very short time, we took over the entire assemblies of the dispensers in production.”
After the move, an in-house design department was established. For Lang this was an important piece of the puzzle for the ongoing success of the Niederbipp site, since “design and manufacturing should be as close to each other as possible.”
Leading the way with digital solutions
The next milestone was in 2011 with the introduction of the OPHARDT Hygiene Monitoring System® (OHMS) and the ingo-man® plus Weco dispensers. This system helps healthcare facilities such as clinics and hospitals actively improve hygiene standards. OPHARDT Switzerland has maintained a significant role in OHMS after launching it in the market, developing both firmware and hardware components for digital hygiene solutions. It is worth mentioning that four OPHARDT locations are working hand in hand on this project, across teams in Canada, Ireland, Germany, and Switzerland. Albrecht Lang appreciates this cross-location exchange, “Each team contributes its expertise—the collaboration is incredibly enjoyable.”
Another Swiss-made product is the PRAESIDIO®. The touch-free hand sanitizer dispenser is increasingly shaping the image of entrances and lobbies in hospitals, offices, train stations and other high-traffic areas. Both the stainless steel processing and the custom-face plate printing for the PRAESIDIO® takes place in Switzerland.
Like all OPHARDT plants, the Swiss site is ISO 9001:2015 certified and thus meets important quality management requirements.
Innovating towards the future
Today, OPHARDT Hygiene AG has over 30 employees—and the number is growing. In addition to Managing Director Albrecht Lang, Jonas Amstutz has also been on board from the very beginning. The production manager and NC programmer speaks of a “varied and exciting range of tasks” and appreciates “the good working atmosphere.”
Looking to the future, digital hand hygiene solutions will continue to shape the work in Niederbipp. Lang describes it as a “continuously growing” field because technology is constantly evolving. One interesting forward-looking project involves researching a sustainable sanitizer dispenser that uses fuel cells instead of batteries. There is “a lot of movement in this research area,” says the managing director. The Swiss team can fully incorporate its accumulated experience and expertise here—motivated by the company mission to “Break the Chain of Infection”.