HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH has been the leading specialist for manufacturing
individual freeze drying systems, loading and unloading systems
and freezing and thawing equipment for 30 years.
Power of innovation
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HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH
Phone + 49 6462 9169-0
Fax + 49 6462 9169-199
Award: in the innovation elite for the fourth time running
HOF Sonderanlagenbau GmbH from Lohra has once again been selected as one of the best in the 26th edition of the TOP 100 innovation competition.
The company received the “top innovator” award for the fourth time running from the mentor of the competition Ranga Yogeshwar, scientific coordinator Prof. Dr Nikolaus Franke and compamedia in Frankfurt on 28 June.
HOF among TOP 100 companies again
398 companies entered the current round for a TOP 100 award.
TOP 100 uses a scientific system to evaluate the innovation management of SMEs.
This system, which was developed by Prof. Dr Nikolaus Franke, gives equal chances to manufacturing companies and service providers while also taking into account the respective size of the enterprises.
In this independent selection process, HOF and its 265 employees stood out in particular on account of its innovation success.
Finding innovative solutions – exploring new directions
For 30 years, the TOP 100 company has been specialised in the development and manufacturing of freeze drying systems, loading and unloading systems, and freezing and thawing equipment for the pharmaceutical industry. More than 2,000 systems in 27 countries prove the worldwide success of HOF.
Where bottles filled with frozen blood plasma used to be opened by people wearing gloves, this is now the task of a machine from the top innovator. The bottles are partially defrosted in an automatic process, opened with a so-called guillotine and then removed by robots for further processing of the plasma. The new innovative process from HOF is significantly faster and the system can operate around the clock.
“Being open to new things is a sign of a good innovation culture”
Physicist and scientific journalist Ranga Yogeshwar, who has been mentoring the competition since 2011, summarises the qualities of the TOP 100 as follows: “Being open to new things, tolerating mistakes, constantly striving to do things in a new and different way – those are the characteristics of a good innovation culture. A culture that is practised in the SMEs which we award with the TOP 100. They are exceptional medium-sized companies where the spirit of innovation has become part of their DNA. They are far-sighted, active entrepreneurs who focus on innovation every single day.” More information at www.top100.de.
HOF says thank you
“Receiving the award for the fourth time running makes us particularly proud.
We do not take it for granted and we will continue our endeavours to offer our customers the best, most innovative solutions.
But most of all, we want to thank our employees, without whom this success would not be possible.”
The new LYOCOM 2018 software
HOF now uses the new LYOCOM 2018 control system as a successor for the LYOCOM III Pro software. Clearly improved diagnostic options and a standardised process overview are the crucial convincing points.
LYOCOM 2018 is based on Siemens TIA Professional 15.1. In contrast to the LYOCOM III system, all system components (freeze drying plant, vial transfer system and visualisation) are integrated in one project, so that the customer only has to manage one software version for the HOF Package Unit.
LYOCOM 2018 is a software for all freeze drying systems in combination with the loading and unloading systems and includes extensive features. The system features easy, intuitive operation, compared with a user-friendly and visually appealing user interface.
LYOCOM 2018 has the following distinguishing features:
- Use of Siemens F-CPU 15xx
- Uniform look and feel for operation of GT and VTS
- Development of a dedicated HOF library as per GAMP 5. Safety through the implemented TIA portal version check and tested module documentation of standard modules
- Fine-grained display of operating equipment down to the basic function level
- Extended service information from display of switching cycles of the operating equipment and optional batch-based performance recording
- Minimising of qualification work by using uniform screens, standardised program modules and a uniform text basis. Only the correct connection to the periphery has to be checked. Visualisation, error message generation, etc. are standardised and no longer require checking
- Extended system diagnosis. Siemens ProDiag was integrated for this purpose. This now makes it possible to display control sequences and interlocks on the visualisation directly from the PLC program, to immediately initiate diagnostics in case of process errors. The control of the door safety was integrated into the GT on an F control, also in the framework of better diagnostic options. Additionally, the Siemens hardware diagnostics are visualised and a torque path of the axes can be recorded for the servo drives during the diagnosis. All system components which are actuated from the control are also visualised and, with the appropriate authorisation, can also be actuated directly or locked, e.g. for service work
- Redundancy in communication by establishing an MRP ring already in the basic version
- The HOF FVP software is used for recipe management and batch logging. This ensures consistency of the recipes, from laboratory applications to the production lines
- Vertical and horizontal data interfaces are executed via Ethernet, allowing flexible interfaces to be mapped. The LYOCOM 2018 system offers interfaces to higher-level systems, e.g. MES and Data Historian. Here, the link to its higher-level system can be implemented individually with an interface to the PU
- Use of a new touch panel with new keyboard for sterile rooms
- Improved parameter mapping of the VTS with display of all parameters on one screen
- Automatic setting of IPC samples using a robot
“We are pleased that we have already been able to successfully integrate the new system into several new plants.”
Patrick Schuhmacher (Head of Software Engineering)
Modern remote service solution from HOF
Due to a restriction from the supplier, HOF cannot ensure support for the connection to software used over analogue remote service modems for Windows 7 beyond 14/01/2020.
We regret that we consequently have to terminate our support commitment at this time. HOF is very aware, however, of the responsibility regarding this important issue. A reliable, modern remote service solution requires extensive specialised knowledge.
“We can provide you with an individually tailored remote service solution for your system. We would be pleased to provide you with a quotation.”
Patrick Schuhmacher (Head of Software Engineering)
(+49 6462 9169-358 / firstname.lastname@example.org
3,800 km for a good cause – a very special report
After intensive reflection, the management came up with a very special idea for Christmas 2018. Instead of Christmas gifts for customers, they decided to pack parcels with essential food and hygiene products for people in need in Eastern Europe. Diana Hof-Schneider got into contact with the Johanniter charity, and after a few phone calls HOF was able to join the Johanniter Christmas Truckers. Johanniter have been organising aid transports to the poorest countries in Europe for 25 years.
Common ground was soon found after consulting local food retailers. The Kessler family, who run the REWE supermarket in Gladenbach, immediately offered to cooperate and supplied the required relief goods directly to the HOF premises in Mornshausen.
The parcels were filled and wrapped up in three days, by employees as well as fire fighters and the Lohra Business Forum – around 200 people overall. In the end, there were 1200 parcels with essential food products and personal hygiene items, including flour, sugar, pasta, oil and toothpaste. Lovely Christmas cards made by local nursery school children gave the parcels a personal touch.
An unforgettable adventure begins
Things started rolling on Christmas Day. The two Christmas Truckers from HOF, Alex Wagner and Alex Winter, were taken to Landshut, where the journey to Bosnia with around 20 tons of relief goods on board began at 6 am on December 26.
We were able to park our trucks on the premises of the THW [German Federal Agency for Technical Relief] in Landshut so we could start bright and early from there with the maximum driving time. First, we were joined by two more trucks that had been parked there and drove to the Grieserwiese area. Here, the convoys were assembled and supplied with food and drink to last us for a week. We introduced ourselves and were received like old friends. Then the 47 trucks drove through the mediaeval centre of Landshut, where we received a send-off with a church service and various speeches, including by German-Romanian musician Peter Maffay.
Thousands of people lined the streets and waved us off. The THW had blocked all the roads so we had unhindered access to the motorway – the atmosphere gave us all goosebumps. At the border between Germany and Austria, the convoy split off towards their destinations: Romania, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Albania and Bosnia. Our destination on the first day was Croatia, where we arrived around 9:30 pm after a 16-hour day. The next morning, we continued to the Bosnian border, where we stopped for the whole day and kept the local customs authorities busy with our relief goods.
Later that afternoon, we were able to continue the journey to Bosnia. Our destination was Tuzla in the east of Bosnia, close to the Serbian border. After a long search with our six trucks, we were warmly received at the local university and invited to dinner.
The next morning, we split up to distribute the Christmas parcels in five different locations: four schools and nurseries along the Serbian border and a women’s shelter with numerous children. Getting to the nurseries or schools was not always easy, as the mountain paths were often overgrown and had to be cleared with a chainsaw. Many hands helped us with unloading. People were overjoyed to receive the parcels, as they provided them with essential items for themselves and their families, even if only for a short while.
After another night in Tuzla, we unloaded two more trucks on the following day before setting out for Banja Luka. We drove 200 kilometres across the mountains on roads that reminded us of East Germany before the reunification.
Once we arrived in Banja Luka, the last two trucks were unloaded and we started our journey home.
Our convoy stayed together until we reached the Obere Tauernalm services in Austria, where we said goodbye after a lovely dinner together – some of the trucks had to go in a different direction from there. For us, the day ended at 1:30 am at the Chiemsee lake, where we were warmly received at the Schalchen Hof Hotel with a little late-night snack. The next day was New Year’s Eve, and after a generous breakfast we started on the last leg of our journey. Our Bosnia adventure finally came to an end at 6:30 pm on New Year’s Eve, and were happy to be reunited with our families.
We can say that this aid campaign by HOF was a great success all around. We saw that our parcels actually arrived where they were meant to go – to the poor, children and others in need. When you see how a small bar of chocolate or a colouring book can put a smile on a child’s face – which we did – then we think that is proof that our company did exactly the right thing.
Alexander Wagner & Alexander Winter