Our company history starts in Mühltal in Hessen in the post-war period as a small one man business in the mainly manual manufacture of molding tools for the furniture industry. Today, we are one of the leading quality system suppliers for precision, highly automated clean room articles with more than 330 employees on a total area of more than 55,000 m2. Over 70 years in which we had enough time to jointly expand and further develop our competences, technologies and materials for our customers.
On April 1, 1946, Fritz Albert Riegler laid the foundation for a steadily growing company by manufacturing compression molds for the furniture industry. The small one-man business initially produced in rented premises. From 1949, Riegler produced curlers for the hair cosmetics industry on the first injection molding machines, which were still hand-operated.
Riegler manufactured hair curlers for hair cosmetics on the first manually operated injection molding machines. The close collaboration with the internationally operating hair cosmetics group Goldwell also started in 1949. The mold and tool making range was extended to injection molding for thermoplastics.
With the acquisition of a plot of land in Mühltal/Nieder-Ramstadt, the first hall for mold making as well as rooms for light assembly work and an administration building with three company apartments could be built. In the form of piston injection molding machines with hydraulic toggle mold clamping, the basis for further plastics processing was created.
Fritz Albert Riegler pursued the goal of manufacturing injection molding machines for his own use. A machine was successfully patented. However, competition was already so strong in Germany at that time that the company management soon abandoned the idea of building its own injection molding machines with a heavy heart.
In the early 1960s, Riegler developed and produced spray valves for hair sprays, packaging and mixing trays. The intensive cooperation with the customer led to many patent applications in the field of permanent wave treatments as well as hair color, mixing and dosing systems. The company also continued to produce curlers.
Thanks to the successful cooperation with the hair cosmetics industry, the company acquired another plant in Grasellenbach-Hammelbach. Here, the company started manufacturing hollow bodies on extrusion blow molding lines, such as packaging for permanent wave liquids, shampoos or hair conditioners. The packaging was colorfully printed by means of screen printing.
After the sudden death of Fritz Albert Riegler and his wife Elisabeth in January 1968, son Horst Riegler took over the company management. In the same year, the company began producing technically sophisticated plastic parts for record players, cassette recorders and CD players. Over the years, the customer increasingly shifted production to Asia and South America.
A collaboration of many years in the field of consumer electronics started with the manufacture of packagings for Philips Eindhoven. Technically challenging plastic parts for record players, cassette recorders and CD players were jointly developed and manufactured for numerous European and later also Asian and central American Philips factories. This collaboration resulted in good qualification of our employees.
In the 1970s, the company's production portfolio focused on the manufacture of packaging for the booming food industry. Riegler also manufactured closures for renowned brands and soon expanded the product range by yoghurt cups. Cleanliness and low germ content were prerequisites for large-scale production.
In the middle of the 70's the company focused on the demand of the detergent and care products industry. Handle bottles for liquid care products were henceforth part of the wider product range. In the meantime, production was carried out on multiple molds with automatic capping. Some of the injection molding machines were in continuous operation seven days a week.
The Montreal Protocol of September 1987 meant the global exit from CFC production and use. Consequently, we produced systems for spraying using breathable air; a battery-operated pump for generating compressed air is located in the base of the spray nozzle.
The breakthrough to the present production focus on medical technology came with the development of plastic-compatible series production of packaging shells and cleaning systems for contact lenses. Development orders for dentistry and diagnostics followed shortly after. Today, the company manufactures contact lens shells in quantities of millions per year.
At the beginning of the 1990s, Riegler developed and produced hygiene kits for the detection of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This order was the first development project with a global medical technology customer. Bottles, closures and other packaging materials for analytical equipment are the result of this successful cooperation.
In Ober-Ramstadt, Riegler acquired 10,000 m² to build a new plant. The plant in Grasellenbach-Hammelbach was closed down and the employees moved to Ober-Ramstadt, where the company produces hollow bodies by extrusion blow molding to this day. A high-bay warehouse with 5,000 pallet spaces was also built at this plant.
Riegler celebrated the 50 years of existence of the company on April 1, 1996. A time with constant growth and success as supplier for many different industries.
The newly built, modern administration building in Mühltal/Nieder-Ramstadt offers excellent working conditions. The basement houses the manual assembly department, while the first floor houses the mold making department, quality assurance and a clean room for assembly equipment. The commercial departments are located on the upper floor.
After long deliberations, the Riegler family decided to sell the company for reasons of age. The efforts to put the company, which was successfully operating on the market, back into private hands were rewarded. Wirthwein AG, owned by the Wirthwein family, took over Riegler and continues to run it successfully as a subsidiary of the globally active family business.
In May 2007, a third facility was acquired with a site area of 44,000 m² and a usable building area of 13,500 m². At the "An der Papiermühle" site in Nieder-Ramstadt, the company established a center for the production of medical products. Around 8,000 m² of production area and a high-bay warehouse with 2,700 pallet spaces are located here.
Wirthwein AG purchased the Spiegelhauer company in Erbach in October 2007 and initially continued the manufacture for automotive parts at the same location. The production was finally relocated to Mühltal into Factory II.
The board of directors of Wirthwein AG was expanded on July 01. Frank Wirthwein is responsible for "Sales", Marcus Wirthwein for "Technology" and Rainer Zepke for "Finances". Udo Wirthwein remains as chairman of the board. Frank and Marcus Wirthwein as well as Rainer Zepke have been board of directors of Riegler GmbH & Co. KG since then.
The creation of additional clean rooms provides an excellent basis for further growth. Riegler now employs more than 250 people. The company is pushing the training of its own junior staff in order to respond to the impending shortage of skilled workers. Many employees are former trainees. Long periods of employment with the company were and are not uncommon.
Dr. Thomas Jakob is the new Director of the Business Unit Medical Technology of Wirthwein AG with simultaneous overall responsibility for Riegler. Jointly with the Technical Director, Thorsten Hassenzahl, the 46 years old chemistry graduate and manager, takes over the destiny of the company with immediate effect.
Riegler celebrates its 70 years anniversary at the beginning of September 2016. In the presence of the Wirthwein and Riegler families as well as many former and current employees, the entire corporate family looks back on its remarkable growth course. From the beginnings as hair curler producer on manually operated injection molding machines to food packagings to the entry into clean room production – in full appreciation of the jointly achieved milestones, young and old agree on the new challenges and growth opportunities.
In addition to targeted organizational optimization and reinforcement with new, additional employees in all areas, Riegler is pushing ahead with its corporate focus on the business areas of diagnostics, medical technology, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics for future, sustainable growth. The presence at international trade fairs rounds off the focus.
Riegler creates over 40 new jobs and expands its production areas by another 750 m² with two additional clean rooms of ISO classes 7 and 8 and a clear focus on the medical technology, diagnostics and pharmaceutical industries. Investments in a completely new mold maintenance facility, the modernization of logistics and the expansion of digitalization follow.
The year 2019 was characterized by additional investments as well as the expansion of production capacities and investments in the expansion of digitalization. Riegler invested in a total of 17 fully electric injection molding machines. Additional expansions in the assembly of modules by means of a new fully automated assembly line including laser welding were also implemented.
A new document management system with FDA compliant signature control and a completely new machine data documentation system were successfully introduced. In July 2019 Riegler took a new measuring laboratory into operation and at the same time a new tactile measuring machine with automated palletizing system was added. Riegler also supplemented its quality management system with the standard for primary packaging materials and was successfully certified according to DIN EN ISO 15378.
Highlight was the golden jubilee with 50 years of service of the jubilees Harald Plößer and Wilhelm Ross.
The name Wirthwein is well-known in the plastics industry worldwide and stands for a globally active, versatile, high-performance and innovative family-owned company. On July 1, the company was renamed from Riegler GmbH & Co. KG to Wirthwein Medical GmbH & Co. KG. The company thus benefits from the international awareness of the brand name "Wirthwein".
Today, Wirthwein Medical is one of the quality leading system suppliers in plastic processing and a sought-after specialist in clean room production. Based on healthy company development, we also want to focus on what we can do best in the future. Solve ideas innovatively, qualitatively and for our customers.
Would you like to help shape our future? Then join our team and go with us on the growth course.