After six months of planning, the time had finally come on May 23, 2007: The first Technology Tour of the Senior Expert Chemists took place in the Höchst Industrial Park in Frankfurt. The invitation was one of the leading pharmaceutical companies, Sanofi-Aventis. The tour began in the historical exhibition at Tor Ost with a look back at the roots of the former Hoechst, but above all at the progress that has been made at the Höchst site in recent years.
Today, with more than 22,000 people, far more people work on the industrial site than in the mid-1990s. And so the detour to the listed Peter-Behrens-Bau, the former basis of the Hoechster emblem bridge and tower, had the sole aim of admiring the architectural secrets of this remarkable industrial building in Bauhaus style.
Then it went to the heart of Sanofi-Aventis, a research building in the south of the industrial park that is protected under the highest security requirements. Here laboratory and group leaders explained the latest research trends, but also the daily routine. It is now standard for chemists that new substances are characterized fully automatically with an NMR spectrum and a mass spectrum at the same time within a few hours. In view of the modern high technology, many participants had a historical comparison to their own work in the laboratory.
The explanations in protein crystallization were also captivating. Here biologists and chemists are now in a position to screen significantly more samples and start structural elucidation projects per year than they were a few years ago. Everyone present was surprised that outsourcing is now also taking effect: the microscope images are sent via data transfer to China for evaluation via the crystallization process.
After the lunch break in the casino, where the researchers from Sanofi-Aventis were available to talk to, we finally went on a bus tour through the industrial park. The 4.6 square kilometer park, with 72 km of roads, 57 km of railroad tracks and around 90 companies based there, is likely to be one of the most important chemical and pharmaceutical locations in Europe.
Our thanks go to Dr. Uwe Gerlach, Dr. Ulrich Wendt, Dr. Martin Will, Dr. Kai Bruns, qualified engineer Maik Fredersdorf and Dipl.-lng. Mathias Schaffrath, and especially our all-day companion, Dr. Cäcilia Glück-Machholdt, who made this informative and entertaining day possible.
The series of excursions in the format of Technology Tours for Senior Expert Chemists is to be continued, also beyond the Rhine-Main area. Thank you in advance for suggestions and planning help from the ranks of the Senior Expert Chemist.
Contact: Dr. Holger Bengs, GDCh, Tel. 069 7917 356
(From Nachr. Chem. 2007, 55, 920.)
last modified: 06.07.2021 17:59 H from W.Gerhartz