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Lack of finances in statutory health insurance funds

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News, Pharmaceuticals

A shortfall of around seven billion euros – this is the conclusion reached by the so-called estimators’ circle with regard to the financial situation of the statutory health insurance funds – although the federal government has already promised a lavish subsidy of around 21.5 billion euros from taxpayers’ money. Who will now foot the bill for the pandemic? Will there be hefty premium increases for insureds and employers?

If there is no promise of cost coverage from the federal government by the end of October, the statutory health insurance funds will be planning for significantly higher contributions in 2022. This debate is in danger of being lost in the coalition negotiations.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Jens Spahn is still painting a conciliatory picture – without higher contributions for those with statutory health insurance. The social guarantee with guaranteed social security contributions of less than 40 percent (employer plus employee contributions) is to be retained. At 39.5 percent, there is no room for improvement. However, this also makes it clear that an increase in health insurance contributions can only be avoided if the missing seven billion euros are borne entirely by the federal government. In this case, therefore, all taxpayers would have to step in.

Possible increase in contribution rates from January

This finding does not come as a surprise. The expected gap was already known before the federal election. But increasing contributions is not the way to win votes. Thus, the government still in office could not bring itself to increase the subsidy for the statutory health insurance fund accordingly. If there is no new government in the next two weeks – and if it does not put the issue directly on its agenda – the statutory health insurance funds will have to plan for the aforementioned gap of seven billion euros in the 2022 budget for security reasons alone.

As a result, contribution rates would have to rise for the vast majority of health insurers – and that would already be the case at the turn of the year. This is because health insurers must submit their financial plans for the coming year to their supervisory authority by the end of October, and the authority must approve them. Underfunded budgets, however, cannot be approved. So the approximately 70 million members of the statutory health insurance funds and their employers will have to finance the seven-billion gap through higher contributions.

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Advanced analog IC foundry process technologies

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Now, Siemens Digital Industries Software announced that its new mPowerâ„¢ solution for power integrity analysis of analog, digital and mixed-signal integrated circuit (IC) designs has now been certified for Tower Semiconductor’s SBC13 and SBC18 process technologies.

This software is the industry’s first IC power integrity verification solution that offers virtually unlimited scalability for analog, digital and mixed-signal ICs and provides comprehensive power, electromigration (EM) and voltage drop (IR) analysis for even the largest IC designs.

“Siemens is proud that Tower Semiconductor, an industry leader in analog technologies, has now certified mPower for the SBC13 and SBC18 processes it offers. This solution, developed collaboratively by Tower Semiconductor and Siemens, contributes to more accurate and faster EM/IR analysis for joint customers. This, in turn, results in shorter time-to-market and higher quality end devices.”

– Joseph Davis, Senior Director

With this technology, IC designers can more quickly and thoroughly verify that their analog and mixed-signal designs meet performance-based design goals – capabilities that help IC customers dramatically improve quality, increase reliability and shorten time-to-market.

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Mechanical Processes News Processing Technologies

Novelties in relation to tank cleaning

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With the PlusClean tank cleaning nozzle, Alfa Laval sets a new standard for hygienic fluid handling in the food, dairy, beverage, pharmaceutical and personal care industries. Users achieve 100 percent cleaning coverage, which is unique in the market. In addition, up to 80 percent water and detergent savings can be achieved compared to conventional methods.

The cleaning nozzle works in tandem with primary tank cleaning equipment such as rotating spray balls or jet cleaners. Depending on the design of the tank, the nozzle can be easily integrated flush into the wall or floor. When activated by the cleaning medium or, optionally, the air drive, it removes contaminants below the agitator blades and in other areas in a fan-shaped pattern.

Controlled and repeated rotation of the agitator shaft and blades ensures 100 percent cleaning coverage. Even the shadow areas below the agitator blades, heating or cooling coils and connections, which are inaccessible to top-mounted tank cleaning equipment, are reliably hit. When the cleaning cycle is complete, the integrated drive returns the piston to its original position, securely closing and sealing the cleaning device.

Contamination risks are minimized by thorough tank cleaning with PlusClean. Faster and safer changeovers increase the productivity of batches or continuous processes.

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On the way in the UNESCO World Heritage Wadden Sea

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In the middle of Lower Saxony’s Wadden Sea lies Norderney – a sea that has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2009. The East Frisian island is a climatic health resort and spa. That’s why freight forwarder Georg Fischer has recently turned to electromobility. A native of Norderney, he is the fourth generation of his family to run the island haulage company “Johann Fischer”. His fleet includes 35 MAN vehicles – among them several semitrailer tractors and, since about a quarter of a year, three MAN eTGEs. With the electrically powered transporters, he wants to set an example. Holidaymakers are very nature-conscious, he says, and Norderney is known throughout Germany.He is one of the first companies on the North Sea island to switch to electric mobility.

“If we set a good example here, that radiates out.”

– Georg Fischer

Vehicle fleet for transporting goods on the islands

Georg Fischer is a “reception forwarder” for Norderney and the other East Frisian islands. Its core business is distribution services along the North Sea coast. He operates a large warehouse in the town of Norden, where the other forwarders unload their goods, and delivers them to the ferries six days a week with his own vehicles. He also travels for grocery and drug store chains. He picks up the goods from their central warehouses and then transports them to the stores on the islands. He even transports building materials with his fleet of vehicles specially tailored to the island. 85 employees are on the road for him and active in the warehouses in Norden and on Norderney.

Delivery service to the hotel

Since larger trucks are allowed to cross the island by ferry but are not allowed to drive across the island, the freight forwarder handles the goods directly in the warehouse at Norderney harbor. From the articulated trucks, they are loaded onto smaller vehicles – including the battery-electric transporters that take drinks, food and parcels from the warehouse through the narrow alleyways to the hotels, guesthouses and stores. The suitcases of the vacation guests are also delivered directly to the vacation domicile by the electric transporters.

For Georg Fischer, the three vehicles are an ideal addition to its fleet. The range of up to 130 kilometers is absolutely sufficient for the distances on the island. Often, one battery charge is enough for two full days of work. The three vehicles are charged at wallboxes directly at the warehouse. The eTGEs are quiet and hardly disturb the tourists who are looking for peace and quiet on Norderney, says Georg Fischer. He is also convinced of the driving comfort: “You quickly get used to the electric drive. After all, an all-electric van like this has no gearshift and delivers full power to the axle.” In addition, he says, the eTGEs offer the comfort he has been used to for many years. “I am absolutely convinced of the quality of my vehicles, the workmanship, the reliability – nothing squeaks or creaks,” he says.

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