Dialysis Machine
In 2012, the 500,000th dialysis machine rolled off the production line at Fresenius Medical Care’s factory in Schweinfurt. What was once a vision is now a successful series-produced model. Today, more than half of all dialysis machines used worldwide are made by Fresenius Medical Care. The Company is constantly working on improving the quality of dialysis while making treatment more affordable for the growing number of patients worldwide.

The history of the modern dialysis machine started in the 1970s with a question: How to turn a highly specialized treatment, available to only a few people at the time, into a series-produced lifesaver? The question became a vision. And the vision became a success story that today has 8,000 parts. That’s how many components are inside a modern Fresenius Medical Care dialysis machine.

The very first model became the world’s leading and best-selling dialysis machine of its time. Since then, the Company has expanded its lead with its follow-up models: In recent years, Fresenius Medical Care has sold around five times more dialysis machines worldwide than its nearest competitor. In November 2012, the 500,000th dialysis machine rolled off the production line.

From the very beginning, the prime objective in developing dialysis machines was to make therapy safe, gentle and affordable for as many patients as possible. When Fresenius Medical Care started serial production of the first devices in 1979, the treatment was available to fewer than 10,000 patients worldwide. New dialysis machines have made dialysis even more effective and can be manufactured in larger quantities. More than two million people in the world now undergo dialysis treatment; approximately one in two are treated with a product developed and produced by Fresenius Medical Care.

Our dialysis machines today

  • 46,093 dialysis machines produced in 2012
  • 8,000 individual parts per dialysis machine
  • 1,400,000 possible machine configurations depending on how the machine is equipped
  • 180 hydraulic components per dialysis machine
  • 200,000,000 treatments per year with Fresenius Medical Care dialysis machines
  • 1,000,000,000 dialyzers produced by Fresenius Medical Care to date
  • 13,175 employees in production worldwide

Key functions of the dialysis machine

The dialysis machine pumps the blood from the patient’s body through a bloodline system to the dialyzer, also called the artificial kidney. In the course of a treatment session lasting some four to five hours, up to 120 liters of blood are pumped through the tubes – that’s several times a patient’s total blood volume. In the dialyzer, a dialysis fluid absorbs the toxins and excess water filtered out of the blood and removes them via a separate cycle. At the same time, the machine dispenses and administers drugs to prevent blood coagulation and collects data during treatment, from blood pressure to the temperature of the dialysate. It can modify the treatment process automatically and adapt it individually to the patient’s needs as required. The machine’s safety features have also been continuously enhanced and automated: The machine now recognizes changes in the patient’s bodily functions during dialysis. The same applies to technical problems: If a tube leaks or if the hydraulics no longer function smoothly in a particular area, the fault is immediately displayed on the monitor and treatment is automatically interrupted.

Thanks to their touchscreen monitor and digital data management, modern dialysis machines are easy to operate. State-of-the-art software controls the fine-tuning of all components, including a total of 180 hydraulic parts. Fresenius Medical Care dialysis machines are now used in more than 120 countries and are pre-programmed in up to 30 operating languages.

Fully automated to the leading manufacturer of dialysis machines

Fresenius Medical Care’s production sites have also progressed steadily. Whereas the Schweinfurt factory produced precisely 36 machines in 1979, it now makes several tens of thousands. This is thanks to a large number of fully automated production steps, for example in the manufacture of highly sensitive solenoid valves, a key component of the hydraulic circuit. Fresenius Medical Care now not only produces dialysis machines in Schweinfurt, but also specifically for the North American market at its sister factory in Walnut Creek, California.

Our vision for
dialysis tomorrow

  • Launch of a portable dialysis machine
  • Reduction in water used during dialysis treatment from
    max. 200 liters to six liters
  • Production of the 1,000,000 th dialysis machine in 2020
  • Further reduction of side effects and long-term
    complications for dialysis patients

Dialysis machines of the future: compact and mobile

The overriding objective is still to make sure that one day, every person who needs dialysis treatment will get it. There are already signs that treatment is becoming more compact and mobile. Fresenius Medical Care is working on completely new solutions. The PAK – short for “Portable Artificial Kidney” – could be available soon. This machine, the size of a shopping basket, will redefine the possibilities of dialysis: Patients can transport it in their own car whenever they need to, and it only requires six liters of tap water for a hemodialysis session. Conventional, permanently installed machines need up to 200 liters of specially prepared water per treatment.

What started off as a vision is now a series-produced success, an incentive for Fresenius Medical Care to keep on improving the quality of dialysis therapy and continuously enhancing it in every way. And the next milestone is already in sight: Whereas it took us just over three decades to build the first 500,000 dialysis machines, the latest forecasts suggest that the 1,000,000th machine will be delivered as soon as 2020.




  1 9 7 9

First-ever dialysis machine to be produced in series: The A2008 is built at a new factory in Schweinfurt – and goes on to become the best-selling model of its time.

  1 9 8 4

Half of all new dialysis machines sold in Germany are made by Fresenius Medical Care.

  1 9 9 2

Fresenius Medical Care unveils the 2008H model, the first dialysis machine to be developed especially for the North American market.

Fresenius Medical Care launches the 4008 series, an all-new generation of dialysis machines. Its modular design means that it can be tailored to patients’ individual treatment methods and needs.

  1 9 9 7

The 4008H model is introduced. It is an enhanced version of the 4008 series, featuring for the first time a screen for easier operation, among others.

  1 9 9 9

Fresenius Medical Care celebrates a milestone: The 100,000 th dialysis machine rolls off the assembly line.

  2 0 0 4

Half of the 45,000 dialysis machines produced worldwide each year are made by Fresenius Medical Care.

  2 0 0 5

The 5008 model is launched, providing the option of ONLINE hemodiafiltration as a standard feature.

  2 0 0 9

The 4008S classic dialysis machine is unveiled, allowing Fresenius Medical Care to continue the success of the 4008 series right up to the present day.

  2 0 1 0

Fresenius Medical Care presents the 2008T, a dialysis machine geared to the North American market.

  2 0 1 1

The compact 2008K@home device sets new standards in home hemodialysis.

  2 0 1 2

The 500,000th dialysis machine rolls off the production line in Schweinfurt.

  2 0 1 3

Launch of the PAK, the “Portable Artificial Kidney”: Approval is obtained for the first portable and mobile dialysis machine to be produced in series.

Complex inner workings: A dialysis machine has up to 1.4 million
different configuration possibilities depending on how the machine is equipped. The technology
can already be adapted to the customers’ requirements before distribution.
What started off as the vision to offer lifesaving help for patients with
chronic kidney disease became a series-produced success: In 2012 Fresenius Medical Care
produced its 500,000 th dialysis maschine.
Demanding task: A modern dialysis machine from Fresenius Medical Care
consists of 8,000 components. In spite of a large number of fully automated
production steps, up to 50 employees are involved in the production of one dialysis machine.
More than half of all dialysis machines used worldwide are made by Fresenius Medical Care.
Our machines which we produce in Schweinfurt, Germany, as well as in Walnut Creek, California are
used in more than 120 countries.