Schott AG – A global leader in specialty glass and glass-ceramics manufacturing

Repeat investments underscore Schott’s commitment to pharmaceutical business in India

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SCHOTT Glass India manufacturing plant at Jambusar, India

Schott is a leading international technology group in the areas of specialty glass and glass-ceramics. Founded in 1884, the company has more than 130 years of expertise in development, materials, and technology, and offers a broad portfolio of high-quality products and intelligent solutions. Mainz, Germany headquartered Schott is solely owned by the Carl Zeiss Foundation one of the oldest private and largest science-promoting foundations in Germany.

Since 1998, Schott has played a key role in the development of India’s pharmaceutical industry by manufacturing high-quality pharmaceutical tubing products in Jambusar. The company offers a broad product portfolio, including ampoules, cartridges, vials, and syringes made of glass and COC polymer. Its state-of-the-art manufacturing plants and products comply with the international quality standards for pharmaceutical needs. The company offers a complete portfolio of high-quality Type I (FIOLAX and BORO-8330) and Type III (ILLAX and AR-GLAS) glass tubing with a dedicated specification for each application (syringes, cartridges, vials, and ampoules).

USP of Schott products

We met with Patrick Markschlaeger, executive vice president – Tubing of Schott AG, at CPhI P-Mech Greater Noida, where he gave us an insight into the company’s working module. “Schott has been developing and manufacturing a comprehensive selection of special glasses for pharmaceutical packaging, such as glass for syringes, vials, ampoules, and cartridges. The high-quality FIOLAX has been the epitome of the highest quality, premium glass since 1911. Schott uses the new era of quality processing perfeXion, which offers a transition from statistical quality control to 100% inspection of each FIOLAX tube. A broad range of container geometries, quality levels and controlled surface chemistry across locations enables Schott to tailor the primary packaging solution to customers’ specific needs. Schott’s global footprint and uniform global standards for high-quality products are also one of the biggest USPs of the company,” he said.

Dr. Patrick Markschlaeger Executive Vice President SCHOTT AG Business Unit Tubing
Patrick Markschlaeger, executive vice president – Tubing of Schott AG

Demand is higher than supply

Speaking about the Indian pharmaceutical glass application market and Schott’s contribution to it, he said, “The current situation is very dynamic, where demand is much higher than supply, and Schott feels this will continue to be the same for at least a couple of years. As the export of Indian pharmaceutical products increases, the demand for the best quality products like Schott will increase. With the same understanding, Schott has already invested a substantial amount in the expansion of its existing plant to double its current capacity.”

Schott invests in fulfilling local demands

Talking about the company’s upcoming plans and ventures, Markschlaeger said, “Concerning India, success is vital to Schott’s growth in the world market. Its domestic market represents one of the most attractive growth opportunities, and it is an excellent export hub for regional demands. The Indian pharmaceutical market is continuously growing, and Schott wants to be part of this growth; therefore, we are investing to increase capacity to fulfill local demand.”

One of the highest growing divisions for Schott Group in India is its tubing division, which completed 20 years of India operations last year. Schott intends to continue its course of sustainable, profitable growth in the current fiscal year. In 2019, the company inaugurated its new glass tank plant in Jambusar, Gujarat, which was set up with an investment of EUR 21 million (approximately Rs 165 crore). Schott also eyes rapid growth prospects for high-quality glass material driven by the pharma industry. Moreover, the company has lined up additional investments of EUR 26 million (approximately Rs 200 crore) for yet another tank plant this year, which will double its total capacity by 2020.

The new production plant, with a combined investment of EUR 47 million (approximately Rs 370 crore), will double the capacity of Schott Glass India’s manufacturing unit. In addition, it will allow the group to produce its highly specialized FIOLAX tubing material for both domestic and export demands. Schott began the construction of its first new facility last year on the occasion of completing two decades of operations in India.

Schott is growing

Speaking about the growth of the company, Markschlaeger said, “Globally, Schott has achieved solid growth over the last many years. In the fiscal year 2017-2018, Schott has achieved currency-adjusted sales of 6.3%. We have also achieved a record annual profit of EUR 208 million (approximately Rs 1687 crore). In India, Schott saw sales of approximately Rs 341 crore – an increase of 32.6%, which converted into 26.2% after currency effects. Key growth driver segments for India were Schott’s tubing, pharma-packaging and flat glass for cooking.”

Regulatory compliances

Schott actively takes part in forming the regulatory landscape of the packaging industry and therefore is always aware of upcoming changes. “Schott is, in fact, among the benefactors of the efforts made by the Government of India in creating an environment conducive for international businesses to invest and set up manufacturing facilities. We plan to continue investing in India as a part of Make in India, as we believe there is great potential in the Indian companies becoming the hub for offering pharmaceutical equipment for global pharmaceutical supply chains as well,” explained Markschlaeger.

Schott committed to expanding local footprint

Schott’s investment in India underscores its commitment to the pharmaceutical business and shows how important this business is to the Schott Group. The company believes that the main objective behind these investments is to improve its ability to supply high-quality products to the local Indian pharma companies. Its latest investment in India is part of the company’s comprehensive growth program specifically for the pharma emerging markets.

“As a company, it is our vision to play an essential part of everyone’s life. One of our business goals is to expand our activities in Asia further and to establish ourselves in our core markets with partners or with ‘greenfield investments’. We want to position Schott as a ‘global’ company, a global corporation with a strong local structure. It is Schott’s vision to serve the trends in Asia both with existing products, which may be adapted to local needs and with new product developments. India is one of our fastest-growing markets, and we see strong opportunities here,” he concluded.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

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As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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Technical Editor - Mandeep Kaur is working with IPP Group and holding editorial responsibilities for the IndiFoodBev and PSA Healthcare platforms. Earlier she handled editorial responsibilities of food, beverage, and agriculture publications at another publisher. A gold-medalist in M Tech (Food Technology), she has hands-on experience in operating different types of instruments related to physico-chemical testing of grains and flour. She has worked at Evalueserve in the Intellectual Property (IP) division for more than three years handling projects in the life sciences domain.

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