Shahid Akhter, editor, ET Healthworld spoke to Georg Sparschuh, Managing Director, Schott Glass India Pvt., Jambusar, Gujarat, to know more about the quality of glass used in pharmaceutical packaging.
SCHOTT glass as differentiator
Schott Glass is a specialized glass company. We know very well that glass is not glass. There are many kinds of glass depending on different chemical and optical properties. When it comes to pharmaceutical tubing, it’s the chemical property which makes the glass. It’s most important that in any case, in any chemical composition of the medicine that is stored in the container, there would be no interaction in between the glass itself and the medicine.
If you would store a medicine in a standard glass container it would be a risk as alkaline will reach out of the glass and it will change the chemical composition of the medicine inside. Therefore pharmaceutical packaging for injectable medicines pharmaceuticals must be done in so-called neutral glass where no or absolutely minimum alkaline might interact with the medicine and this is exactly what was invented in 1911 by Otto Schott, the so called FIOLAX® glass and till date this glass is the served material worldwide when it comes pharmaceutical packaging, patient safety and for the medicine itself.
For our customers, it’s most important that we supply a tube which is very tight in the dimensions or dimensional variations and the tightness of the tube stashed inside the glass. So, whatever is done in the machinery, the machinery will run smoothly and it will make the product that is really desired and needed by our customers. And this will only be possible if we have a good control in our process and by control we mean collecting data and this is what makes Schott Glass so special and unique.
We have installed a 100% inspection where each and every micron of the material will be inspected and even we store the analyzed data for next ten years. So whenever there’s any interference with the customer, we’ll be in a position to exactly trace down the process of the particular tube, what has happened to this tube? How was it produced? Which raw materials have been used and all this will be fulfilled in all its products and this really makes us different from the other industries and it’s a step towards lowering industry for civil because we are handling big data in volumes in the number of tubes we are producing.
Thousands of tons of materials and every single point in the material being checked and the data stored is really the big data. Not only collecting the data, but finally analyzing the data and control the overall process on this big database.
So, it’s really a step towards the industry for civil which all the other industries are looking for and especially our customers are looking for. We are happy to be in the lead of this transition from traditional manufacturing into a full digital controlled manufacturing from the beginning till today.
Schott Glass market share
Now we are operating our factories over the globe, and we are also targeting for the global market in pharmaceutical packaging. So far we have two factories in Germany, one in South America, and also a factory in India, covering the globe with our glass. Having some factories in all the locations is important because you might know glass is a heavy material, so the cost of transportation is a major factor in the cost to the customer, because customer is looking for landed costing material and coming close, next to the customer will maintain a good market share.
Make in India
The Make in India initiative is a real booster. We feel that all the processes in the government is speeding up and here we see smoothening of the process like construction permit, factory operation permit and environmental permits, all are speeded up in Gujarat and are very much industrial friendly. So, this is a very big help for us, especially if we have to expand a factory or change our set-up, all these processes, administrative processes, are going smoothly and neatly done and these are really good booster for investment of Schott Glass.
Make in India initiative is definitely covering it by the digital portal by government where we have the one window approach and its really easy going and what also can be seen is, all of the government officials are getting more and more industry friendly giving the employer the support. And, especially for the industry like us, where we are going for a long-term investment, we need a political stability and this Make in India initiative gives a long-term perspective from the side of the government.
We would not invest into an environment where a political stability is not given. But Make in India initiative on its long-term plan and long-term vision set by Mr. Modi is a real help for us to make all our decisions with a long-term investments.