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28.08.2017, Mainz, Germany / Jambusar, India

Intelligent networking: Big data enabling a new standard in SCHOTT’s pharmaceutical glass manufacturing

On its way to ‘zero defect’; glass tubing with 100,000 data tags per minute
Thanks to a unique big-data approach, SCHOTT is now in a position to test every single glass tube in its current production at 100% - which also ensures that the processing companies can adjust optimally their processes to the quality of the glass tube.
Thanks to a unique big-data approach, SCHOTT is now in a position to test every single glass tube in its current production at 100% - which also ensures that the processing companies can adjust optimally their processes to the quality of the glass tube.
SCHOTThas recently integrated a specially developed big data solution into its pharmaceutical tubing production in India, replacing statistical sample-based quality assurance with 100 percent on-line measurement.

With the new IT-based process called perfeXion™, process- and product-quality data of each individual glass tube is collected online and in real-time – an innovation that sets new standards in the pharmaceutical glass industry.

During the multi-layered process of pharmaceutical tubing production, statistical quality control is not 100% thorough. However, thanks to a unique big data approach, SCHOTT Glass India is now able to measure 100% of every single glass tube in production. Instead of selecting a few glass tubes from each batch for statistical quality control, the new perfeXion™ system measures the entire glass tube many times over as it is drawn from the melt. Lasers recognize deviations in diameter and wall thickness, for example, and camera and IR inspection systems can even detect the smallest inclusions in the glass. Around 100,000 data tags are generated every minute. An integrated IT system, evaluating the continuous glass tube with real-time data measurements, calculates incidents of imperfection with such precision that it can later differentiate corresponding individual tubes which can then be sorted out. Each tube is checked again at its completion.

“This data enables for post-processing steps to be efficiently aligned with the tubing quality. With big data, the international technology group is creating a new industry standard and raising the quality of pharmaceutical glass production to a new level,” said Mr. Sundeep Prabhu, Vice President Sales and Marketing, SCHOTT Glass India Pvt. Ltd.

The system’s development took several years. Analyzing a curved tube surface zooming down a production line was a particularly difficult challenge. The effort, however, has paid off – not least because the data analysis is a source of insight into how production can be further optimized.

Every year, SCHOTT produces about 150,000 tons of glass tubing worldwide, most of which is destined for pharmaceutical packaging. Thanks to the new perfeXion™ approach, quality data can be traced back more detailed along the value chain. “There comes a particular responsibility being a pharmaceutical industry supplier, and traceability is a major issue in the industry,” says Dr. Patrick Markschläger, Executive Vice President at SCHOTT Tubing. “By gathering information on each individual glass tube, we’ve already made an important contribution to quality assurance for downstream post-processing steps at the very beginning of the value chain.”

Data usage opens new potential

“Companies that want to systematically control their production to make it more efficient in the long run can’t afford to miss a strategic use of production data,” adds Dr. Frank Heinricht, Chairman of the Board of Management at SCHOTT AG. “Making intelligently linked data available to others not only optimizes processes – it creates new creative potentials for product and process development.” The system is tailored for production of glass tubing, but other areas of the company can certainly benefit from the findings in the medium-term. SCHOTT’s perfeXion™ has been installed at all its tubing lines globally, including its India plant in Jambusar, Gujarat, where the system has been implemented from July 1st onwards.

India’s Pharma Outlook

The Government of India has unveiled its aim to make the country a global leader in the pharma manufacturing sector with 'Pharma Vision 2020'. Constant innovation is key to achieving this vision, with state-of-the-art-technology and corresponding know-how guaranteeing the same. This implies efficient pharma packaging, and advanced allied technologies by pharmaceutical companies, research labs, and other stakeholders. For pharmaceutical packaging, utmost precision and accuracy needs to be maintained at every step of the process in making the required glass tubes such as vials and syringes.

FIOLAX® and perfeXion™ are trademarks of SCHOTT AG

Further information on

SCHOTT is a leading international technology group in the areas of specialty glass and glass-ceramics. The company has more than 130 years of outstanding development, materials and technology expertise and offers a broad portfolio of high-quality products and intelligent solutions. SCHOTT is an innovative enabler for many industries, including the home appliance, pharma, electronics, optics, life sciences, automotive and aviation industries. SCHOTT strives to play an important part of everyone’s life and is committed to innovation and sustainable success. The group maintains a global presence with production sites and sales offices in 34 countries. With its workforce of approximately 15,000 employees, sales of 1.99 billion euros were generated in fiscal year 2015/2016. The parent company, SCHOTT AG, has its headquarters in Mainz (Germany) and is solely owned by the Carl Zeiss Foundation. As a foundation company, SCHOTT assumes special responsibility for its employees, society and the environment.
Press contact
Christina Rettig
Public Relations Manager
Hattenbergstraße 10
55122 Mainz
Phone: +49 6131/66-4094
Further information
Salvatore Ruggiero
Vice President Marketing and Communication
Hattenbergstraße 10
55122 Mainz
Phone: +49 6131/66-4140
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