Customer Support

Experts offer local support, thanks to a modern infrastructure and in-depth know-how. (Photo: SCHOTT/J. Siefke)
Thilo Horvatitsch

Technological Trailblazer in Asia

By offering more support to customers, partners and SCHOTT divisions in Asia, the Application Center Asia (aca), with its network of experts, acts as a problem solver when it comes to developing applications.

When it opened in the spring, four of the top five companies of China’s optics industry were present. Not a bad start, after all, when it comes to high-tech optical components, such as high-precision lenses and prisms for digital cameras and projectors, Asia is where all of the action is. SCHOTT has been earning a fine reputation for around 40 years and hopes to achieve roughly 30 percent of its sales there in 2010. ”Mission Asia” is benefiting from a megatrend. According to research results, Asia’s share in global production capacity will grow to exceed 50 percent in 2030. The multi-national development and application centers that are currently springing up like mushrooms in China are techno- logical trailblazers. In 2006, there were 980. This year, this figure is projected to reach 1,200.
In the future, the laboratories will be used to process optical materials and develop customer-specific applications. (Photo: SCHOTT/C. Fei)
One of them is the ACA in Suzhou, not far away from the customers or its suppliers and production sites. The center houses offces, research labs, processing of optical materials and application development. This means extended support for local customers, whereby global knowledge is used. ”For SCHOTT, the ACA is the hub for sharing expertise on a global basis. It provides access to R&D centers in Asia and considerably strengthens our technical cooperation with our Asian customers,” explains José Zimmer, head of the Center.

The ACA is now forming elite networks of experts in select fields inside Asia. Cooperation is taking place with institutions in China, such as the Zhejiang University, the Soochow University, the Institute of Optics and Mechanics in Chengdu and the Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics. The Department of Mechanical Engineering of the Chung Hua University in Taipei, Taiwan, is also a partner. The topics currently focus on promising future optical technologies, such as precision blank pressing of low Tg glasses (glasses with low transformation temperatures) for use in effcient manufacturing of aspherical lenses and diffractive optical elements. Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese companies and universities are involved. A panel of experts has driven these topics forward.
”We are moving closer to the goal of expanding our expertise on site.” Dr. UIrich Ackermann, President and ceo of SCHOTT Asia (Photo: SCHOTT/A. Sell)
In addition to optics, topics related to the fields of technical glass and glass ceramics are also on the agenda. Next year, plans are to include glass processing, coating and electronics. ”In Asia, we would like to be perceived as a comprehensive problem solver across all of our business sectors,” specifies Dr. Ulrich Ackermann, President and CEO of SCHOTT Asia. For this reason, the ACA is closely linked with the customer service departments of all of the Asian sales offces. And SCHOTT continues to invest. After having already spent a million euros to open the Center, another 300,000 euros per year will be devoted to expanding personnel from ten to 20 engineers and researchers. The mission Asia still lives on. In fact, plans are to open the next Application Center in Japan soon.