SCHOTT Nippon celebrates 50-year anniversary: Based in Japan for Half a Century

Helmut Zeller, the first president at an inspection. SCHOTT Nippon has had the luxury of having several customers who have been there since the very beginning. Photo: SCHOTT

SCHOTT Nippon, subsidiary of the international technology group SCHOTT, celebrated its 50 years anniversary in Tokyo with over 150 invited guests on May 18th, 2016. The foundation of SCHOTT Nippon in 1966 marks the establishment of the first office in Asia. Since then, SCHOTT has been strategically developing its business in the Asian growth region, having increased its share of sales in Asia, including Japan, from 17% in 2005 to 21% in 2010 and to 25% in 2015. The overall goal of the company is to achieve 30% of its sales revenue in Asia by 2020. “Japan has been and still is an important pillar of SCHOTT’s business in Asia, marking both our entrance to this world region as well as a central market for our innovations”, says Dr. Frank Heinricht, Chairman of the Management Board of SCHOTT AG.

SCHOTT Nippon started its operations in 1966, when color TVs were gaining popularity in Japan. The first big success for SCHOTT Nippon was the B270® optical glass, an ultra-white glass, which was applied as a preform material for eyeglasses. While it still resides in the product portfolio today, its application focus has shifted from eyeglasses to optical equipment, electrical devices and bio-technology applications. SCHOTT’s unique product portfolio is not only very diverse; it is also very long-lasting. Optical glass and components, thin glass and wafers represent an important part of SCHOTT Nippon’s business today.

Another important business is based on the company’s glass-ceramic portfolio. One of the most famous SCHOTT products in Japan today is the CERAN® glass-ceramic cooktop which was first introduced to Japan almost 20 years ago and features in many households. Recently, the company introduced its NEXTREMA® glass-ceramic for high temperature industrial applications to the market.

SCHOTT Nippon also sells glass tubing and fiber optic lighting solutions for medical applications to local customers. Nowadays, nearly no household in Japan is free of products from SCHOTT, even if they cannot be seen at the first sight. These high quality components perform important functions in mobile phones, computers, watches, storage of medication in hospitals, as well as cars and airplanes.

It is SCHOTT’s strength in innovation that allows the company to supply high-tech glass products to these modern applications. Innovation has been driving the company since its foundation by Otto Schott in Jena, Germany 1884. Just this year, SCHOTT was awarded with the “German Industry Innovation Award – the World’s First Innovation Award®” in the category large companies for its ultra-thin glass. This extremely thin glass is thinner than a human hair and serves as the basis for product innovations in the electronics and semiconductor industries, where it enables faster, more energy-efficient and thinner devices.

“The glass and glass-ceramic product portfolio that SCHOTT provides continues to evolve and change. But SCHOTT’s willingness to contribute innovations to the Japanese market by way of its specialty glass technology is today as strong as ever. Our strategy is to operate in close proximity to our customers. That is why we have a strong local key account management, combined with technical support from our application engineering center here in Japan”, says Airi Yukawa, CEO and President of SCHOTT Nippon.

In order to expand its business and cater to the needs of its Japanese customers in the electronic and semiconductor industries, SCHOTT set up a joint venture with NEC, NEC SCHOTT Components, in the year 2000. NEC SCHOTT is a manufacturing company of hermetic glass-to-metal seals for the protection of sensitive electronics such as sensors, thermal fuses, battery covers and many more. Key applications for these products include opto-electronics, home appliances, automotive, frequency control as well as various other high-tech uses.