Both companies have worked together in this field for several years, and are therefore confident that the new enterprise, entitled Schott SIG Barrier Technologies, will become the global market leader within the field in a short space of time.
Clear barrier layers help preserve beverages contained in plastic bottles for a longer period of time, and the market for these products is predicted to continue to grow. Coated PET barrier bottles are increasingly being used in juice and soft drink packaging, for example.
"Over the next three years, the revenue we achieve with coating modules will triple and make up a high double-digit million Euro figure," said Dr Udo Ungeheuer, chairman of the board of management at Schott. The company expects this to eventually lead to as many as 50 new jobs at the Schott SIG site in Mainz.
The primary objective behind the joint venture is to develop new methods of coating plasma and supply SIG Corpoplast with Plasma Impulse Chemical Vapour Deposition (PICVD) coating components for use in food packaging.
"This glass-like coating enables us to combine the advantages of both glass and PET, including gas impermeability and resistance to breakage," said Dr Stephan Behle, managing director of Schott SIG Barrier Technologies. "The inside coating prevents PET from releasing material into beverages."
However, this is not solely limited to the PET segment. Both firms are confident that the new technology will be applicable on containers made of other types of plastics.
Schott originally developed PICVD to coat and refine glass. When Schott founded HiCotec in 2001, the company extended the use of PICVD coating technology to plastic applications.
The coating module manufactured in Mainz will be marketed exclusively by SIG Corpoplast in Hamburg. Installation and sales will be managed as they were in the past. SIG Corpolast will also have sole responsibility for after sales service.
SIG and Schott expect this joint venture to result in more effective bundling of the individual potentials for innovation that exist in both companies. SIG Corpoplast and Schott each hold a 50 per cent share in the new company and the management team consists of one managing director from each of the two organisations.
SIG is a leading global supplier of packaging materials, facilities and service to the beverage industry with leadership positions in select markets. The SIG Beverages division is one of the world's leading suppliers of systems used to manufacture plastic packaging, as well as complete system solutions for the beverage industry.
In fiscal 2003, the SIG Group and its some 9,000 employees generated sales of €1.9 billion. Schott is an international technology group that has 18,700 employees producing worldwide sales of €2 billion.