Headquartered in Mumbai, ACG is one of the biggest suppliers in the world, offering end-to-end manufacturing solutions for the pharmaceutical industry. The company’s product portfolio includes empty hard pharmaceutical capsules, encapsulation machinery, tablet coating systems, tablet compression systems, fluid bed equipment, tablet tooling, and performance enhancers along with online and inline analytical and inspection systems. In addition, the company also offers blister packing, high barrier packaging films, carton packing machines, camera inspection systems, and end-of-line case packers. ACG has four business units, including capsules, films and foils, engineering, and inspection systems.
Pharmaceutical capsules from six factories around the world
Speaking about ACG’s businesses, Peter Neve, the company’s chief marketing officer, says, “Almost 50 years ago, ACG started this capsules business. We are now a very high-volume capsule manufacturer, and we produce over 100 billion capsules in a year. We have six factories around the world for making capsules with a wide range of options.”
ACG was a premier exhibitor in the CPhI exhibition held at Greater Noida from 26 to 28 November 2019. According to Neve, the focus of this exhibition was the HPMC vegetable capsule. He proudly states that ACG has a capsule for every application, “We have a wide range of capsule options for the pharmaceutical companies. If they have any formulation, and they want to put it in a capsule, we can offer the right form of capsules such as delayed-release, inhalation capsules, and many more.”
Speaking about the second pillar of the business – blister packaging, Neve says, “We are the only supplier in India that makes and supplies both films and foils. We understand that each product requires a unique combination of oxygen, light, and moisture barrier for protection in its shelf life. With a range of barrier properties in our films, we help our customers select the right material based on their requirements.”
Engineering business and IoT
The engineering business is the third pillar and, in particular, the machine business, which was also a focus this time at the company’s stand at CPhI in Greater Noida. At the exhibition, ACG introduced its next-generation production, packaging, and inspection machinery. According to Neve, the NXT Series are future-ready machines to provide smart user experience to ACG’s customers. “We have updated the industrial design of all of our products, and we have given IOT support on all these machines to monitor each machine remotely, and to improve support and protective maintenance of spare parts. We strongly believe that all of these things help our customers to be more productive and efficient with their equipment,” he says.
Under the NXT series, the machines included are Protab 300 NXT, Protab 700 NXT, BMax NXT, KartonX NXT, Verishield CS18 NXT. “We have standardized our whole product range, and the user interface on each machine to give our customers the same kind of experience on each machine we have.”
Apart from this, ACG is also working on augmented reality (AI), which it uses for training machine operators wherein that they can visualize the machine parts on a touchpad or headset. AI visualization is also used for remote maintenance and troubleshooting support. Neve confidently says, “ACG is one of the companies that is doing it, while many others are only talking about this.”
Inspection and track and trace
The company’s fourth pillar is inspection and track and trace, which uses camera and inspection systems for the traceability of products in the supply chain. Explaining ACG’s serialization process, Neve adds, “We have a unique level of serialization for each level of packaging. We can trace every product through the supply chain, for example, through the wholesaler, through the retailer to the end consumer.”
IOT affordability and user-friendly interface
Neve admits that the prices of the NXT machines will increase slightly because of built-in IoT. However, the operators can train themselves on these user-friendly machines.
ACG’s machine manufacturing site is in Pune, while a design center equipped with the latest technology is in Europe. While some of the engineering in Mumbai, Neve adds, “The machines designed in Europe have the highest market demand. With this business model, customers can have advanced design and a valuable product.”
Global quality for Indian customer
“ACG offers global quality for Indian customers. There are not so many companies in India that are globally well known. Some companies are known for some of their brands but not as the core group company. ACG is moving towards a global operation, and for that, the company has offices around the world, and factories in Europe and South America,” he continues.
According to Neve, with its range of products, ACG is very well placed in the global market. “We have always focussed on India, and it is still our core market. ACG wants to be a global leader in pharma manufacturing and is focussed on helping its customers to make better products with its machinery. We are not a pharmaceutical company, but we are partnering with pharmaceutical companies to create a healthier world!”