Indian pharmaceutical machines are gaining more and more acceptance in International market. The companies are exploring advanced markets like US and Europe for their machinery.

During the 60's and 70's the pharmaceutical industry mostly imported machines from Europe for their processing and packaging needs. We are all familiar with big names like Aeromatic, Glatt, Fete, Manesty, Kilian, Hofliger & Karg, Hassia, Sparkler, Stunk, Zanasi etc. who are all very well known for the technology in their respective fields.

But the mid 70's saw the country going through a severe shortage of foreign exchange and therefore the Indian government introduced very high import duties and restrictive import licensing policies. This forced all the pharmaceutical companies to encourage some Indian engineering enterprises to manufacture machines locally. Thus a scenario was created whereby 100's of machinery manufacturers mushroomed to cater to the needs of 1000's of pharmaceutical companies over a period of time.

Indian pharmaceutical manufacturing cost much lower than Bangladesh and this was made possible due the huge savings on capital investment of plant and machinery besides cheap technical manpower costs.

The Indian pharmaceutical machinery industry is currently catering to the segments of tableting, capsulation, powder processing, material handling, R&D equipment and instrumentation, coating, bulk drug plant installation etc.

In India, there are around 800 pharmaceutical machine manufacturing and allied utility service units in the small and medium sector, with the estimated turn over of Rs. 2,000 crore, out of which approx. 40% is being exported across the world in more than 80 countries, including USA, Europe, UK, and all the developed and developing nations Though only few companies have made a mark in the area of branded market, a majority of these units undertake job works and supply of custom made machineries taking the location advantage of buyers.

The small scale industries that have been providing technical assistance necessary to support the growing requirements of plant and machinery for the drugs and pharmaceutical companies who couldn't afford to import machineries as it was commercially unviable due to the high import duty structure that prevailed from the 70's till the 90's. Today import duties have come down substantially but the drastic depreciation of the Indian rupee over the years makes import of foreign machines very restrictive to a handful of Indian pharmaceutical companies.

The pharmaceutical machineries made by India are installed and under operations at all the FDA Approved manufacturing facilities in USA, Australia, Africa, etc. meeting the parameters of complete satisfactions.

The high credentials goes to strict quality standards adopted by the pharmaceutical machinery manufacturers in India, which had lead some of the Indian companies have entered in to the technical tie-ups / joint ventures with USA, Europe and South East Asian companies to manufacture their products in India and being marketed in all Asian and CIS countries. Emerging markets such as China, Russia, Turkey and Korea had double digit growth rate.

Most of the players in the roughly estimated Rs.750 – Rs.1500 crores odd pharmaceutical machinery market spread into various segments, is cashing in on the business opportunity in the excise free zones of Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttaranchal, where more than 300 formulation units are coming up. Indian pharmaceutical machinery manufacturers have also realized the importance of setting up CNC machines to get quality output and are adding new features like VFD, PLC etc. to their machines. They export their products to regulatory markets today. They want machines that are approved by either US-FDA or UK-MCA.

The manufacturers stress on getting quality certifications like ISO approvals and improved manufacturing environment. Many manufacturers have set up imported prototype machines with CF approvals.

Collaborations and technology transfer from established players in Europe and US are also taking place in the domestic machinery-manufacturing segment. Compliance to CFR21, Part 11 and investing in HRD by taking professional to meet the challenges of international market are also emerging trends in the Indian pharma machinery-manufacturing segment.

The association Indian Pharma Machinery Manufacturers Association (IPMMA) contributes by organizing technical seminars about new developments.

Many of the leading machinery manufacturers have entered the regulated markets in developed countries. Several Indian players now sell their machinery to units coming up in places like Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Finland and in some semi-regulated markets like Latin America, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.

Imported pharma machine market is estimated to be valued at Rs.350 crore and may see a two-fold increase going by the visible market trends for sophisticated automated systems in the formulation drug production. This market is expected to grow at 30 per cent going by the demand. The indigenous pharma machinery market is valued at Rs.700 crore and will consolidate its presence.

The Indian pharmaceutical companies always prefer domestically manufactured machinery than the imported ones due to their easy adaptability, cost and user friendliness, latest design & technology, and above all better after sales services.

With the emergence of global multinationals in the Indian market and steep increases in the cost of all major raw material inputs, the industry faces a challenging future. In Medium-sized packaging companies only 25 percent of the methodology is automated and 75 percent is manual. The pharmaceuticals and personal care machinery market will reach $5.7bn by 2013.