When a Russian laboratory worker analyses chemicals; a Chinese scientist tests medicinal herbs; an American forensic scientist searches for the sender of a blackmail letter or a cantonal laboratory assistant investigates pesticides in olive oil: there is a good chance that they will do this using CAMAG products. With precision instruments for thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC), mixtures of substances are separated, and the individual components made recognizable. HPTLC technology from the Muttenz-based company is used worldwide for analysis: in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries, as well as for the control of foodstuffs or medicinal plants, for the analysis of cosmetic products or in forensic toxicology.
Founded in 1958, the company employs 60 people and is the world number one in this niche market. The instrument manufacturer’s customers also value its extensive expert knowledge, which enables individual solutions to problems and continuous product development. Hundreds of devices are produced each year, 92 percent of which are destined for export.
Developing and selling visions
CAMAG was nominated for the Export Award 2019, thanks to its clever strategy in developing international markets. How has the Swiss SME managed to establish itself in over 100 countries? “On the one hand, our success is based on the continuously optimized technology and high quality of our products,” says Business Development Manager Stefan Gaugler, “and, on the other, on the worldwide sales network with partners that we have selectively hand-picked, sustainably built up and regularly train.” To gain a foothold in new markets, the company used existing relationships or contacted trading companies, in addition to establishing initial contacts with potential customers and partners at conferences and trade fairs.
The key markets of China, Germany, France, India and the USA are served by subsidiaries or long-standing joint venture companies. They are part of the consistent long-term strategy, in which it is “not products, but visions and country-specific solutions [that] are presented.” “And this, as before, in friendly cooperation with local partners,” Stefan Gaugler stresses.
A new mainstay
CAMAG now also wants to make a name for itself in the field of dry blood analysis. “Thanks to our fully automated sample processing system, this procedure, which is decades old and was previously complex, can be carried out more easily, quickly and cost-effectively,” says Gaugler. The market for this is large: “In the industrialized countries, the blood of all newborns is tested, and dry blood analysis is also used among other things for alcohol and drug tests or in research.” The proven export strategy is intended to ensure that CAMAG also becomes an internationally renowned label in this area with its high-quality products.