Pluss Advanced Technologies (Pluss) started with research and development (R&D) and manufacturing of specialized polymers with its launch in 1994. In 2007, the company ventured into the field of Phase Change Materials (PCMs) technology. In 2012, it raised equity funds from Tata Capital Innovations Funds and forayed into commercialized temperature control solutions using proprietary materials, which addressed the unmet needs of temperature control across refrigeration, cold storage, cold-chain logistics, and HVAC in the pharma and healthcare sectors. Today, Pluss has a global presence with a subsidiary in the Netherlands.
Pluss recently introduced Celsure, a range of temperature-sensitive shipper packaging solutions that empowers pharma companies and 3PL by offering a transport solution that is said to be precise as well as passive. “The packaging solution is designed to endure varied temperature zones and transitions without affecting the temperature of the product inside. Pluss offers a host of services with the Celsure product. One of the services that offers predictability and pre-validation is its capability to offer a computer-aided simulation of the outcome in relation to varying product loads and ambient conditions,” said Samit Jain, managing director of Pluss.
Ensuring viability of vaccines, enzymes and supplements
Pluss pioneered the technology of Phase Change Materials (PCM) in India and has been at the forefront of bringing PCM-based shipping solutions for pharma with the launch of Celsure in 2017, Jain told Packaging South Asia. “When we used to travel to different countries and pharma summits, it was inspiring to see the advancements and seriousness of the supply chain of pharma products. At the same time, it was disheartening to learn that in India, critical vaccines and pharma products were still using gel packs or ice-based packaging solutions – one of the major causes of more than 25% rejections of vaccines. We are trying to bring world-class standards and technology to the pharma and healthcare sector in India,” he added.
Vaccines are extremely sensitive to temperatures since some vaccines contain weakened or inactivated viruses. Exposure to high temperatures can potentially kill or weaken the viruses. Most vaccines need a temperature of +2 to +8 degrees C for optimum efficiency. “Celsure uses a combination of design engineering to ensure the ambient temperature maintained for vaccines does not deviate from the prescribed range,” Jain said.
Enzymes also need a temperature range within which they remain stable. Depending on the type of enzymes, this range could vary between 0 degrees C and +60 degrees C, he said, adding that for supplements, the ideal storage temperature is between +15 and +25 degrees C. “The decision to maintain the temperature depends on the criticality, the viability of cost and, importantly, the tolerance of the product to temperatures beyond its prescribed range. Celsure can cover the entire spectrum and offer bespoke solutions,” Jain said.
The role of standard operating procedures and good distribution practices are critical and these factors would need to evolve to increase the efficiency of the supply chain, he added. “Temperature control shipping solutions such as Celsure should be integrated with a real-time data monitoring system to study and benchmark the outcomes against the baseline. Today, there is easier access to information and technology, which pharma and healthcare companies should take advantage of to evolve the supply chain and distribution practices from the point of improving supply chain competency by using sustainable solutions without compromising on temperature integrity,” he said.
The company has received several awards and recognition, including the National Technology Day award from the Government of India twice, in 2017 and 2021; and the CII Innovation award twice in 2014 and 2017. It has received the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Innovators under 35 awards, in 2016 and 2017. Since 2021, Pluss has become a subsidiary of Carborundum Universal (CUMI), a Murugappa Group company.
Polymers business vertical
Pluss also has a range of product lines under the specialty polymers business vertical. BindEX, which is a chemically modified polyethylene adhesive resin with enhanced adhesion characteristics has a huge scope in the packaging industry, Jain said. This product has been validated to solve adhesion problems between dissimilar materials. It is common knowledge in the industry that two dissimilar layers are difficult to be bonded, this is because different materials do not have an affinity to bond with each other effectively.
BindEX has been used in the development of various FMCG packaging materials such as laminated tubes for ointments, toothpaste, medicines, and a host of packaging solutions that we use on a day-to-day basis, he said. The unique need for these packaging materials is to provide barrier properties against heat, moisture, and solar radiation and one material alone cannot address all these issues. Therefore the solution is to use multi-layer structures of different materials for flexible or rigid packaging, he said.