Noida-based multinational flexible packaging company and a global player in polymer sciences, Uflex declared its earnings for the quarter ending September 2020. The company posted a strong performance with consolidated revenue rising by 19.2% YoY to Rs 2234.5 crore, EBITDA increasing by 69.6% YoY to Rs 472.9 crore and net profit jumping YoY by 136% to Rs 221.8 crore in Q2 FY 2020-21. The company has registered back-to-back successful quarters where it witnessed a surge in demand for multiple lines of businesses while also adding newer clients.
Ashok Chaturvedi, chairman, and managing director, Uflex, said, “This quarter has witnessed a resurgent UFlex, despite all the Covid-19 challenges, achieving highest ever quarterly production, sales, revenue, EBITDA and PAT. We have been pivotal in providing packaged products to the end consumers during the pandemic period. To ensure that we are future-ready and have a better outreach of sustainable solutions to our clients located globally, we have been scaling up our international operations. We are glad to announce that during the quarter, we commenced commercial operations at our Russian facility which will help bring us closer to our customers in Russia and CIS markets.”
He continued, “We are eagerly waiting for a Covid-19 problem to be over which will bring focus back on sustainability in flexible packaging as we are ready to commercialize our various biodegradability initiatives.”
In Q2 FY 2020-21, Uflex introduced new product innovations and developments to set a benchmark for the packaging sector.
Collar-type form fill seal machine for snacks packaging – In sync with the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ initiative, the Engineering Business of Uflex locally developed a higher speed Collar Type Form Fill and Seal machine CT120 that has already been witnessing early success with a few big orders. CT120 is completely servo driven with an operator-friendly human interface. Uflex facilitates efficient vacuum pulling, smooth-motion cross, and vertical seal technology that delivers superior quality seal with high seal integrity. This machine runs at a speed of 120 PPM with a very low rate of on-line rejections on snack packaging applications. This is the first Indian continuous type vertical form fill seal (VFFS) machine running at this high speed with minimal rejection, meeting any international machines’ standards.
Rotary machine entry into spice packaging – UFlex entered into the spice packaging segment for the first time, thereby expanding its rotary machines portfolio. Spice is an ever-growing market segment, and this success has opened up many new business opportunities for the company. With this new introduction, spices can be packed now at a speed of 300 to 400 packs a minute in pack sizes between 15 to 25 grams.
Digital foil for ink and varnish – Digital foil has been created by the holography business by applying hot stamping foil to ink or varnish without the requirement of a die. These foils have been specifically manufactured to bond on ink, toner, or varnish while still using heat and pressure. Digital foils have a huge potential in local and global markets and have already acquired its first customer overseas.
Registered lens label for edible oil packs – Counterfeiting in the edible oil segment has posed serious challenges to the brand owners on sales and profit loss, brand dilution, unfair warranty, and supply chain loss claims. To counter this menace faced by a famous edible oil brand, Uflex customized a registered lens label that helped the brand fight counterfeiting issues. This printing technology combines features of doing registration on the holographic substrate and doing precise re-registration printing on the same substrate, making it next to impossible to replicate. The packaging of this customized holographic substrate is recyclable or biodegradable.
Labels for hand-sanitizer – Uflex developed labels for a prominent alcohol brand that pivoted to manufacturing hand sanitizers as part of its social endeavor to promote hygiene and safe health practices to meet the sudden spike in demand for hand sanitizers triggered by the on-going Covid-19 pandemic.
Toluene-free inks for food packaging – The chemicals business launched toluene-free inks for vinyl, PU and polyamide-based chemistries. Toluene free inks comply with revised guidelines issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS IS 15495:2020). These are best suited for flexible packaging segments for food, pharma, and hygiene applications.
Single solvent-free adhesives with multiple hardeners (OH) – The company launched two-component solvent-free adhesives range with one resin compatible with three different hardeners for general to medium high-performance applications. The new solvent-free adhesive is suitable for flexible packaging with hot filling applications like ketchup, juice that need sterilization. Solvent-free adhesives provide good heat resistance and are used to join layers of film and foils in medium to high-performance packaging applications. Uflex said its latest product also helps clients reduce their adhesives inventory.
Side and bottom sealing adhesive for paper bags – A water-based ‘side and bottom sealing adhesive’ for automated high-speed paper bag making machines were developed by Uflex. These bags are getting a lot of traction in the eCommerce space, especially by players like Amazon and Flipkart, to achieve their sustainability goals, it said.
Flexible packaging business
Bespoke packaging innovation for big brands – UFlex created packaging formats for big brands like Nestle, AgroTech Foods, and Olam Agro for its product variants. For Nestle’s launch of the new Maggi Chilli Garlic Fried Rice Instant Spice Mix, Uflex designed a structure for the 10-micron polyester pack comprising 6.35-micron aluminum foil and 50-micron EVOH Poly that provides excellent moisture and oxygen barrier to pack seasoning that needs aroma to be retained till its consumption.
For Agro Tech Foods Sundrop Duo Twist Wrap, the requirement was to pack confectionary in a 23-micron metalized polyester pack with twist grade that allows surface printing and anti-static coating smoother running of the pack through the machine. The combination of matted gloss printing, in which the product printed on the package looks glossy while the rest of the pack wears a matte look, catches instant attention when the pack is placed on retail shelves.
For the launch of dry fruits, spices, and rice of global food and agri-business brand Olam Agro, Uflex created laminates and pouches with a structure of 12-micron PET, 12-micron window MET PET, and 90-micron PE to pack contents with the requirement of a strong barrier to retain the aroma, nutrients, and taste within its shelf life. These single web laminates with side gusset windows offer a good view of the actual product to consumers. Uflex also gave these packs a distinctive shelf appeal using white ink separation with lacquer that lends a fusion look of metallic and matt on the pouch. In contrast, the registered matt coat makes the brand name and image of the product shine with its surroundings in a matte finish look.
Metal textured film for shelf-appeal – The metal textured film is derived when textures are incorporated on a specially formulated BOPET substrate that is made with the use of special polymers and nanomaterials to impart good reflectance, depth, and ease of processing. The films’ two variants F-Brush-M and F-Lin-M are extensively used to produce labels and provide premium quality lamination on board, graphic and advertising banners, wallpapers, automotive parts, sheet moldings, and white goods. It is available in 23, 36, and 50+ micron thickness. F-Brush-M, available in silver, gold, and rose color, is used to achieve a good brush-like effect on a metalized polyester film to give a steel look on the shelf with excellent gloss and shine. F-LIN-M is a special coated metallic linen-textured polyester film that gives excellent gloss and design with a seamless impression. Both variants are compliant with the EU and FDA standards. The film’s entire manufacturing involves no use of solvents or UV radiation, which makes the film sustainable.
Ultra-low OTR PET film for food packaging – Patent-pending film F-ULP is a coated transparent BOPET film with a barrier layer coated on one side that provides an ultra-high oxygen barrier. F-ULP has the highest level of barrier achievement, with one of the lowest OTR values in the world. The standard film has the OTR values of less than 0.4cc/m2/day, which can be reduced further down to 0.08cc/m2/day or even lower depending upon the coating thickness. The coating is said to have excellent adhesion on the substrate, which gives it good bond strength with all types of adhesive systems in multi-layered laminates. The film also offers a strong barrier against moisture, maximum crack resistance transparency, and yields cost and environmental benefits, making it a preferred film by brand owners. The film is best suited to pack dry foods, confectionaries, snacks, dairy products, perishable products, and processed foods.
BOPET film for printing and lamination application – Uflex launched an F-MSH grade polyester film for multiple printing and lamination applications. It is a mono-extruded matte finish polyester film with a high haze of more than 80% and low gloss with an excellent muted and grainy surface. This grade of polyester film is also available with corona treatment or a chemically coated side and complies with FDA and EC regulations for food packaging. This film is highly beneficial for thermal lamination, label application, board lamination, and applications that require outstanding print quality and strong stiffness.
Sealable and peelable BOPET film with water-based coating for lidding – F-TPS, a sealable and peelable polyester film with water-based eco-friendly coating, is a sustainable concept with low GSM instead of using a solvent base coated product. This film offers higher optical clarity with 4-5% haze against conventional haze products and possesses anti-fog characteristics for hot and cold conditions. This film, USFDA, and EU compliant, allows printed or metalized lids on PET variations like amorphous A-PET, recycled R-PET, and crystalline C-PET G-PET, and PVC substrate.
High oxygen barrier BOPET film for dry and chilled food packaging – Transparent high barrier polyester ‘green’ film F-PGS provides an excellent barrier against oxygen and has chlorine-free, water-based environment-friendly coating technology. The film also offers excellent flex crack resistance, unlike metal oxide coated film or aluminum metalized film. Being optically clear and thermally stable with excellent processability and its attribute to retain OTR at elevated humidity, this film is suitable for dry and chilled food and liquid packaging, said Uflex.
This article has been slightly edited on 17 November 2020.