Sparsh produces high barrier CPP films using Bobst’s AluBond

Sparsh Industries' aggressive expansion plan in the coming years

Ashutosh Agarwal, CEO of Sparsh Industries

Sparsh Industries is the first company in India to have the Bobst AluBond process on a wide web machine and is achieving excellent barrier properties as a result. The Expert K5 3300mm-wide metallizer was commissioned in June 2020 and is producing metalized CPP with an oxygen barrier of less than 10 cm3/(m2 d) and a water or moisture barrier of less than 0.50 g/(m2 d). The AluBond process enables substrates to achieve higher bond strength results without any modification. The PSA desk has slightly edited the interview submitted to us by Bobst Manchester in the United Kingdom, mainly for style.

Bobst’s long relationship with Sparsh, based in Kanpur in North India, exceeds a decade. In these years, four of its metallizers have been installed and commissioned at Sparsh. Incorporated in 2009, Sparsh Industries is a well-known and reputed manufacturer of polyester and metalized films marketed under its ‘SPARSHPET’ brand. With its metalized films available in numerous optical densities for various applications, Sparsh also manufactures CPP films, customized holographic film and paper, offline coated products, and polyester resins.

The company has advanced R&D and testing facilities for process innovation and product development. In a major expansion mode, Sparsh Industries is developing an aluminum foil rolling plant and an additional polyester film and polymer plant. Ashutosh Agarwal, CEO of Sparsh Industries, is extremely satisfied with how the new metallizer is running, and we decided to speak to him to find out more.

Thank you, Mr Agarwal, for taking the time to speak to us; firstly, can I ask you why you chose the Expert K5 and the AluBond process?

“Sparsh Industries is one of the fastest-growing conglomerates as of today, and to keep growing, we strive to provide our clients with a wide variety of safe and affordable options with sustainable packaging materials. We understand the Expert K5 is a well proven and high productivity metallizer with high- quality metalized products, making it an ideal choice for our requirements. We also have been given to understand that this K5 metallizer is optimized to handle the new generation of sustainable substrates such as CPP and CPE and better handling of more thermally sensitive materials.

“Sparsh has commissioned a 3200mm-wide cast line which is capable of producing both CPP and CPE along with mono orientation (machine direction orientation) as an added feature for improved stiffness, tensile, tearing, and barrier properties. This Expert K5’s metalizing process will give the perfect combination of value-added CPP and CPE substrates and a solution to the flexible packaging industry’s current needs.

AluBond Flexible packaging

“The AluBond process, which ensures high metal adhesion values on any substrate, gives Sparsh a competitive advantage. A high metal adhesion level translates to higher barrier properties and consequently imparts higher bond strength to the laminate. This is very impressive, and we are very happy!”

Sparsh has recently expanded its offering to offer CPP films as well – can you tell us what lead you to this decision?

“The growth of CPP films in India has been limited so far due to the lack of availability of high-quality films as well as the absence of innovative products and lesser scale of operations and production capacities. The majority of the Indian market has been dominated by BOPET and BOPP films for packaging applications. Still, CPP/CPE has its own unique properties and advantages and can be used for various laminate structures. Due to regular inquiries and demand from our customers for plain CPP and metalized films, we made the foray into CPP manufacturing and commissioned our first CPP line in July
2020. We are doing well in this area and looking forward to introducing a new product line and expanding our capacities.

“CPP, CPE, and its oriented class offer value-added features such as transparency, considerable gloss level, improved mechanical properties, higher barrier properties, good dimensional stability, and high tearing property, which means it is preferred for applications across packaging. Furthermore, the technological advancements in the industry make the product suitable for its usage in high-speed packaging machines.”

How do you think the film you are producing with the AluBond® process will benefit your customers?

“Our versatility allows us to custom make vibrant high impact printing and packaging solutions to meet the most demanding product specifications for our clients. The AluBond process has been shown to greatly increase metal bond strength and metal adhesion on the most commonly used substrates (PET, BOPP, CPP, and PE) during aluminum vacuum metallization. This leads to value-added products with consistent quality. This also makes our products stand out in the market, thus immensely benefiting our customers. Bobst is known in the industry for their handling of heat-sensitive films such as CPP, and we
felt the AluBond process definitely gives our product an edge over our competitors.”

The new normal and the Bobst Expert K5

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a big impact on all our lives and the industry – now has the pandemic affected Sparsh Industries?

“Businesses today are faced with unique challenges as they continue to steer clear of the grave effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic is changing the way we work and use technology overall. People are very cautious with their purchases and choices when it comes to packaged goods, choosing hygienic and better packaging as opposed to their choices earlier. As the entire world adjusts to the ‘new normal,’ we as business leaders needed to rethink our strategies to drive resilience and come out of this pandemic
stronger rather than weaker. We turned this challenge into an opportunity so that we not only survive but also thrive.”

Can you tell us about your current manufacturing facilities and your future development plans at Sparsh industries?

“Currently the manufacturing facilities in Kanpur are truly leading edge and have the following capacities BOPET film – two 8700 mm-wide BOPET lines with an installed capacity of 63,000 MTPA. We have a polymer plant with an installed capacity of approximately 60,000 MTPA. Also, our CPP Plant has a 3200 mm-wide line with an installed capacity of approximately 9,000 MTPA. We have five metallizers with a combined installed capacity of 29,000 MTPA.

Expert k5 metallizer

“Sparsh Industries has undertaken aggressive expansion plans for the coming years. It aims to increase its overall production capacities by adding more production lines, including value-added products in its portfolio. With the ongoing expansions, Sparsh has targeted to commission one BOPET line of 10,600 mm wide (rated capacity 48,000 MTPA) and one aluminum foil rolling plant of 2,250 mm width with a rated capacity of 29,000 MTPA in 2021. Sparsh is also targeted to commission its second polymer plant in 2022 with a rated capacity of 100,000 MTPA.”

Ashutosh Agarwal is the CEO of Sparsh Industries with a rich professional experience of more than three decades and is hands-on in manufacturing, business development, marketing, projects management, commercials & administration. He has sound technical knowledge of flexible packaging operations and applications.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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