Rajesh Srivastava, VP Sales and Marketing at Chemicals Business, UFlex, in one of the state-of-the-art labs at the Sector 57 plant in Noida, in the Delhi NCR
Rajesh Srivastava, VP Sales and Marketing at Chemicals Business, UFlex, in one of the state-of-the-art labs at the Sector 57 plant in Noida, in the Delhi NCR

Uflex, the global packaging company headquartered in Noida in the New Delhi NCR, is not merely a supplier of flexible packaging films and materials. As a pioneer, it has launched several divisions that provide equipment and consumables for its use and the entire packaging industry. These divisions include its engineering division that makes gravure and flexo printing machines, co-extrusion laminators, and pouch-making and filling and sealing machines. The Uflex chemicals division has also risen in the past dozen years to considerable prominence, becoming a significant contributor to the group’s revenues and more recently becoming a leading technology developer of inks, coating, and adhesives for the flexible packaging industry.

At end-January came the announcement that the chemicals business of Uflex had secured a patent on a process for the preparation of Epoxy ester resin under the provisions of the Patents Act, 1970. It is the first patent for the chemicals business, which will apply for a global patent in due course, as was related to us by its vice-president for sales and marketing Rajesh Srivastava on a recent visit to the plant in Sector 57.

Srivastava explained, “The new patent will ensure technical advancement in providing a process for resin preparation wherein no wastewater treatment is required, which is a significant move in the direction of sustainability. Epoxy ester resin prepared by this process will be used in radiation curing or energy curing, and therefore curing will be faster, unlike the typical Epoxy ester resin, which is thermally cured and takes a long time besides being uneconomical.”

From our understanding, this is essentially a process patent, a way of making a critical component in coatings using much less water, giving the coatings enhanced stability and chemical resistance, which can be cured with more sustainable curing systems. According to Srivastava, Uflex’s newly invented and patented approach arrests the challenges posed by conventional methods, as the Epoxy ester produced has no wastewater generation, no odor, and nor a dark color – all helpful for fast curing coatings with cost-effective processing.

On our visit, we were shown UFlex’ extensive investment and infrastructure for the research and development of inks, coatings, and adhesives for flexible packaging, cartons, labels, and paperboard. From our inexperienced point of view, the laboratories, instrumentation, and scientific workflow were extremely impressive. We were surprised to learn that the company’s chemicals business is a leading producer and exporter of these inks with double-digit year-to-year growth for several years and current production of over 40,000 metric tons.

While the division does manufacture offset inks for paperboard cartons, it specializes in UV inks and is a pioneer in the country as a producer of UV-LED cured inks and coatings. It manufactures coatings for EB curing as well. Thus in the main, it is a specialist manufacturer of high productivity and high-value consumables for flexible packaging, although it now has high-value inks for carton applications as well. The chemicals division’s expertise and capability are also a crucial part of the company’s sustainability efforts.
As the UFlex chemicals division joint president Rajesh Bhasin recently commented, “We are extremely delighted with the continued strengthening of our R&D prowess. The issuance of this patent is another step in the development of a robust portfolio for our business. It is a part of our initiative to backward integrate, using our inherent strengths. Such initiatives help us to have greater control on product quality and supply security. The unique achievement of our patent [for a process for the preparation of Epoxy ester resin] is all because of the progressive approach, years of hard work and commitment.”

Packaging South Asia — resilient, growing and impactful — daily, monthly — always responsive

The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are growing similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers. This is a large and complex canvas – the only thing that can work is your agile thinking and innovation together with our continuous learning and persistence.

The coming year looks to be an up year in this region, and this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing communication – in our rich and highly targeted business platform with human resources on the ground. Share your thoughts and plans to inspire and mobilize our editorial and advertising teams!

For editorial info@ippgroup.in — for advertisement ads1@ippgroup.in and for subscriptions subscription@ippgroup.in

– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

Subscribe Now
unnamed 1

NEWSLETTER

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Previous articleVishakha invests in new flexible packaging plant in Indonesia
Next articlePassion for pharmaceutical packaging – growth with new machine generation
Naresh Khanna
Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy. Elected vice-president of the International Packaging Press Organization in May 2023.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here