Michelman Innovation Centre in Mumbai fully operational

New material innovations spurred by pandemic

Coating machine at Michelman Innovation Centre for Coatings in Mumbai

With the lockdown easing considerably in Mumbai, Michelman India reopened Michelman Innovation Centre for Coatings (MICC) in June. It has resumed full operations in September and started inviting select visitors, says Aditi Ullal, marketing manager–Michelman India to Packaging South Asia.

“Our Indian team worked from home during the lockdown, while our global manufacturing plants remained operational throughout the pandemic. We also have kept an inventory of select products in our local warehouses to ensure excellent customer service. Meanwhile, the MICC in Mumbai has resumed all operations,” she said.

The MICC was inaugurated in January 2018 to allow fast and efficient development of sustainable packaging solutions for Indian brand owners, paper, board, and flexible packaging, paper, and film manufacturers, and printers and converters. The center has a comprehensive set of sophisticated testing equipment like Mocons for OTR/MTVR testing, Gelbo tester, and hot tack testing. It also has a full-time staff of highly trained and skilled personnel who know packaging material specifications and how to use and look after the precision instruments.

Aditi Ullal, marketing manager–Michelman India
Aditi Ullal, marketing manager–Michelman India

The development center’s centerpiece is a dual-station pilot coater laminator that allows brand owners, converters, and film manufacturers to test new concepts without stopping their production lines. Together with the measuring and testing, the center provides instant results and feedback of experimental structures to be immediately altered, rerun on the pilot coater, and re-tested in continuous iterations. Without this kind of facility, it is challenging to research and develop new materials and packaging structures productively.

“We have again started to welcome select visitors back to the MICC and actively engage with our customers to help them develop prototypes of recyclable packaging structures. It’s great seeing our customers face to face, even when following social distancing rules,” Ullal adds.

Successful collaborations to meet Covid-19 challenges

During the Covid-19 related lockdown, Michelman India worked closely with customers to bring out innovative solutions. Recently, Aryan Paper Group and BN Pack used its HydraBan water-based coatings to enhance the performance of lightweight corrugate-based beds, which are being used at Covid-19 hospitals.

“Collaboration is one of Michelman’s six core values and allows us to maintain and develop long-term, fair, and trusting relationships. We recently collaborated with the Aryan Paper Group, BN Pack, and other companies that have played an active role in India’s Covid-19 response by creating corrugate-based hospital beds for hospitals and quarantine centers,” Ullal says.

Paperboard and corrugated board treated with Michelman water-based coatings provide good barrier properties and are often the best combination for environmentally friendly packaging or other innovative structures such as temporary hospital beds. Michelman’s HydraBan coating makes these beds water-resistant to withstand mopping and to disinfect for repeated use. Furthermore, the coated corrugated paperboard beds are 100% recyclable, lightweight, and durable.

Michelman India worked with the entire packaging industry during the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic increased the demand for packaging in general, with a sharper focus on new and improved recyclable packaging solutions.

“The foodservice industry has also evolved since the emergence of COVID-19. The requirement of takeaway containers and cartons for food packaging has increased. We have collaborated with many companies to develop paper containers that are oil and grease resistant and water repellent. These coatings replace polyethylene and are recyclable and repulpable. Since the MICC’s reopening in June, we are actively working on several projects with brand owners, converters, film manufacturers, and paper mills,” Ullal says.

New PFAS-free coatings launched

Per- or poly-fluorinated alkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of over 4,700 industrial chemicals widely used in everyday products from food packaging, toiletries and non-stick cookware to clothing and carpets. The PFAS used in our everyday products leak into our environment during production, use, and disposal, and now contaminate our blood, water, air and food.

Ullal tells us that Michelman has recently announced the certification of three high-performance PFAS-free products, Michem Coat 2000, Michem Coat 525, and Hydraban 8000. These coatings have recently been certified as compliant with the specifications established by the American Society for Testing and Materials standards ASTM D6400 and D6868 per the terms and conditions of the Biodegradable Products Institute’s (BPI) certification program for compostable products.

“Michelman’s portfolio of compostable coatings is currently available in North America, with global development underway,” Ullal concludes.

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.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here