Founded in 1948, Pune-based Nichrome produces form fill and seal equipment for milk packaged in flexible pouches. It later branched out to linear electronic weigh fillers for tea pouches and bags.
The company produces multilane, tiny-sachet machines and vertical and horizontal form, fill and seal machines. The business now specializes in integrated packaging solutions by providing all services under one roof, from product packaging to extended shelf life packaging equipment.
With the trend toward hygienic packaging and longer shelf life, Nichrome showed its Athena MAP (modified atmosphere packaging) food tray sealing packaging machine at the PackPlus exhibition. Fresh fruit, vegetables, meats, dairy products, baked goods, sweets, and savory items can preserve their freshness and extend their storage and shelf life with MAP. It is being widely used by the big sweet houses and outlets in the country.
“There are people around who are not having the information about the subject. We built the first milk packaging machine in India and have 40 years of trade knowledge for packaging. Value-added sweets are a milk derivative, so we know the subject and can efficiently handle these,” said Parag Patwardhan, vice-president of sales and marketing at Nichrome.
Every sweet is different, containing milk fat, sugar, edible colors, and some additives – these require a special and sensitive understanding of the application and the customer’s requirements. He added, “We have incorporated everything in our technology. We are maintaining the minimum residual oxygen that can extend the product’s shelf life by combining three gases- nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and oxygen. Our USP is that Nichrome understands application engineering and has built the Athena machine accordingly.
“However, the sweets shop owner is not an industry person and only focuses on the product and the application.” For this reason, the company is also working on the lifecycle support of the product. Nichrome has 37 service centers in pan-India. “Whenever any company needs help in any product’s lifecycle, Nichrome is there to support. First, we understood the application, then we built a machine. We don’t end here. We support the customer throughout the product’s lifecycle,” said Patwardhan.
Consumers in India want everything fresh and to have an extended expiry date. The expiry date depends not only on the machine and the product but also on the barrier film and the used container tray. Nichrome claims its solutions can provide a shelf life of 7 to 120 days for most perishable products.
Nichrome can handle liquid, viscous, solid, grain, and powder across the market segment for food, pharma, and non-food. “The filing system is not only for the flexible packaging but also for the rigid packaging. In the filing system, we take care of the handling and conveying of the product to deliver the end-to-end packaging solution for the filling systems,” explains Patwardhan.
Nichrome claims it is growing by 5 to 7% annually. At the time of the Covid-19 pandemic, the company was paused to an extent. “Covid-19 gave us new market segments and a good time to think and explore. Thus our future expansion would be toward the export market. Currently, we are in Russia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Africa, and the Middle East. We are planning to also reach South America and Southeast Asia in the next three years,” concluded Patwardhan.