Constantia-Parikh’s new Rs. 100 crore plant for flexo printed PE films

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At Plastindia 2018, Constantia Flexibles showcased four categories of packaging solutions under the motto ‘Packaging Unleashed’ — Interactive Packaging, Pharma, Sustainability and Innovations. The Austrian flexible packaging solutions provider also announced plans at the event to expand production capacity of its Indian subsidiary Parikh Packaging, in Ahmedabad, Gujarat with a Rs. 100 crore investment in a new greenfield plant.

The company broke ground in mid-2017, at the new greenfield site close to the existing Parikh production plant. Already under construction, the new plant’s first production line will consist of a polyethylene blown film extruder, a high-definition wide web CI flexo printing press and laminators to produce high barrier laminates that can be fully recycled.

“Our investment strengthens Parikh Packaging’s credentials as a leading provider of innovation and service to customers in the Indian subcontinent,” states Stefan Grote, executive vice president of the food division at Constantia Flexibles. “Major FMCGs are demanding the highest level of sustainability for their packaging material and they will have to comply with upcoming Indian Plastic Waste Management (PWM) regulations that promote only fully recyclable flexible packaging.”

Parikh Packaging has been part of Constantia Flexibles since 2013, and its production unit in Ahmedabad includes rotogravure printing machines, PE extruders, various lamination technologies and pouch making. The full ISO-certified supplier to the domestic and global food HPC markets has more than 500 employees.

“In India, sustainability is a huge issue. We were working for the last three years to develop a structure which can be fully recycled. We have developed a laminate which will come from a single family so that you can easily recycle it and at the same time it will have barrier properties like those of multilayers laminates. Thus we have taken care of both sustainability and barrier properties,” says Pavan Parikh, managing director and vice president, Parikh Packaging.

Constantia 1Constantia Flexibles stand at Plastindia 2018. Photo PSA

Parikh informed us that Parikh Packaging’s customers will not have to change any technology at their end and will not have to undergo any capital expenditure to use the new laminate. “This will be a win-win situation for all stakeholders,” he says.

The new plant will come on stream in 2019 and supply flexible packaging to leading multinationals in the food and home and personal care (HPC) product industries in India. Parikh Packaging has been conducting trials of the new laminate with its Indian customers and, according to Parikh, the initial feedback has been very good. “I am positive that once the laminate is in the market, brand owners will accept it. We expect that segments such as detergent powders and seeds to be the first movers,” Parikh shares.

Parikh also believes that as recyclable laminates gain traction in the Indian market, employment generation can get a massive boost as brand owners work with collection agents and the wider recycling industry. “This will give a big push to Indian recycling industry and I think in next 3 to 5 years a large number of people can be employed in this industry,” he argues.

Quick expansion at the new plant
To begin with the new plant will have one line with a single CI flexo press but the expansion is expected to be rapid. Parikh says that the second line is planned to be added within three to four months of the start of production. “The plan is to ultimately have 3 to 4 lines,” he says.

Interactive packaging from Constantia
Leveraging the growing digitization wave, Constantia Flexibles has developed Constantia Interactive – packaging solutions for interactive packaging in the food and pharmaceutical industries, that were displayed at Plastindia 2018. Constantia Interactive opens a multitude of digital communications and marketing opportunities by turning the packaging itself into a communication channel.

“Brands want to interact with customers and are looking to make packaging ‘wow’ again. So, we came up with the idea of interactive packaging,” says Thomas Schulz, who looks after food marketing and is group vice president of the Constantia Flexibles group at Plastindia.

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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– Naresh Khanna

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