After attending Pack Expo International, North America’s biggest packaging show, last year in Chicago for the first time, I was fortunate to be at interpack in Dusseldorf for the first time this year. interpack, the world’s biggest packaging and processing show, offers great insight into the scale of global packaging and processing industry, with some of the biggest companies showing their latest technology and solutions.
With my focus being particularly on the South Asian exhibitors, especially Indian companies, I was keen to witness what they had in offer for the global market. Similar to Pack Expo International, there were many Indian companies making their debut at interpack this year, which indicates their growing confidence in their product offerings and their willingness to establish a firmer footprint in developed markets such as the US and Europe. Close to 100 Indian companies exhibited in Dusseldorf, with the participation mainly dominated by packaging film manufacturers and convertors who had some of the biggest and most attractive stands. There were packaging machine manufacturers showcasing their prowess and technologies as well as their advancements in the latest food and pharmaceutical applications. While there were a few exhibitors from Pakistan, there were none from Bangladesh or Sri Lanka.
Indian film manufacturers focus on specialty products
The Indian exhibitor presence at interpack was largely dominated by film manufacturers, both big and small, which pointed to the fact that India is now a significant supplier of films and not only just a buyer. Some of India’s leading players in the space, including Flex Films, Jindal Polyfilms, Cosmo Films, Chiripal Polyfilms, SRF, and Sumilon, promoted their products and saw fair to excellent interest from visitors.
With very little margin in the commodity films segment, Indian manufacturers are gradually moving towards specialty films with focus on high barrier films, which Anantshree Chaturvedi of Flex Films calls the “holy grail for film manufacturers.” Flex Films is in the midst of a transition from commodity films towards having a focused portfolio of specialty films, Chaturvedi informed.
For SRF, another key Indian manufacturer of BOPET and BOPP films, it was their second participation in interpack. This time SRF showcased some of its specialty grade films for which it received rave reviews from both convertors and distributors.
The growing influence of Indian film suppliers in developed markets like Europe was attested by a statement of Chiripal Polyfilms’ Avinash Pandey, who said that his company faced the fiercest competition from Indian companies. Chiripal, which produces BOPP and BOPET films and PET resins, also displayed its specialty products like alox films and high barrier films.
In addition to Indian biggies, there were other small but ambitious players like Surat-based Alpha Plastomers, which was at interpack for the second time. The company is a manufacturer of flexible packaging solutions like POF shrink films and speciality products such as collation shrink films and mulch films. After a successful first Pack Expo International, Alpha is optimistic about its future in Europe as well.
Indian convertors look West
As Indian convertors go in for upgradation of technology, they are looking to service customers in mature markets like Europe. In the past few years, Hyderabad-based Shrinath Rotopack has invested in state-of-the-art printing technology and has been actively focusing on US and European markets. Some of the highlights of Shrinath Rotopack’s technology are seven Rotomec rotogravure presses as well as two Bobst F&K CI flexo 8-color presses. It participated for the first time at Pack Expo International last year and was also at interpack for the first time in May this year.
Mumbai’s Sanjeev Flexi Pack too has been actively participating in major global packaging shows as exports make up a big portion of its business. At interpack, the company was seen promoting its large format bags, which are mainly 15 kg or more in size and are used in packing items such as rice, flour, fertilisers, and pet food.
Faridabad-based Skypack India, with its ambition of gaining a firmer ground in the European market, returned to interpack for the second time. Along with its tube laminates and laminated tubes, the company also promoted its flexible packaging solutions such as lidding films, 3- and 5-layer blown films, 3-layer cast films and preformed pouches.
A positive feedback
A general consensus among Indian participants, both regular and recent ones, was that coming to interpack 2017 was worthwhile. Not only did they meet potential clients but also gained useful insight into the latest global trends. The only flipside to the show was felt by participants in the India Pavilion, who complained of low footfall. They blamed poor advertising and promotion for the lack in footfall. Many said they would prefer a stand in one of the main halls for the next interpack.