Mumbai-headquartered semi-rigid plastic carton manufacturer Trimpack has ventured in PET box printing and converting with the commissioning of a brand new Bobst Ambition 76 A1 folder-gluer. Until now, Trimpack has been printing and converting PVC and PP boxes for customers in the textiles, FMCG and stationery industry.
“We have seen a gradual decline in demand for PVC boxes over the years so we thought of diversifying into PET as a third alternative in our portfolio. However, PET is not an easy substrate to process and finish so we needed a very robust solution in our converting department and that is why we bought the Bobst folder-gluer,” says Pranay Bhargava of Trimpack.
Given the size of the investment involved, Trimpack management did look for other alternatives in the market. However, considering the long-term outlook, it finally settled for the Bobst Ambition folder-gluer given the advantages it offers. Bhargava says that factors such as high speed, high accuracy, Bobst brand name and top class Bobst after-sale service tipped the scale in favor of Bobst. The Bobst Ambition folder-gluer placed at Trimpack features a speciality plastic kit which can process PP, PET and PVC cartons without leaving any scratches.
The machine has been housed at Trimpack’s 27,000 square foot Daman plant, which also has two Heidelberg offset printing presses and other converting machinery. The company took the delivery of the Bobst folder gluer in December 2018. The Ambition at this moment is not running at full capacity as the company is in the phase of getting fully trained in the workings of the technology. Two of Trimpack’s operators are being trained at Bobst’s Pune plant.
“As I mentioned, PET is not an easy substrate to process and therefore we are taking our time to fully understand how the Bobst Ambition technology works. We have been running the machine and have also processed commercial orders but we will take some more time to reach full capacity. So, the folder-gluer should be fully running sometime in July,” Bhargava says.
Once the Ambition starts operating at full capacity, Trimpack’s converting capacity will rise from 75 tons per month to 125 tons per month.
New avenues open up
As Trimpack diversifies into processing PET packaging cartons, the company feels it can now target customers in new segments such as food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. “As we acquire expertise in printing and converting PET cartons, we expect to acquire new clients as well as new jobs from our existing clients. Some of our clients have already placed orders and are waiting eagerly for us to start full production,” says Bhargava. Not only domestic market, but Trimpack also expects to make an impression in exports. At this moment, the company is not exporting cartons directly but is hopeful to do so with PET cartons.
“We are well equipped to compete in the global marketplace both in terms of ex-factory prices and quality. Our main competitors are Chinese but we can give them a fight. However, since we have never exported directly we will first need to understand the whole process and the kind of support government provides to exporters and how it impacts the final export prices. All these avenues will be explored as we go forward,” he argues.
Rising demand for plastic cartons in India
The market for semi-rigid plastic cartons is still a niche one in India but it is expanding rapidly. Many Indian brands are now using clear plastic cartons to pack their products as it gives a premium look. “Clear plastic cartons are expensive compared to paper ones and therefore the size of the market is smaller but it is now growing very rapidly. We have seen a demand spike especially in the last five years given that now a lot of Indian brands have started offering products in the premium segment. They are now ready to spend on great looking packaging,” Bhargava concludes.