Gujarat, Ahmedabad based Windsor is one of the biggest blown film line machine manufacturers in India. Operating for more than 50 years in the country, the company is one of the earliest entrants in the plastics and rubber processing industries. Windsor has been supplying plastic molding machines, pipe extrusions machines, blown film lines and tape lines over the years. The company is now focussed on extrusion blown film lines, extrusion machines for PVC and HDPE and injection molding machines.
Collaborations and acquisitions worldwide
To upgrade its technologies, Windsor entered a technical collaboration with Italtec followed by the acquisition of Italtec’s molding business. The double platen molding machines currently offered by Windsor were an Italtech invention.
For blown film lines, Windsor entered a technical collaboration with Kunhe from Germany. Subsequently, Windsor collaborated with and acquired Swiss company THE for upgrading its extrusion applications. With these collaborations, the company got back on its high growth path.
Windsor’s market share in India
With Windsor for the past six years, deputy general manager – Sales and Marketing Manoj Singh looks after the extrusion and molding segments. Windsor claims close to 60% market share in the country’s blown film lines. While most of the demand is from Central and North India, it has customers throughout the country.
Windsor has installed more than 10 barrier lines and more than 100 non-barrier lines across the country. It has installed three 7-layer lines and more than half a dozen 5-layer lines in the past four years. “The market size in the barrier segment was pretty small and there was huge competition for these lines from major European machine suppliers such as W&H and Reifenhauser. If we imported the hot part (extruder) in the machine from Kunhe, then our cost was the same as theirs and we didn’t have any real edge. Now, with Kunhe helping us, we are supplying our own technology for the 5-layer polyolefin POD lines in India,” says Singh.
Growing importance of 5-layer non-barrier polyolefin POD lines
Singh says, “The demand for barrier and polyolefin lines in India in increasing,” adding that in days to come, “many 3-layer lines will get converted to 5-layer non-barrier polyolefin POD lines. The main reason for this is polyolefin allows the converter to downgauge without compromising strength. That permits huge raw material savings and in turn increases profits.”
He says that the barrier lines will increase their dominance of the market in the future with a rise in packaged foods. “At the end of the day, the shelf life of the packaged materials has to increase. And with time, the demand for greater shelf life will keep increasing. For example, bottled water started with 3 days’ shelf life, which has now increased to 9 months. Hence the ‘fresh’ bottled water that we buy may be months old but we still consume it,” shares Singh.
Banning plastic not the solution
Singh says that before talking about the ban on single-use plastics, one must understand what it actually is. His definition of a single-use plastic bag or film is a plastic which costs more to recycle than its production cost. “If plastic bags are banned, then milk pouches should also be banned and the ban must not merely be done where convenient. This is an eco-system and we have to maintain a balance. My view is that it is not required to ban plastic. It is more important to educate people about the reusability possibilities. The problem arose in the first place because of indiscriminate littering.
“There was a project announced by late Jayalalitha about making a one lakh kilometer long road from plastic waste. However, that project was unsuccessful. The government must also intervene to assign a proper economic value to plastic collection rather than simply banning it because it is the most pocket-friendly packaging source available in the country,” explains Singh.
Plastics debate discourages new entrants
Singh also said that the entire debate on plastics has affected the company’s business both directly and indirectly. The debate according to him has discouraged many people from entering the flexible packaging business. “When new players don’t come, the older ones will start dominating the market making huge profits. Nevertheless, we hope the situation improves in the future and that the flexible packaging segment grows,” Singh concludes.