Packaging is one sector that has made itself a part of the essential supply chains in the Covid-19 pandemic. It is an industry that has not been entirely derailed by the lockdowns of the past year and whose long-term optimism has strengthened. When a packaging company scales up, it takes on the complexity of increasing demands for compliances with regulations, the compulsions of sustainability, and the competitive pressures exerted by customers whose idea of simplification is merely bringing down prices.
In a year that wreaked havoc on the economy, some industry insiders are pleased that newcomers were discouraged. The equipment and consumable manufacturers are more comfortable with experienced companies who have a better appreciation of higher technology, faster speeds in printing and converting, and better inputs of raw materials such as films, inks, coatings, and adhesives. Improved technology in prepress and automation at every stage of the packaging supply chain from prototype to filling and sealing and end-of-line with track and trace are inevitable.
In the second half of 2020, we were made aware of the robust pipeline for film lines in the coming years till at least 2023 or 2024 to South Asia and mainly to India. The first of a dozen large film extrusion line installations are expected to begin in the last quarter of 2021.
We were able to speak with experts who assured us that significant projects were under discussion and at an advanced stage. Slowly, we began to put names to these projects, including some of the country’s large polyester and BOPP film manufacturers. Polyester lines that have held sway in the Indian market still predominate, but of the twelve lines mentioned, four were BOPP lines. Since then, we have slightly recalibrated the numbers to a baker’s dozen – 9 polyester lines and 4 BOPP lines.
Susanne Bluml in Germany interviewed Reinhard Priller, Brückner’s Director of Sales, who confirmed our information. In the interview, Priller also answers several questions about the sustainability of mixed polymer laminates. He points out that Brückner can now provide film manufacturing lines that can produce polyester or polyethylene films. He also suggests that lines can be configured with ultra-thin coating possibilities to enhance film barrier properties and perhaps obviate the need for mixed polymers in some cases.
As Priller points out, these features are add-ons that should be provided beforehand. To a large extent, since film lines generally have a life of 20 years, many of the new features are retrofittable as long as space has been allowed in the original installation. A great deal of Brückner Servtec’s work is the modification, automation, retrofitting, and modernization of its machines in the field.
When Bluml questions how many of the India orders include the provision of pre-equipment for reconfiguring or options, Priller answers, “about 10%.” As to the extra cost for the pre-equipment, he says, “about 10 to 15%.” He also talks about Brückner’s research in making machines that can produce better and lighter films and packaging structures to demonstrate some of the possibilities for flexible film producers and converters.
Priller talks about what Bruckner will be showing at Chinaplas in April 2021 – “We still have some ideas for the packaging market to reduce energy consumption. Furthermore, we would like to push our BOPE/BOPP hybrid lines: We have also produced films in our pilot plant that have been processed into packaging. At Chinaplas, we will present the basic film and possibly also a few packaging samples. So Brückner is not only pushing research and development for machines but also for films.”
Please read the full interview click here