The flexible film pipeline is robust from Q4 of 2021

The large investment pipeline in packaging

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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

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.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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