Lahore-based Prepack Engineering has been a pioneer in Pakistan when it comes to manufacturing vertical form, fill and seal machines for packing of viscous and semi-viscous products in co-extruded multi-layered PEbased film of different specifications.
Earlier this year, Prepack exhibited at interpack where it showed its Press n Pour model which can be used to pack items such as edible oil, ghee, milk, fresh cream and mango pulp to name a few. The pack size varies, with a minimum size of 120 mm x 150 mm and the maximum being 225 mm x 350 mm. It works with coextruded 3- or 5-layer PE-based or laminated 90 to 120 micron films. The machine has the capability to produce 650 to 1000 packs per hour depending on the pack size. The Press n Pour model provides two options where the pouches can have a spout or they can have a bottle shape.
“interpack was great exhibition for all of us. It was a way to penetrate the international market and also to remind existing customers of our presence. Not only did we get leads but it has helped us venture out to different parts of the world. We are in talks with different clients from various countries including India, France, USA, and Turkey to name just a few. We are certain that in the coming future most of these talks would be finalized into something concrete,” Zain Salam, business development manager, Prepac Engineering told Packaging South Asia in an exclusive interview.
Prepac Engineering was the first collaboration between Pakistan and France and was founded in 1979. Its manufacturing plant is located in Lahore, the capital of the state of Punjab. The company has an inhouse research and development department.
2017: A good year for Prepac
A successful interpack is not the only highlight for the company this year. Prepac has managed to sell over 60-70 machines, some of which are at the assembly stages and others which have already been dispatched to clients. “If I was to have a break-up on where the machine was going, I would have to say it would be 70% export and 30% local. We do try to focus our attention towards exports as it helps us grow as a company and puts us on an international platform,” argues Salam.
The Press n Pour model, which was showcased at interpack, is the company’s latest innovation. For next year it has, Salam claims, something very exciting which would help shape the future of the market. “You would just have wait and see what we have planned for next year.”
The maturing Pakistani packaging market
Although exports are a bigger revenue generator for Prepac in the overall business, the Pakistani market is equally important for the company. Pakistan is a growing economy and has been for the past few years. The size of the country’s domestic product crossed the US$ 300 billion market recently. This growth is also driving the demand for packaging.
“The GDP has been growing steadily and global organizations have been setting up plants here. It is safe to say that the packaging sector is also growing at a steady rate. The sectors which are growing rapidly would be the snacks industry. We can see a lot of new players in the market which have given rise to new technology and faster machines. That being said, the oil industry is also shifting towards new innovations to help them reduce the cost of packing,” shares Salam.
Most of the big Pakistani convertors are investing in machines with speed and reliability, he adds. However, just like in the Indian packaging market, medium and smaller convertors still focus a lot on costs and opt for cheaper machines. “Speed is one thing but if a machine isn’t reliable then the whole process can be disrupted. The bigger players are always willing to invest in something that’s new and efficient but the smaller ones tend to make invest in what they already have due to the uncertainty of the market trend and budget constraints.”
Pack Expo participation
Just like many Indian packaging solution providers, established names from Pakistan too are eyeing the lucrative US market. Prepac is also looking to expand in that market. Although the company will not be participating in Pack Expo Las Vegas, it is planning to be there for the flagship Pack Expo International, which will be held in Chicago in October next year.