At events in Mumbai on 23 May and in Delhi on 24 May 2018, BillerudKorsnäs presented FibreForm, the first 3D formable (stretchable) paper for the first time to Indian packaging convertors and brand owners. FibreForm paper, launched in 2009, is made of 100% primary fibres and can be bent and stretched like no other. In India, the Swedish company has tied up with TCPL and Suneja Sons for distribution and marketing of this product. TCPL will import the Fibre Form board for its own packaging innovations and also providing FibreForm 2-layer and 3-layer board laminates for consumption by other printers and converters through the paper distributor Suneja Sons – a Delhi based company that has set up an office in Mumbai and is planning to add office in other locations across India.
At the twin events Annica Rasch, global sales director, Formable, BillerudKorsnäs and Åke Reuterhage, senior technical service manager, Formable, BillerudKorsnäs informed the audience about the various properties and applications of FibreForm. They also interacted with the audience and answered their queries and of course, showed several impressive samples of the paper embossed using the autoplaten diecutters used for monocartons every day but with the provision special dies that will have to be imported at this stage.
The high formability of BillerudKorsnäs FibreForm enables unique shapes and up to ten times deeper embossing as compared to traditional papers. It can also be converted on existing packaging lines – thermoforming, pressforming and embossing. FibreForm is made from 100% primary fibers and is pure, renewable and approved for food contact. Cold-formable FibreForm paper can be used for a range of packaging applications, including paper cups, stand-up pouches, cards, cartons, formed containers, and trays and blisters.
Talking about the new launch, Rajeev Goyal, head Middle East and Indian sub-continent, Packaging Paper, BillerudKorsnäs said, “We think this is the right time to bring such a premium product to India as the Indian market is changing. Customers are now demanding paper-based packaging solutions. We see a lot of premium brands in cosmetics, perfumes, jewellery and alcohol, among others opting for this solution, primarily brands who want to position themselves as unique in the market.”
FibreForm will be available in both paper form and paper board form. “It would not have been cost effective to import FibreForm boards from Europe. So, we have tied up with TCPL who will make the boards in India and supply to Indian as well as Asian consumers. TCPL will also make prototypes using FibereForm for any customer who is interested. They have a very well-equipped infrastructure for doing so,” said Goyal.
The company has set a 2 to 3 year horizon for FibreForm to be successful in India. “In the next 2-3 years, we expect this product to be a great solution in the premium packaging segment,” said Goyal.
Present at the event, Raj Suneja of Suneja Sons sounded extremely confident about FibreForm’s success in the Indian market. Suneja Sons has also set up an office in Mumbai as a part of its expansion plans. “We are very excited about this product and the potential it has in the niche and premium segment. We will begin by targeting segments such as premium wedding and greeting cards, cosmetics and jewellery packaging, among others,” Suneja said, adding that a separate division has been created at Suneja Sons to handle FibreForm.
Talking about the Mumbai and western India market, he said that this market absorbs premium products much quicker than other parts of the country and that is why they started Mumbai operations after getting exclusive distribution rights for FibreForm. “We are already talking to a lot of potential customers and hope to get results soon. After Mumbai we plan to set up office in Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai in the near future,” Suneja said.
Akshay Kanoria of TCPL says that while it is early days for the new concept, the company is always looking to add value to the monocarton business. Although deep embossed FibreForm cartons may at first seem a short run packaging option because of the cost of the board, it could click for longer runs too. “You never know when it strikes a brand owner to use these very impressive deep embossing effects to differentiate and upsell a consumer product that needs more than just the usual gold and silver to make it stand out,” he says.
At the Delhi event, we spoke to a young packaging and tag converter who was undaunted by the price of FibreForm board, “It’s really not that much more expensive than some of the other imported boards we are using considering that our customers are really looking to stand out and the kind of effort and labor we put in to give them exclusive and stand out effects.”