UFlex unveils ASEPTO aseptic liquid packaging brand

Liquid packaging manufacturing plant to be operational by April 2017

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Ashwani Sharma, president & CEO, new business initiatives, Uflex limited

ASEPTO, derived from the word aseptic meaning sterile, resonates the idea of aseptic packaging, which ensures that food remains free from bacteria and other harmful microorganisms for a period of at least eight months under room temperature.

Some of the features of aseptic packaging include an aluminum foil layer, which is a strong barrier for O2 and light. The innermost layer of the packaging is made of polyethylene, which makes it possible to seal-through the pack. The paper layer provides stiffness, making it possible for the cartons to assume a brick shape thereby enabling maximum utilization of the available storage and transportation space.

Printing, creasing and punching of paper board is done on the printing machine. This is followed by the lamination of paper board on the extrusion machine with aluminum film and a different type of polyethylene. The rolls from the lamination machine are converted to rolls of smaller width as per the required size of packages (200 ml, 100 ml, 1000 ml, etc.).

The finished rolls are sent to the customer where they are run on the forming and filling line and the desired products (juices, milk, other dairy and distillery products) are filled and packed in the packages. Good surface material coupled up with superior graphics enhances the brand equity on retail shelf. The packaging increases the product’s shelf life and does away with the dependency on cold chains besides offering ease of handling for the marketers and consumers alike.

Launching ASEPTO, Ashwani Sharma, president and chief executive officer – new business initiatives, Uflex Limited said, “The aseptic packaging market in India is primarily classified into three segments—juices, dairy products and liquor. Packaging of flavored milk, other dairy items and liquor in aseptic packaging material will play a key role in propelling the growth of this packaging segment in the coming years both in India and overseas. Our total manufacturing capacity of 7 billion packs per annum will cater to 90% of the domestic market demand. In APAC, the market growth is around 7% while in India the growth has been in double digits for the last 3–4 years.

“Presently, the Indian aseptic liquid packaging market is growing at 17–18% per annum and the market is expected to double up in the next five years to approximately 20 billion packs per annum. Drawing parallels, China boasts of a tremendous growth story, which has already reached approximately 80 billion packs. In India, the growth potential is humongous. Aseptic package manufacturing is the next big thing that is bound to take Uflex to the next level of business excellence. We are all set to take off in the Indian market and position this business globally.”

Commenting about the investment that has gone into the upcoming plant, R.K. Jain, group president (Corp. F & A), Uflex said, “The aseptic packaging manufacturing plant is coming up on 21 acres of the 72 acre land parcel that Uflex has bought at Sanand, Gujarat. Upholding our commitment towards environmental sustainability, the aseptic packaging facility has been designed to be a zero discharge plant. Solar panels and passive architecture-envelop insulation have been used to preserve natural light besides conserving power energy.

We have invested approximately Rs. 580 crore (US$ 85 million) and once operational, the plant will employ around 250 people. Our total investment over the next 2–3 years is expected to the tune of Rs. 1,500 crore in a phased manner. This includes Rs. 580 crore towards setting up the plant. The balance will be utilized for modernization of manufacturing systems, processes and R&D towards yet better flexible packaging solutions using the most contemporary technology. From the current top line of US$ 1 billion, we are very positive of doubling up in the next 3–4 years.”

According to Ashok Chaturvedi, chairman and managing director, Uflex, “We will be also offering specialized filling machines to our clients as a well-rounded packaging solution for their liquid products. Our engineering business at Noida is designing and manufacturing machines with a filling speed of 7,500 packs an hour for a typical 200 ml pack. We already have a wide customer base to whom we offer fully integrated flexible packaging solutions. Now, with our aseptic packaging manufacturing plant going operational, getting orders from the existing clients for their liquid products will be a natural extension of our long standing business relationship of several decades.”

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.

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.