Mumbai-based TCPL Packaging, a carton and flexible packaging material supplier listed on the Indian bourses, will commission its third Bobst rotogravure press at its Silvassa plant by the end of the year. TCPL’s flexible packaging division presently runs two Bobst rotogravure presses. Its first Bobst gravure press was specially configured with a coating unit. The Bobst gravure added in mid-2022 is a 10-color press with a production speed of 350 meters per minute and a width of 1,300 mm. The press has a movable turner bar and can be run in 8+2 and 9+1 color configurations. The press contains TAPS – the total automatic pre-register system by which the register settings for the entire press are done with a single button without any other operator intervention.
“Our third Bobst rotogravure press has arrived at the Silvassa plant and will be in commercial production by December-end or early January 2024. This new 8-color press has a similar configuration as the previous press, except that its speed is higher at 450 meters per minute. With the addition of our third rotogravure press, we will now have the flexibility to supply a wide variety of packaging materials. What is unique about our setup is that we can print on a plethora of substrates,” says Vidur Kanoria, executive director at TCPL Packaging, who manages the flexible packaging operations at the company.
TCPL decided to bring in the third line earlier this year, within a few months of adding the second Bobst press. “Within 18 months of our last investment and expansion drive, we are at a stage where we need to further enhance our capacities. This shows the growth that our flexible packaging business is witnessing, and shows that we believe with scale we can make this a viable business,” he adds.
Once the third printing line is operational, TCPL Packaging’s flexible packaging division will have a flexible material converting capacity of about 1300-1400 tons each month. The aim is to achieve 80% utilization by mid-2024.
Combi laminator with turret rewinders and 3rd pouching line added
Apart from the new gravure press, TCPL has added a combi lamination machine from Nordmeccanica with a turret rewinder for enhanced productivity and a third pouch-making machine for flat bottom pouches.
“We are focusing substantially on pouching solutions. With the new flat bottom pouch-making machine, we can produce a variety of pouches for both solid and liquid products. With our spouted pouch capabilities, various features such as one-way valves and tin ties can be added,” Kanoria says.
Reifenhauser blown film line with MDO unit
At the Silvassa plant, TCPL Packaging operates a Reifenhauser EVO Ultra Stretch 5-layer blown film line with an MDO unit, critical for adding various attributes and properties that improve PE film properties by stretching the film in the machine direction. The blown film line has a height of 25 meters and a width of 3 meters and is used to manufacture MDO-PE films. The MDO-PE films, when used in mono polymer laminates, are inherently easier to put into the polyolefin mono-material family waste stream for 100% recycling.
Kanoria says the adoption of MDO-PE films is steadily increasing and TCPL has been exporting these films. “We not only print on the MDO-PE films but export the base film as well. The demand is gradually increasing and I see a rapid adoption of these films in the next few years.”
Major focus on exports and R&D
At present, exports are a small but growing part of TCPL Packaging’s flexible packaging business. The company is aggressively working to expand in the global market. The company has expanded its footprint in Africa and has added customers in the US. Kanoria feels that India could become an import sourcing point for packaging solutions as global customers adopt the ‘China plus One’ strategy.
“For the company as a whole, exports have done well. If we talk specifically about laminates, our exports are still at a very low base, but with a significant opportunity to grow. We are exporting to the US as well, where the scale is huge. The US is a new market for us and it is a market where the quality of products, consistency, and service is very, very important. It is not easy to meet their requirements but we are progressing here,” Kanoria says.
TCPL Packaging is making significant investments in research and development. According to Kanoria, this division will work on new product developments, to be supplied to the market in the short term. Simultaneously, longer-term R&D oxygen barrier coatings and specialty films for high-barrier sustainable solutions and value engineering to improve efficiency and productivity are being undertaken.
“To give you an example, we are increasing production using MDO PE films wherein we can offer a fully recyclable truly mono-polymer laminate with high barrier properties. We have several initiatives when it comes to paper cups. For this segment we have developed plastic-free cups, replacing PE with more sustainable material,” he says.
Robust topline growth expected in FY2024-25
With the new capacity kicking in from the fourth quarter of FY2023-24, TCPL Packaging’s flexible packaging division expects to record solid topline growth in FY2024-25. “As the third gravure printing line becomes operational, our new capacity will drive the topline in the next fiscal year. At the same time, we hope to commercialize many of our R&D efforts which will make us a more innovative and value-added player,” Kanoria concludes.