At interpack 2017 in Düsseldorf in Germany, Flex Films - the global film manufacturing arm of India’s largest multinational flexible packaging materials and solution company Uflex – showcased a wide range of innovations in the field of film manufacturing.
Mr. Anantshree Chaturvedi, Vice Chairman & CEO at Flex Films International, gave Packaging Europe a tour around the impressive stand, which was divided into six distinct zones, presenting various films and substrates and value added products.
As the cornerstone of its business strategy, sustainability holds a special place in all business operations of Flex Films. Strong emphasis is laid on fostering down-gauging, light-weighting, reduction at source and design optimization in all its creations. Some of the highlights of this zone were recycled polyester film; oxo and bio degradable films and green polyester film (green PET). In green PET film conventional mono ethylene glycol (MEG) that is made from non-renewable petro-based feedstock is fully replaced by green MEG derived from bio-ethanol made from renewable agro inputs. This film has been internationally awarded for its sustainability quotient.
In this section visitors saw the latest innovations like Twist (TST); Shrink (SPH); Easy Stackable (ESB); Digital Printing (PDP); U.V. Curable (UVC); Electronic Goods Wrapping (MTG-AS-B/M) Film; Special Polyester Film for Alu-Alu pharma laminate; and Easy Tear (IET) Films. While Twist (TST) Film exhibits high mechanical properties and excellent twist retention, Easy Stackable (ESB) Film is specially modified on one side to prevent slippage during storage and palletization. The U.V. Curable (UVC) film is suitable for direct UV offset printing without requiring any primer/ treatment. Digital Printing (PDP) Polyester Film is HP Indigo certified substrate suitable for direct printing without requiring any priming or coating.
One of the much sought after substrates at interpack was a special polyester film that has successfully replaced BOPA and PVC substrates from a typical Alu-Alu laminate used in pharma packaging thereby serving as a game changer. Flex Films also exhibited Easy Tear (IET) Polyester film that is used for pharma strip packaging by laminating with down-gauged aluminium foil.
Opening lids of disposable glasses, cups and platter meals can pose a serious challenge particularly for an increasing aging population. To address this, Flex Films has engineered suitable substrates that pave way for smooth and easy lid-opening. In the lidding section at interpack the company displayed Isotropic (IST) and Peelable (TPA) Films among several others. Isotropic (IST) Films are polyester substrates having balanced properties that ensure that the film does not tear abruptly. Peelable Polyester Films are heat sealable lacquered on one side. This film offers high level of convenience in lid opening and serves as a ready to use lidding solution for the converters. Dairy Packaging Film (DPA) – also from the polyester family exhibiting excellent machinability and dimensional stability will be seen at Flex Films’ stand.
One of the most important purposes that laminates comprising different substrates serve is to provide optimum barrier properties to protect the product from being spoiled through its recommended shelf life. Flex Films has made substantial headway in engineering high barrier substrates. Some of these were shown at interpack were AlOx (PLX & PGX); Bag in Box (LBP-M); High Barrier MET PET (EBP – M) and Super Barrier Corona (PGB) Films among several others.
Notably AlOx (PGX) Polyester Film is the thinnest PET AlOx film available globally. Despite being the leanest, the 9.5 micron AlOx polyester film exhibits excellent barrier for oxygen and water vapour as W.V.T.R (gm/m2/day) and O.T.R (cc/m2/day) are both < 1.0. No player other than Flex Films offers such a thin PET AlOx speciality film with such superior barrier properties.
Super Barrier Polyester (PGB) Polyester Film with a specially modified surface treatment (on one side) offers very high barrier to oxygen. The other side of the film can be corona treated or left untreated as per the requirements of the convertor. The Oxygen Transmission Rate (O.T.R) of this film is < 6 cm3/m2/day at 23 degrees Celsius & 0% RH. A big advantage of this film is the fact that it does not require any coating or co-extrusion of Polyvinylidene Chloride (PVDC) or Ethylene Vinyl alcohol (EVOH) for enhancing barrier properties.
PP (OPP & CPP) family
Flex Films also manufactures different variants of Oriented Polypropylene and Cast Polypropylene Films. Some of these films displayed included: Ultra Barrier OPP (TUB-M); Low SIT (TLS); Anti-fog OPP (TAF); Retortable CPP (CPR); Deep Freeze CPP (CDF) and High Barrier CPP (C-CXB-PZ-M) Films.
Aesthetics and anti-counterfeiting
The threat of counterfeiting to the brands is more dreaded than ever. Also on display at Flex Films’ stand were holographic and fresnel lens embossed films among other brand protection solutions. Fresnel Lens Embossed Film in particular is being manufactured at Flex Films Europa (Poland) in alliance with WaveFront Technology Inc. with direct assistance and support of Uflex Limited’s Holography business back in India. Aesthetics play an undeniably important role in packaging, drawing attention of the customers at the point of sale (POS). Besides combating counterfeiting these films also add to the aesthetic quotient of the packaging. Other pigmented special effect films from the polyester and polypropylene families in high gloss and matte variants were also displayed at Flex Films’ stand at interpack 2017.
Talking about Flex Films’ wide array of products on display at interpack 2017, Mr. Chaturvedi, said, “interpack is a great platform for meeting the convertors and brands and taking them through our large and innovative assortment of films and substrates.”He was was keen to highlight the group's international reach, which sets it apart from the competition.
"Flex Films has an extensive global manufacturing and marketing footprint. It operates state-of-the art manufacturing facilities in India, Dubai, Mexico, Egypt, Poland and the USA, which makes it the only film manufacturer in the world to have plants operating in the four major continents of North America, Europe, Asia and Africa that together account for over 90% of the global Packaging requirements." Going forward, the company has ambitious plans.
"Our goal is to set up strategically located facilities near all major film markets in order to be able to despatch freshly produced films within seven days of receipt of an order. By 2020, we intend to be operating out of 12 countries," Mr. Chaturvedi concludes.