UFlex Announces Capacity Expansion in Packaging Films
UFlex has today declared its financial results for the quarter ending December 2020. With packaging becoming a lifeline in the battle against Covid-19 pandemic, the company has successfully supported customers and consumers with packaging solutions in the past quarters. The company witnessed a surge in demand for multiple lines of businesses while also adding newer clients. The company posted strong growth numbers with Consolidated Net Profit surged by 89% YoY to INR159.9 crore.
UFlex announced domestic and international expansion for its Packaging Films business in the results. Speaking of the capacity expansion, Rajesh Bhatia, Group CFO at UFlex Limited said, “The highlights of this quarter are commissioning of the brownfield BOPET film line in Poland with a capacity of 45,000TPA. The trial run for our BOPP plant in Hungary and BOPET plant in Nigeria have already commenced and both the plants are expected to be commissioned soon.
“In India, we have not expanded the capacity of Packaging Films since the last 16 years and are now setting up greenfield BOPET and CPP lines in Karnataka to meet the growing demand. We are also expanding outside India with plans to set up brownfield CPP film line at our UAE plant that will add a production capacity of 18,000 TPA.”
Ashok Chaturvedi, Chairman & Managing Director, UFlex Limited said: “UFlex has played a pivotal role in providing packaged products to the end consumers during the pandemic. In line with our vision to go glocal and serve the last mile with our best-in-class innovative and sustainable solutions, we are scaling up our international as well as domestic operations. Driven by a robust order book and consistent market growth, we are doubling the manufacturing capacity of our Aseptic Liquid Packaging plant in Sanand.”
The earlier capacity of the group’s Packaging Films plant in Poland was 30,000TPA and with an additional 10.4-meter-wide BOPET line of 45,000TPA getting commissioned, FlexFilms is the largest BOPET manufacturer in European Union. In India, the current capacity of Packaging films line with BOPET, BOPP, CPP put together is 92,000TPA. The new lines to be added in South India will have a cumulative production capacity of 63,000TPA. The UAE plant that currently houses a BOPET line with capacity of 22,000 TPA, will have an additional capacity of 18,000TPA once the CPP line is commissioned.
In Q3 FY 2020-21, UFlex also introduced a range of new products and solutions across its business:-
Flexible packaging business
Matt finish 3D Pouches Packed with Value-added Features: UFlex developed six variants of matt finish film based 3D pouches to pack coffee beans for Al-Fanoos Coffee in the Saudi Arabian and Gulf markets. The BOPP, PET, PE structure pouch holds myriad features such as 3D design for shelf impact, Hot Stamp to prevent from counterfeiting forces, Slider Zipper that promotes reusability at the point of consumption, a Breathing Valve that allows excess gas to exit from the pack such that packed contents remains fresh for a longer duration, a See-through Window on the side, and a Side Handle that allows easy carriage. With all these features packed in, this pouch is a perfect combination to add value and convenience to brands as well as consumers.
Easy Tear Laminate for Sanitizers: With the demand for sanitisers and disinfectants still booming due to coronavirus scare, the vertical developed two variants of easy tear laminate for I2Cure BioShield Lotion that allows easy dispensation of alcohol-free sanitizer. With the lotion being Halal certified, it has been receiving a lot of interest from Middle East, South Asian and Indian markets.
Jumbo Bags for Proamino-T Poultry Feed: The jumbo bags for packing poultry feed are one of the few bulk bags in non-woven format with high-tensile strength and weather resistance. The bag that is developed for Indian market offers durability and convenience of carriage with safety, despite its capacity to carry mass quantity.
R&D Successfully Commercialised Many of its Solutions: The R&D team of Flexible Packaging business works closely with many brands to offer them bespoke solutions besides constantly creating new solutions based on market research. With its extensive findings, quite a few of the innovations were successfully commercialised:
- Easy to peel strength pouches for PS Kona WB Coffee in which the peel strength has been customised with regulated opening force.
- Paper foil-based laminated film for packing seasoning mix for Kroger Ranch Salad Dressing & Seasoning Mix.
- Replaced PET in EVoH based BOPP film structure to make it a recyclable Monopolymer laminate for Purina Dog Chow PET Food.
- Special PET + PET-based retort pouches replaced previously used oriented nylon for packaging of pre-cooked rice for TJ Morris. The replacement in structure has led to cost-saving for the brand.
A New Variant of Secondary Slitter Developed: UFlex introduced ‘ACCU ECOSLIT 30’, a secondary slitter with a capability to slit 3000 meters wide web-powered with a capacity for slitting into six ups with a speed of upto 800mpm, making the company the only Indian Manufacturer to engineer such a kind of machine.
A Machine that Seals the Bag and its Counterfeiting Challenges: In some markets, pouches and bags are stitched after filling of product making it vulnerable to counterfeits as it is easy to unstitch, replace the product and stitch back the pouch for retailing. To fix this issue, UFlex has developed a Bag-Sealing machine ‘WS 535’ that replaces stitching with sealing. Moreover, this all-in-one bag sealing machine fits many applications, laminate structures & bag dimensions and delivers clean seals and enhanced look and feel of the bag/pouch to the customers.
Alcohol-based Dual Purpose Sanitizer: Continuing its expansion of product portfolio to fight Covid-19, UFlex launched dual-purpose alcohol-based hand sanitiser ‘FLEXGUARD-I’ that contains Isopropyl Alcohol IP-75% V/V and complies with WHO guidelines. This skin-friendly sanitizer can be used to clean hands as well as surfaces and is being supplied via bulk distributors for commercial purpose.
Patent for New Process to Derive Epoxy Ester Resin: UFlex secured a patent for a new process to derive Epoxy Ester Resin following the provisions of the Patents Act, 1970. This is the first patent for Chemicals business ever in India and will ensure technical advancement in providing a process for resin preparation without the need for wastewater treatment, a significant move in the direction of sustainability.
Solvent-based PU Adhesive for Velcro Application: The vertical developed a solvent-based two components PU adhesive that is specially designed to provide stiffness to Velcro after application to hook & loop fastener. Its best use is in orthopaedic, apparel and footwear industry segments.
Water-based Oxygen barrier Coating for Food Packaging Application: UFlex launched a water-based oxygen barrier coating ‘FLEXCOAT UF0008’ for food packaging to achieve oxygen barrier properties on BOPP and CPP films. This coating provides extended shelf life to food packed and is suitable for use in snack packaging segments like noodles, potato chips, cookies, etc.
Holographic Aluminium Lidding Foil for Pharma Industry: In order to arrest the counterfeiting threats in pharma sector, the vertical developed robust anti-counterfeiting solution through holographic aluminium lidding foil commonly used for blister packs. The holographic foil has overt features which are easily recognisable to the end-user. The foil also allows use of covert features on this solution lending authenticity to pharma company drugs.
Holographic Thermal Film for Books & Publication: The Publication Industry is one of the worst victims of counterfeiting where duplicators impinge sales by undercutting price and damage authentic brand reputation. In order to address publications’ concern, an eco-friendly transparent holographic thermal film was developed for lamination on book covers that besides protecting it from counterfeiting, also boosts the aesthetics with excellent gloss on book, enhances cover transparency and fosters good bond strength.
Holographic Film for Ghee Packaging: Ghee is a part of daily consumption in every household and is highly prone to counterfeiting. In order to fight the menace of duplication, UFlex has developed a customised Holographic Film for outer carton packaging replacing the use of plain metalized film laminated cartons for a prominent ghee brand thereby helping differentiate pure ghee from the fakes. Anti-counterfeiting features are engrained in this film’s design, such that it not just prevents it from counterfeiting but also offers a unique look to the carton and adds shelf impact.
Rotogravure Printing Cylinder for Watermark on Steel Sheets: UFlex manufactured watermark printing cylinders on steel sheets by its state-of-the-art laser engraving line making the company the first Indian manufacturer to achieve this feat. This process has been a challenge in the past as the pigments of steel sheet paint are substantially different in size and shape as compared to conventional gravure inks, therefore rotogravure printing on metal substrates was critical and that too with minimum depositions effect required for watermark. The customization of cell geometry (in the form of a hexagonal honeycomb cell structure) of the rotogravure cylinder on direct laser engraving line is the task here as the pigments of the steel paint inks have a tendency to get stuck inside the cells of the engraved cylinder (cell filling). This breakthrough will be beneficial for brands and will enhance the products’ image.