Rushikesh Aravkar (RA): Kudos to Max on the recent Indiastar award for an innovation. Tell us more about this award-winning product.
Sanjeev Yadav (SY): Thank you. The Indiastar is for ultra-high barrier and strong seal cavitated metallised BOPP film. Conventionally, metallisation over a transparent BOPP film surface is passable and facile whereas metallising a white cavitated film is a real challenge accounting to keeping the properties such as barrier, surface energy and the treatment level intact in the product. And the new offering has efficaciously achieved this. The description of the award-winning product states it to be the ultra high barrier with high sealing strength cavitated-metallised BOPP film. It is a “worthy alternative” to thin aluminium foil and sealant webs used in flexible packaging and is designed for use as the principal barrier-and-sealing layer of the packaging structure.
RA: So, is it a single layer that acts as a barrier as well as a sealant?
SY: It exhibits two functional surfaces - the outside surface of the film bears a thin layer of aluminium metal while the inside surface has the characteristics of high heat-seal strength with very low seal initiation temperature. This single-web film will enable packaging technologists to simplify packaging structures and reduce the weight of packaging.
RA: What’s the update on Max’s manufacturing capabilities?
SY: Max Speciality Films presently stands at 48,000 tonnes per annum manufacturing capacity of BOPP films. The infrastructure holds three BOPP lines and four metallisers, three extrusion coating lines and two liquid coating lines. Max facilities shall soon redeem a new speciality BOPP line which carries with itself some distinctive and unique features with an output of 2000 tonnes per month. This would get commissioned by March 2018 at our factory located near Chandigarh in Punjab.
RA: What kind of films will this new line be deployed for?
SY: Since, it is a one-off and a state-of-art BOPP line which is exclusively designed for value-added products such as thicker films and label films, high barrier films, high seal integrity films. And hence, we have invested significantly higher in a dedicated line for advanced-quality output as compared to commodity lines.
RA: When you bring in the new product into the market, is it the customer demand that drives you or is the gap in the market that you identify and work on it?
SY: Max follows a stage-gate process for the development of new products. The first step of the process is ‘ideation stage’ wherein the cross-functional teams work on getting the inputs from the customers, suppliers and internal plant and client interface squad. Post deliberations on which, product/s is/are identified to commence the comprehensive and applied working.
RA: In a year how many new products does Max launch?
SY: Traditionally, we have been, on an average, introducing about 15-16 products in a year. Considering the focus shift and upcoming of the special line, Max off-lately has been emphasising on big-ticket items and hence, shall be launching about six-seven imminent range of products.
RA: How are the government rules and regulations affecting your business? NGT has come with strict guidelines too.
SY: Sustainability, today, is a subject that’s undergoing an intense study and has become the focal point evidently, a talk of the town, specifically in the packaging industry. Mankind is using natural resources indiscriminately; the initiative by the government towards the sensitive theme is truly applauded. The sustainable environment is one subject which deals with the judicious use of the natural resources and NGT through its guidelines attesting them the assets for the present generation while simultaneously taking care and tutoring for a better future. As far as the packaging industry is involved, the law states the package should be recyclable or bio-degradable. Bio-degradable packaging structure is still at a nascent stage in India; we may, for now, focus on recyclability through mono structures or the laminate structures having an identical family of olefins.
RA: When we talk about recycling, is metallised BOPP recyclable?
SY: The metallised BOPP can be reversely mechanised to granules which could be recycled. It, of course, cannot be used again on a BOPP line but can be used in many other applications.
RA: Where’s the market headed, according to you?
SY: The trends in the market and the said industry is moving wantonly towards high-barrier films, sustainable alternatives or packaging structures, and thinner BOPP films. The customers are beholding something diversified from textured films, shades, optics in packaging. FMCG firms or the end-customers now possess high-speed packaging lines, especially in the food segment. Moreover, awareness and the users have options and the resources to try and decide and stick to or forget a product, For an instance, Noodles had a prominent brand once but now, there are many easily available. Accordingly, you have to have advanced packaging lines and the packaging designs in order to attract and appeal the consumers.
RA: Talking on BOPP replacing the mono-layer substrates, are equipment capable of handling the substrate change?
SY: Now, that’s where the hold-up is. I call it a bottleneck, big-time. We have to have improvisations on the BOPP film quality so that it can be used as it is or with some minor modifications on a packaging line. Having said this, today’s new generation packaging lines are capable of handling narrow as well as broad processing systems.
RA: In a long-term, where do you see the Indian packaging segment?
SY: India is the largest supplier of polyester globally. In terms of print quality, we (India) stand at the top. India will be a hub for flexible packaging as a lot of converters will supply across the globe. Indian BOPP suppliers are working on technology and will enter into the space of high-speciality and commodity films globally directly or through Indian convertors.