Max’s Ramneek Jain: “Use single family material to ease recycling”

Following the NGT intervention in flexible packaging, Ramneek Jain, chief executive officer, Max Speciality Films, tells Rushikesh Aravkar, recyclability will certainly shape the industry consumption pattern

22 Mar 2018 | By Rushikesh Aravkar

The flexible packaging sector is going through a transition. It came to a head when, following a petition by Dehradun-based NGO Him Jagriti, the National Green Tribunal (NGT), started contemplating on banning multi-layered (multi-polymer laminates) plastic packaging.

According to Ramneek Jain, chief executive officer, MSFL, the prevailing "inaccurate perception" about flexible packaging across consumers, regulators and value chain, is a challenge for the flexible packaging sector. “This leads to gaps in decision-making and constraints, which burdens the flexible packaging sector. Also, technical manpower pool of India is not sufficient for effective and fast-paced innovation requirements,” he says.

Under the circumstances, most film manufacturers want to move from commodity films to speciality films.  MSFL is among the leading manufacturers of value-added bi-axially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) films in India. For the company one of the priority remains promoting recyclable technologies with ultra-high barriers so that shelf life increases and wastages can be minimised.

“We continue to leverage our NABL- and DSIR-accredited lab and five-layer lines to promote surface properties enhancement. We have also identified labels (pressure sensitive, wraparound and in-mould labels) and thick speciality films like antifog as fast-growing segment and a focus area,” he says.

Thus, the company is in the process of expanding its production capacity by an aggregate capacity of 34.50 kilo tonnes per annum (KTPA) to support these specialties with several features.

The specialty packaging films business commenced operations in 1989 as a business division of erstwhile Max India Limited. The business division was transferred to MSFL in 2012. MSFL is among the leading manufacturers of value-added BOPP films in India such as specialty packaging films, labels, metallised films, coating and thermal lamination coated films used in packaging, labelling and graphic lamination industries for Indian and overseas markets.

MSFL has a manufacturing facility at Nawanshahr, Punjab, with an aggregate installed capacity of 46.35 KTPA, 13.20 KTPA and 11.50 KTPA for BOPP film, metallised film and thermal laminated film, respectively, as at September 30, 2017. The facility is ISO 9001-2008, ISO 14001-2004, OHSAS 18001-2007 and HACCP certified and quality assurance lab accredited by NABL and BRC. Further, MSFL is currently in the process of expanding its production capacity by an aggregate capacity of 34.50 KTPA.

Talking about the transition in the industry, analysts say there’s overcapacity in the market for BOPP and BOPET production. Jain explains, “India’s flexible packaging demand is growing. In addition, increasing competitiveness and technological advancement of Indian suppliers is widening the demand in exports. To meet these demands, additions of new lines every year is required. However, overcapacity persists as the pace of capacity addition by Indian manufacturers was high in the recent years. But now that wave of capacity addition is coming to a close and so the balance should be restored soon.”

Jain believes that this balancing act will allow Indian manufacturers to spend resources on R&D and achieve technological advancement.

Will this also help find new benchmarks of downgauging a film? Jain says downgauging continues to be a basic idea for cost-reduction and thus, marginal push may continue. “However, true cost innovations are now driven by reducing laminate layers by improving film properties. In addition, films from single family are easily recyclable,” he adds.

Coming back to the concerns about NGT regulations, Jain says recyclability will certainly shape the industry consumption pattern. “MSFL is already providing solutions for these requirements on both transparent and metallised products. Our solutions are mostly to ensure that a single family material is used which is convenient to recycle,” he says.

Jain says MSFL has been focusing on innovation and this is reflected in the fact that in 2017, the company won the World Star award for ultra-high barrier and strong-seal cavitated metallised BOPP film and barrier technology and anti-skid 20 micron-film in 2016 and 2017.

In addition, the company was also awarded the India Star award for the anti-skid 20 micron-film in 2015. “In 2017, we won the award driven by our recyclability push where we developed an ultra-high barrier and strong-seal cavitated metalised BOPP film. This is a useful solution to replace both aluminium foil and PE in laminates,” he says.

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