Anand Patel: Flexible packaging is going to get a big boost

Ahmedabad-based Pentaflex Films is one of the leading Indian manufacturers of flexible packaging PE film. The company clinched Silver with High Honors early last year at the Kodak Global Flexo Innovation Awards.

13 Jul 2020 | By PrintWeek Team

Anand Patel, Pentaflex Films, Ahmedabad

According to the company's director Anand Patel, Pentaflex is completely dedicated to flexo. "We are not tied with the techniques of gravure and that gives us a unique advantage to adapt and experiment. We are eager to learn and challenge ourselves on what is possible on flexo."

Patel says that the one thing Pentaflex is superior at is adaptability. He also believes that the biggest change noticed in the flexo process is its acceptability. "Gravure was always considered to be the gold standard and flexo was always second fiddle. That is no more the case. Flexo can comfortably lead in terms of print quality, especially with Kodak Flexcel NX plates."

He further explains that due to the limitations of flexo, clients were not able to work on complex designs. "But now, those clients are confident trying out more complex multicolour designs for a brand."

Driving innovation
Patel says that his company has been innovating on diversity in print substrates. "We were able to down gauge the packaging and provide the same quality and strength with a thinner substrate leading to considerable savings for the brand. That was, again, possible because of flexo.

"Also, there is a constant push to drive down the cost. With flexo, we were able to considerably decrease the ink that was going on the substrate without sacrificing the print quality. We’ve given excellent results with just 0.3-0.5 gsm of ink on white substrates."

He says faster turnaround time helped manage shorter supply chains for packaging.

‘Aha’ moment
Patel is especially proud of the PE-PE laminates they developed for salt packaging. "It was not our innovation per se, but we are happy with the type of quality we were able to achieve."

The print was on soft PE film laminated to another PE film, but indistinguishable from a gravure print, which eventually led Pentaflex to win the Miraclon Global Flexo Innovation Awards last year.

Patel says: "Going forward, flexible packaging is going to get a big boost. I think the pandemic has changed the entire conversation on anti-plastic and non-recyclability. It is only because of flexible packaging that people have not had a shortage of food. The shelf life that packaging provides has helped people to store food and not worry about it getting stale for months. I personally feel that people are going to realise the benefits of this and eventually this will help the industry grow. I am very optimistic for the packaging industry; flexo in particular."