The increase in demand for flexible packaging presented several challenges in 2020. ‘Packaging converters were not able to meet the unexpected demands, and lead times increased. However, they were quick to adapt by debottlenecking their production capacities and evolving new production formats,’ Jinesh explains.
He believes that the outlook for 2021 is more positive because plastic packaging for food has become more relevant, which is an advantage for flexible packaging material processors. The Rajoo team expects demand for laminates and lamination film, barrier films for FMCG products, shrink film for beverages and industrial packaging film to increase even further.
Looking at trends, Jinesh explains that the demand for high-output, fully automated three-, five- and seven-layer blown film extruders has increased to cater to evolving flexible packaging material requirements. ‘Barrier blown film lines with five- and seven-layer configurations are on-trend because by using high-barrier coextruded films, converters can reduce the number of processing steps to produce flexible packaging laminates. Additionally, converting three- and four-ply laminates to two- or three-ply laminates to achieve the same barrier properties is another fast-growing trend.’
Globally multinational brand owners are driving collaborative projects to help them meet the EU’s mandatory 2025 packaging reduction, reuse and recycling targets. ‘Value chain partners are already working on sustainable packaging solutions that contribute to the circular economy, making strides with PE/PE laminates for efficient recycling and reusability of packaging materials,’ he states.
Boost for remote support services
Regarding after-sales service, Jinesh explains that remote support is now widely accepted on various communication platforms, including live-video chats, mobile apps and data glasses that enable the exchange of data, photos, technical drawings and circuit diagrams.
‘During 2020, Rajoo installed and commissioned several machines using remote support and strong backup from India. ‘As a blown film extrusion equipment manufacturer, Rajoo strives to function as a one-stop shop and we use our vast plastics processing experience to offer the best value proposition for customers investing in the flexibility to run various polymers optimally, when they are producing high-quality flexible packaging,’ he states. ‘We make this possible by continually investing in R&D, upgrades to extruder designs and energy efficiency optimisation of die technologies. A prime example of this type of mutually beneficial relationship is with Nylopack, a Johannesburg-based converter of five-layer barrier films and non-barrier stretch-hood films. Rajoo recently shipped the fourth Pentafoil five-layer co-ex line, which runs on a dual cooling air ring, to this long-standing customer.’
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Ed’s note: Technimac is the authorised agent