Fish packaging that moves like fresh catch

Packaging is often used to communicate product attributes. ‘Fresh’ is written on packages, or ‘low calorie’ or ‘great taste’ – and consumers have to rely on the printed words to assess the claim. This approach clashes with the axiom of creative storytelling that says ‘show, don’t tell’. A team at the creative agency `Jack the Maker’ in Portugal has taken the storytelling advice literally.They partnered with Y&R Warsaw to develop frozen fish packaging that rattles to mimic the movement of recently caught fish. The packaging was developed for the Polish grocery brand Mila.
The scenes playing out in the supermarkets where the packaging was tested looked quite theatrical. As soon as shoppers approached the boxes with frozen fish, the boxes started to move as if the fish inside was still alive. The effect was achieved by incorporating a proximity sensor and connecting it via WiFi so that it could be activated when consumers reached for the boxes.
As a film from the supermarket shows, people were intrigued, amused or skeptical when they saw the movement of the white boxes that feature beautiful photos of mackerel, dorada and tilapia on the outside. And because the concept was immediately clear, there was no need to write ‘fresh’ on the packaging.
Online audiences could also engage with the campaign by controlling the boxes from the Mila website and watching grocers’ responses via real-time video, which made it feel like a prank. While the campaign is definitely humorous, it may shock some customers who choose frozen fish exactly because it is indisputably dead.
Still, interactive packaging gets customers engaged and talking about a brand. One of ‘Jack the Maker’s’ other packaging projects is a Nestlé yogurt bottle for the Portuguese market that takes photos. The creative team also developed a packaging solution for a kids’ fruit product that becomes animated when viewed through a smartphone or tablet.


Amer Sabha, director of Digital Labels

Having secured Esko HD and Full HD Certification, Jordan’s Digital Labels continues to perfect its REVO system in its drive to achieve ever-higher quality Time is the key factor in Mohammad Sabha’s vision of his company’s production.
“All the work we are doing is to get the attention of the consumer in those few seconds,” he told Packaging MEA.
But in working to achieve this Digital Labels has also secured a “brilliant calling card” for grabbing the attention of its own customers too.
Esko HD and Full HD Certification, officially awarded to the Jordanbased firm in early 2016, provides an exceptional assurance of quality, according to the executive engineer.
“We supply the Middle East and North Africa and are looking to working globally rather than locally,”
“New customers will immediately trust working with us and will be confident with our quality standards,” he said.
“We will have no obstacles in printing any job, no matter how complex it is. Brand owners will be sure that their designs will be printed with high quality, high resolution, and according to international standards… Customers will put in photos and very hard colours. They will have no worries about resolution so can produce more complex designs.”
Set up by Mohammad’s father with one machine in 2004, Digital Labels has always had a focus on quality, he added.
“He had a vision of raising quality to achieve European standards,” said Mohammad.
In his view, though, the regional market often takes a different approach.
“Standardisation in our region is a problem, where the same product can vary to an obvious level in terms of print quality, resolution, and colour on the same shelf,” he said.
Having achieved Esko HD and Full HD certification, Digital Labels is now intensifying its drive to win jobs beyond its national market, which Mohammad describes as “small and competitive”.
“We supply the Middle East and North Africa and are looking to working globally rather than locally,” he said.
With its production of self-adhesive labels, shrink sleeves, in-mould labels, and wraparound labels, the company offers soft mockup 3-D files with predistortions.
“I can enable the customer to visualise his product,” said Mohammad. “We have lots of tools to help us such as an Esko visualisation system. And if the company has a media centre, we have an online approval system.”
Digital Labels is meanwhile delivering a further boost to its productivity and labels through perfecting the operation of a REVO system acquired last summer from Bobst.interview42-1
Mohammad claims “amazing results already in decreasing changeover time and waste levels and achieving quality and consistency”.
“We tried to do a complicated test job printing a lot of Pantone colours on its design and the results were marvellous,” he said.
“Now we are able to print a log of Pantone colours on the same label where the machine printing units are not a limit anymore. We almost matched 85% of the Pantone colours, which we think is an important achievement in the industry. The seven process colours increased our colour gamut and added important details for the labels.”
The goal is also to achieve “continuous production”, applying the system’s capacity to prepare two jobs simultaneously.
In exploring the potential of the new technology, Digital Labels is receiving support both from Bobst and a global community of users.
“We are all learning the new system together and developing it at the same time,” he said.
“The REVO group is becoming bigger and we are all contributing to improving the flexo process, whether we are converters, machine manufacturers, or raw material suppliers.

Layering UP

Sunil Jain, president of Rajoo Engineers Limited has his sights on Gulf packagers looking to shift from fivelayer to seven-layer blown films interview36
In multifoil production, Indiabased Rajoo Engineers is ready to take on rivals from all continentals in winning installations in the Gulf, according to President, Sunil Jain.
“We compete with the best in the world from Europe and sometimes with Chinese and Taiwanese,” he told Packaging MEA.
He sees the key arena as multilayer blown film line, where Ranoo has “introduced many firsts in the industry”, he said.
“This sector largely contributes to flexible packaging which is expected to grow at 12 to 15%,” said Jain.
Based in Rajkot, India, Rajoo Engineers was founded in 1986. Today it claims to be “an undisputed global player in blown film and sheet extrusion lines”. Rajoo now has customers in more than 53 countries, having debuted on international markets in 1990.
With a focus on blown film, sheet extrusion lines and thermoformers, the company considers itself as “technology-driven”. Rajoo prides itself on product innovations, adaptation, world-class quality, stateof- the-art workmanship, increased energy efficiency and high levels of sophistication and automation
In the Gulf region, the company has also established a significant installation base, he added.
“We have supplied more than 20 multifoil lines in the MEA region ranging from two layers to five layers with output ranging from 200 to 600kg/h output,” said Jain.
“These machines are catering to the flexible packaging and bulk packaging industry for various formats – non-barrier films like lamination-grade film, shrink film, and also for barrier to pack meat etc. for extended shelf life.”
But within the current market the opportunity is focused on upgrading to seven layers, he added.
“According to us, the MEA market is now upgrading from five-layer to seven-layer to take advantages of processing more expensive raw material in thin layers with the concept of ‘less is more’,” he said. “We don’t see many applications for ninelayer in the near future.”
Products with traction in the market include the company’s Lamina sheet extrusion lines. Jain describes the response as “overwhelming” since the Rajoo introduced “highoutput low-energy-consumption Lamina sheet extrusion lines” during Plastindia 2015.
“With small screw diameters, we are able to deliver higher output levels without a corresponding increase in drive or heating load,” he added.interview36-1 “The MEA market is now upgrading from five-layer to seven-layer to take advantages of processing more expensive raw material in thin layers with the concept of ‘less is more“
“These Lamina sheet extrusion lines are sold standalone or with Dispcon thermoformers… Wonderpack technology coupled with Rajoo’s market prowess continue to give us the edge making us the market leaders in India.
“Further, we have also develop high output Themoformer with tilting mould which enables us to cater to the international market with automatic stacking, counting and packing solution. Typical uses are in the disposable container industry for glasses, cups, bowls and similar items.”
Rajoo has also found success with its Foamex foam sheet extrusion lines and thermoformers offered under licence from Commodore, according to Jain.
“The end uses are once again the low-weight disposable container industry for takeaway food,” he said. “Rajoo also offers chemically foamed extrusion through blown film line and physically foamed extrusion system for PE. End uses include EPE wads, foam mattresses, packaging material for electronic items.”
Jain stresses that support for such products in the MEA is facilitated by proximity to the company’s headquarters.


Thomas Lengenberg, sales director at Windmoeller & Hoelscher, and Lennart Ederleh, head of technical customer consultancy, extrusion equipment, share their views on setting up and optimising blown film production
interview1“In general, the market growth for flexible packaging in the region is in the range of 3-5% p.a. We expect the business to grow at least at that rate”
With three-layer blown .film machines, when do you recommend the Optimex and when the Varex II?
Thomas Lengenberg: This depends greatly on the application. The Optimex is designed for standard PE films in three and five layers, very good output, but not sticky and not the widest formats (up to 2,200mm dfl). Varex II is intended for the highest output and very wide formats (up to 3,600mm dfl), special applications, sticky films, special winding requirements, and highest flexibility

What should influence the decision between a five- and seven-layer Varex II?
Five-layer today is mostly for PE applications. Only very few five-layer barrier lines have been sold in the past years. It is impossible to use the same diehead for barrier and PE due to the different layer ratio. Seven-layer today is standard for barrier, PE-tie-nylon-EVOHnylon- tie-PE. Swing lines for PE and barrier are possible with seven layers.

What is the market for nine-layer machines?
High barrier structures with nylon- EVOH-nylon, but two layers of PE on the skins for higher flexibility and further recipe optimisation. Nine layers also offers the widest flexibility when producing asymmetric structures with nylon on the outside.

What sets W&H apart from its competitiors?
We focus on the needs of our customers. This starts with the best-in-class film quality, highest profitability and a wide flexibility during production. We believe that we have a lot of advantages in our machines and can offer a customised system for every individual demand.

Do you see cheap Asian machines as a threat?
Due to the fact that most components of a blown film line are know-how parts, requiring deep technical knowledge and processing experience, we do not see a threat yet. Most of the Asian supplier are still offering equipment below the W&H portfolio as far as quality and performance is concerned.

What are the prospects for your new Aquarex?
We see large advantages wherever the softness is beneficial: thermoforming film as well as film for pouches. These films can be produced asymmetrically without curling. This drastically improves further processing because of the better sealing performance of the film.

What is W&H’s share of blown films in the MEA region?
We would estimate our share to be around 25-35%.

What business growth do you expect in this region?
In general, the market growth for flexible packaging in the region is in the range of 3-5% p.a. We expect the business to grow at least at that rate.CPP involves strong big machines with very big outputs. We just sold a line – 5.3m-wide – in Europe. The market here cannot adjust to these giant machines.

How does W&H help converters upgrade blown film machines?
We have a department in W&H that only deals with the upgrade of existing equipment. The standard retrofit covers either the replacement of obsolete electronic parts or performance upgrades on the mechanical side, such as new gravimetric systems, larger extruders, new dieheads, new gauge control in the cooling ring, calibration cages, haul-offs, winders. All of them fully integrated in one main operation system. We also offer this service for non WuH lines.

How quickly can converters switch between clear and white films on an Optimex and Varex II?
If the recipe is the same and the line configuration similar, the difference in changeover time should be negligible. Again, the total time highly depends on the polymers used.

How has TCS performed as a distributor in this region?
TCS has a wide setup in the region in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, and Cairo and is taking care besides the sales activities also of service, with their own service engineers. We are very satisfied with their performance and success and glad to be able to work with them.

Sticking with a plan

Jay Nair, SBU Manager at Henkel Adhesives Technologies India Pvt. Ltd, has his eye on the Middle East and Africa’s growing flexible packaging market for his company’s adhesives interviewIn regions including the Middle East and Africa, the issue is also fast gaining prominence, he explained.
“Food safety in some markets is one of the biggest discussion points,” he said.
“It is something we believe we’re pioneering – not just in creating awareness but also in actually providing food-safe packaging.”
Henkel takes the view there should be “no difference” between regions – whatever their stage of development – in terms of food safety, he added. And, in any case, recent moves in China, Turkey, and Latin America show how swiftly diverging standards can align.
“In the Middle East, authorities are showing an interest in how it is done in other regions, exchanging with lawmakers in very mature markets,” he said.
Henkel’s job title for region, Jay Surname, told Packaging MEA how the company is looking to build on its already considerable presence in flexible packaging in the Middle East.
Out of Africa “The market in Middle East and Africa especially for flexible packaging is close to 10,000 packs and it is growing at about 10–12%,” he said.
“In the past a lot of packaging material was being imported into the region… But over the last few years the local manufacturers have updated their technology, getting the latest equipment and latest technologies and they are more or less producing all kinds of flexible packaging here.”
In his view, the MEA is already “a very world market” where “slowly and steadily you will see a big drop in imports of flexible packaging”, set to drive further growth. Meanwhile, alongside the emergence of a wide range of flexible packaging, the other big trend is “a lot of activity now in Africa as well”.
“I’m clearly seeing that there are more and more companies who are investing [in Africa] now,” he said. “Today what’s happening is a lot of materials being manufactured in Middle East is being exported to Africa. But I think, going forward, Africa will also start producing locally. So I am seeing a lot of manufacturers from Middle East actually setting up operations in Africa. That is also a trend that is happening very clearly. So I think we are seeing a great opportunity here.”
Bonding with decision makers In terms of technology, Surname sees “more and more companies” and “more and more applications” moving into solvent free. “So that’s one clear technological direction,” he told Packaging MEA.
“In the flexible packaging pack, the cost of adhesive is very small: 3 to 5 or 8%, depending on the application,” added surname. “So it’s not a big cost component when someone is into flexible packaging. But if something goes wrong with it, then the other 99% or 98% of the product is thrown away or is wasted. That’s the kind of impact it has. So the involvement is low but the risk is very high. Henkel has therefore spent a lot of money and effort in training people.”
For surname, Henkel stands out for the quality of its technical support team and takes a holistic approach to solving customers’ problems.
“Customer problems are not only about applying the adhesive,” he said. “It’s about the package working in the market place. The filling food test that we do. The accelerated shelflife test that we do. We recommend customers what kinds of substrates they should use for effective flexible packaging. So I think the big differentiator is that for us it’s not like selling polymers… For us it is about ensuring that the customer’s product also performs in the market.”
As regulations tighten, surname sees further opportunities arise. “We are engaging with the regulators, with policymakers in each of these countries, in whatever way we can to discuss what kind of standards are available, what the US is doing, what Europe is doing,” he said. “That is the kind of engagement we do… In each country it’s specific… And I think that’s one of our key agendas.”

Meeting opportunities

At the second Packaging MEA Forum, in Dubai on 7–8 March, the regional industry’s leading figures shared insights on achieving quality, profit, and regulatory compliance.
eventsAcross three busy days, participants in the second Packaging Middle East forum explored a host of important and sometimes surprising developments moulding their industry’s future. Key regional administrators explained how food safety regulation are set to tighten while brands presented changes already underway to minimise their operations’ environmental impact. And on each day manufacturers and suppliers revealed technologies and products that can help companies secure their slice of a growing but hotly contested market.
In the first day Khalid Mohammed Sherif Al-Awadhi, CEO Food Safety Department, revealed how Dubai is steadily raising its requirements in food packaging to protect consumers. “We don’t want just acceptable,” he told the forum. “We want high quality.”
In his key note speech Saleh Abdullah Lootah, president of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Food and Beverage Manufacturing Business Group, spoke on the group’s work in “raising the bar in quality and standards”. He also stressed how the UAE is “the ideal place for food manufacturing”, with Dubai already a “hub” for food and beverages.events2
Christel Morival An, CEO and founder of Lamarq International, took the forum through a brand’s route to realising the regional markets’ enticing opportunities. “How can design become your best ally?” she asked. The answer, she explained, is through understanding the language of design and having, above all, “a strategy”. Her presentation also showed how she had applied this approach in Egypt, revolutionising image and sales for a baked roll company. “Design is a very investment but you cannot consider design without strategy,” she added.
A further instance of good design winning market share came from Unilever’s Perwaze Qaiser, who described how carefully conceived packaging reversed a traditional dip in Ramadan tea consumption into a bump.
Almarai packaging development manager Kaunain Shahidi explained the demographic and social factors Middle East packaging needs to incorporate. Alongside the youthful “Arab digital generation” there is an emergence of mature consumers, he explained. He spoke on “the innovation gap” businesses face in addressing “how people live their lives” and how “design thinking” can bridge it.
Branding expert Sanjay Murthy, managing director of Figjam, told the forum how consumers have changed the way they interact with products. He stressed how purchasers now seek to find shared values with a brand and how “emotional” aspects are “a huge part of design”.
The practical aspects of design and production featured in a talk on Arden Software’s product lifecycle management software by Matthew Hewitt, business development manager. The automated approach “dispenses with reams of paper, Excel forms, and email templates” and “eliminates a huge amount of duplication”, he promised.
In the opening day’s second session the forum explored the potential of new substrates. Speaking on Dow’s portfolio, Alessandro Corticelli described a fundamental shift in the firm’s approach. “We provide the ingredients to make the dish but we longer want to just deliver them to the kitchen,” he said. Dow’s “value-chain collaboration” now puts it “in the kitchen, collaborating with the chef”. Dow’s Pack Studios are open not only to customers but “customers of customers”, he added.events3
Meanwhile, Abdul Rasheed, sales manager for Taghleef Industries extolled the merits of BOPP as not only a lightweight and versatile substrate but also “the most sustainable solution”.
In the key issue of food safety, Flint’s Marc Heylen stressed the role played by inks. His presentation focused on UV inks and stressed collaboration through the supply chain. In particular, he pointed to the benefits of the firm’s Ancora and Ancora 50 products.
Henkel product development manager Dennis Bankmann continued the theme of safety. “Packaging often looks the same as it did in the 1990s but things have been taken out – such as VOCs – and other things have been added,” he said. He pointed to the evolution of legislation on the issue across the region and described Henkel’s efforts to raise awareness through online webinars.
IST Metz’s place in the evolution of food safety was outlined by Jean-Philippe Fournier, sales manager for sheetfed applications, who spoke on the fields of application for UV technology and the emergence of LED UV. Through its UV transfer testing centre in Nuertingen, the company is developing the technology’s applications and market.
In the forum’s exploration of new technologies, Trigon presented its expanded facilities in the Gulf and its gamut of services to ensure consistency and quality across products. “Your brand colour is your brand,” explained Vineeth Viswanathan, business head for Asia, the Middle East, and Europe.
ThermoflexX’s innovations in digital flexo plates were laid out by Christophe Lievens, director for sales and marketing. He pointed to the company’s ability to cater for all resolutions in the market,including higher-quality 5080 dpi, as well as features such as autocalibration and direct drum drive.
Ian Pollock, regional sales director for Presstek Europe spoke on the company’s direct impression (DI) thermal laser imaging and in chemical-free plates in the wider context of enhancing sustainability. In his view, “going green” is about “refining processes” and ensuring sustainability encompasses the entire printing context. He described the rise in the use of waterless presses and discussed the challenges of keeping the benefits of UV while removing the disadvantages.
Tetra Pak’s comprehensive commitment to environmental values were spotlighted by Rodney Reynders. “We are providing opportunities for mills to recycle,” he explained. “We create awareness of the value of cartons… We add value to the brand owner. We communicate with them… We do what’s right from an environmental point of view.”
Environment achievements were also trumpeted by Lisa Texier and Kannan Iyengar of Mars, who described how the company has eliminated landfill waste from its Jebel Ali plant. They explained how the company is reducing the number of layers in its products’ packaging, cutting thickness, and reducing the use of aluminium.
Uteco Converting’s technology for boosting efficiency and flexibility in flexible packaging was introduced by sales manager Luigi Fiorenzato. “Our target is to be the best in the scenario,” he explained. The company approach involves sourcing “82% of its components within 300 km of Verona”, he added.
Heidelberg’s technology for cartons was presented by Thomas Geiger, sales director for Central and Eastern Europe and the Middle East. He suggested that inline production already saves “6- 10% on raw materials” while still “far from its zenith”.events4
Gallus’s Hans Knopfel presented the development of the narrowweb label market. While demand is currently “disproportionately high in the West”, he forecast future growth in Asia and Latin America. Pressure-sensitive labels will meanwhile take over from segments such as wet glue, he predicted. “Surveys of printers spotlight job changes as the biggest concern,” he said. “Digital presses address many of their concerns.”
Security was to the fore in Ranesh Bajaj’s presentation for Vinsak, which included regional instances of tightening requirements to combat counterfeiting. “Brand protection in packaging is growing,” he said. “In 2005, the bank said there was no need to put security on cheques. In 2010, we convinced them to add 10 new features.” He cited the revival of intaglio and argued “the loss from counterfeiting is always more than the cost of preventing it”.
Speaking from outside the established packaging industry, Lamis Harib, the founder and CEO of BioD Packing & Packaging, described her efforts as “the first Arab-owned plant-based biodisposables and packaging company in the MEA”.
She described food and beverages products as both providing the highest influx of packaging and proving “the most problematic area”. BioD’s solutions have so far involved replacing Styrofoam with bagasse-placed materials and using bioplastics and pressed palm leaves.


Tetra Pak has released its 2015 sustainability report, which highlights the company’s achievements in environmental performance, social responsibility, and good governance over the past year
In its update on progress in meeting sustainability objectives Tetra Pak highlights a series of activities the group carried out in 2015.
• The Tetra Rex Bio-based carton hit the shelves in January 2015 as the world’s first fully renewable package manufactured solely from materials derived from plants.
• The revolutionary Tetra Pak® E3 was launched in June. This filling machine uses electron beams, rather than hydrogen peroxide, to sterilise packaging material, which results in significant energy savings and reduced environmental impact.
• The company has made good progress on implementing a global operational health and safety (OHS) management system. The target is to achieve OHSAS 18001 certification for all of Tetra Pak manufacturing sites by the end of 2016. So far 50% have been certified, which is up from 42% in 2013.
• Tetra Pak maintained its support of Dairy Hub projects in Bangladesh, Kenya, Nicaragua and Sri Lanka in 2014 and began a new project in Senegal in early 2015. Through these projects, the company helps to secure long-term supply of locally produced quality milk in developing countries. During the past year, as a result of Dairy Hubs, particular progress has been made in Bangladesh, where a typical dairy farmer’s net monthly income has reached USD245, up from USD70–90 in 2012.
• During the first quarter of 2015, Tetra Pak’s Deeper in the Pyramid (DiP) unit launched more than 20 new products designed specifically for the low income consumer segment in over 10 countries, while increasing the number of packages sold by 12%, compared to the same period last year.
“At Tetra Pak, our approach to sustainability derives from our brand promise: Protects what’s good,” said Dennis Jönsson, president and CEO, Tetra Pak
“That means protecting food, through our processing and packaging activities. But it also means protecting people, both inside and outside the company. And it means protecting futures: our planet’s, our customers’ and our own. “We have long realised the importance of balancing each of these commitments and that the only way to achieve this is through collaboration, innovation, determination and a strong sense of obligation across the entire company.
“With the announcement of the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, sustainability will be an area ever more integrated into the activities of companies worldwide. We are committed to working with our customers to meet the challenges that the UN has set out.” As part of Tetra Pak’s annual Communication on Progress (COP), a condensed version of the report has been submitted to the UN Global Compact, which demonstrates how the company is integrating the 10 principles on environmental performance, labour and human rights practices, and anti-corruption into its business strategy and day-to-day operations.techno
Tetra Pak considers itself the world’s leading food processing and packaging solutions company.
Working closely with its customers and suppliers, it has declared an aim of providing safe, innovative and environmentally sound products that each day meet the needs of hundreds of millions of people in more than 170 countries around the world.
With more than 23,000 employees based in over 80 countries, IHS has committed to responsible industry leadership and a sustainable approach to business.
The company sees its motto, ‘Protects what’s good’ as a reflection of its vision to make food safe and available, everywhere. More information about Tetra Pak is available at


Engel has bright hopes in the Middle East, where its market is set for a boost from major events – and ongoing turmoil
The Middle East’s many appealing characteristics are often outweighed its one key disadvantage – ongoing crisis. Yet for Austria’s Engel, a manufacturer of plastics processing machinery, there is an upside to supply chain disruption, explains Andreas Leitner, Sales Director Middle East, ENGEL.
“Geopolitical changes are affecting logistics in many cases,” he told Packaging MEA.
“As transport routes have been cut off, it is no longer possible to supply just-in-time deliveries from one region to another. This has brought about new plastics processing businesses and therefore new customers, especially in the smaller countries.”
Not that the company is reliant on negative developments for new business. Engel is also benefiting from the region’s economic progress and propitious demographics.
“The order situation is very good,” said Leitner of the company’s performance in 2015. “In the field of closures and packaging we expect a growth above 10% and in the fields of technical moulding and medical above 5%.”
Engel considers itself one of the global leaders in the manufacture of plastics processing machines. The group offers a full range of technology modules for plastics processing as a single source supplier: injection-moulding machines for thermoplastics and elastomers, and automation, with the assurance that individual components are also competitive and successful in the world markets.
Engel has nine production plants, in Europe, North America and Asia (China and Korea), and subsidiaries and representatives in more than 85 countries.
In the Middle East, demand is on an especially promising trajectory in Dubai and Qatar, said Leitner.
“Due to some large events taking place in the next few years such as Expo 2020 in Dubai and the 2022 football World Cup in Qatar, we are seeing exceptional growth, especially in those two countries,” he said. “For Qatar, this means the start of local production in many cases, which did not exist before. And in the United Arab Emirates, it is resulting in the continuous expansion of existing capacity in order to cope with these large events.”
Engel’s customers in Saudi Arabia have reported increases in turnover too, making the company feel “very positive about new projects in 2016”.
Leitner also underscores how sustainability is spurring the market’s expansion.
“What is particularly pleasing is the fact that sustainability is playing a very important role in all these investments,” he said. “Our product portfolio and our energy-efficient drive solutions in particular mean we are really meeting requirements very effectively here.”
In his view, Engel is positioned optimally to face the challenges in the Middle Eastern market. The regional sales team works closely with the packaging business unit at Engel’s headquarters in Austria, which bundles the experience gained from projects in the packaging industry across the globe, he added.
“Thanks to many years of experience in the industry, its outstanding expertise in system solutions, and its strong global presence, Engel is a reliable partner for all development and production processes,” said Leitner.
Installations in the GulfHe illustrates his view that Engel is “one of the most preferred plastics-processing industry partners in the Middle East” by citing installations in the UAE. “In the UAE, for example, all the well-known bottlers and bottle cap producers are using Engel e-cap injection moulding machines,” he said.
“The new Engel e-speed machine is becoming established in the region successfully too. One special highlight is a project involving the manufacture of airline cups that we completed in the UAE this year.pack1
“On an Engel e-speed 500 with a 12-cavity mould, we achieved a cycle time of under three seconds including part removal and stacking thanks to an ultra-fast injection time of 0.12 seconds. This means the Engel e-speed is very clearly setting new standards.”
In the UAE, Engel has now supplied three manufacturing units for making airline cups, he added.
“The Engel e-speed hybrid machine, which has an electric clamping unit, was developed specifically for demanding thinwall applications with high productivity and high energy efficiency requirements. It therefore meets the requirements of airline suppliers perfectly, who are having to make their products lighter and lighter because of fuel consumption.”
Across the company’s wider portfolio, Leitner highlights various opportunities Engel aims to target.
“In the caps and closures field there is a clear trend towards all-electric machines, as energy efficiency is becoming extremely important,” he explained.
“With subsidies being reduced in Saudi Arabia, electricity is going to become considerably more expensive in the next few years. From a technology viewpoint it is above all the low melt flow rate required to achieve the specified cap characteristics that define the high demands put on the injection moulding machine.
“Thanks to its direct drive unit, the allelectric Engel e-cap injection moulding machines achieve the precision and performance needed for this applications. Beyond that, its increased ejection and clamping force help it attain very short cycle times. With cycle times of under three seconds and injection speeds of up to 460mm per second, the Engel e-cap is designed for highest output performance and has set new standards for the entire industry in process stability and efficiency.”
He also pointed to the regional appeal of the all-electric Engel e-motion injectionmoulding machine, developed to turn thin-walled containers that meet high-tech requirements into low-cost products. “Engel packaging turnkey solutions help processing companies to conserve energy and raw materials, and to integrate various process steps by incorporating techniques such as inmould labelling,” he added.
“Engel works with system partners who are also leaders in their respective fields here, including Swiss IML expert BECK automation and Otto Hofstetter, which is also Swiss and a leading producer of moulds for thin-wall applications.”
Another welcome trend from Engel’s perspective is a shift towards plastic pallets.
“Engel helps plastics processing companies to follow this trend with flexible system concepts based on our large yet compact Engel duo machines,” said Leitner.
“In the Middle East, pallets made from plastic are especially environmentally friendly compared to wooden pallets. A further advantage of plastic pallets is their low weight. Together with our system partners and raw material producers, we are able to utilise a wide technology and material spectrum to make the pallets lighter while keeping them very stable and stiff at the same time.”
Intelligent packaging Engel is meanwhile aiming to keep pace of the industry’s requirements through research and development informed by market trends.pack
“At the moment, the trend towards smaller packaging units, the increasing significance of packaging design as a differentiating feature, the trend towards thin-wall packaging, conserving raw materials, energy, weight and costs, and the trend towards ‘intelligent’ packaging are being focused on,” Leitner explained.
“What is intelligent packaging? I’ll give you some examples. It could be packaging with a barrier layer that extends the shelf life of food, packaging with a colour indicator that tells the customer how fresh the product is or a container with a lid that has a spoon made and attached during the injection moulding process.”
But against its rivals in the Gulf, Engel’s competitive advantage hinges heavily also on its relationships with customers, according to Leitner.
“Engel’s real strengths here are its customer proximity and consulting,” he said. “The more complex an application, the more important it is that we work very closely with the customer from very early on in the project – and not everything can be discussed by phone or e-mail. Engel has strengthened its sales and service teams in every region of the earth in the last few years and can be at customer premises quickly, regardless of where they are in the world.”
For Leitner, this approach is not followed by “many suppliers, Asian competitors especially” in “either sales advice or servicing”.
“To us, servicing not only includes the classic areas like maintenance and troubleshooting, but also continuous process optimisation using optimisation tools, retrofitting, and also advice when a manufacturing cell has to be adapted to new requirements,” he said.
“Engel sees itself as an important partner to its customers for the entire service life of their injection moulding machines, robots, and system solutions.
Leitner further points to the role of Engel’s “partner network” in keeping ahead of competitors.

Unilever announces new global zero waste to landfill achievement

Over 600 Unilever sites have now eliminated waste to landfillwith EU pledge adopted by the signatories of the pledge
Dubai: Unilever today reached a new industry-leading achievement of sending zero non-hazardous waste to landfill across more than 600 sites, in 70 countries, including factories, warehouses, distribution centres and offices. Having identified the different non-hazardous waste streams in its operations Unilever has now found alternative routes for the waste from these sites.journey
In January 2015 Unilever announced that over 240 factories had achieved zero waste to landfill status – by replicating this zero waste model in other parts of the business, nearly 400 additional sites have now eliminated waste to landfill. This has been achieved by continuing with the four ‘R’ approach of reducing, reusing, recovering or recycling, proving that waste can be seen as a resource with many alternative uses – from converting factory waste to building materials, to composting food waste from staff cafeterias.
Unilever’s priority is to continually reduce waste and embrace circular models. As well as maintaining zero waste status at these locations, work continues to bring all sites in line, including all future site openings and acquisitions. Unilever ultimately aims to achieve zero waste across the value chain. Continued efforts on zero waste provide a strong business case for sustainability – eliminating waste has contributed to cost-benefits of €200million and created hundreds of jobs.
Unilever believes that its own goals, and moving other businesses and industries to zero waste, can only be realised by working with, and learning from, suppliers, partners and other organisations. For that reason, Unilever today also announced a new collaboration with the leading value-chain platform 2degrees to help bring organisations together to leverage the zero waste model. The new collaboration programme will go live in summer 2016.
Pier Luigi Sigismondi, Unilever Chief Supply Chain Officer, said: “The global challenge of a growing population relying on limited resources is very real. Our zero waste goal underpins Unilever’s sustainable growth ambitions, as well as our commitment to become resource resilient and tackle climate change.”
“While I am proud of what our employees and partners have achieved across our manufacturing operations and the wider business, there is a lot more to be done to inspire a wide-scale movement. It is time to accelerate efforts to move towards a zero waste world and our new collaboration with 2degrees will allow us to share lessons and experiences, and to encourage other businesses and industries to take up the zero waste challenge. By building a network of partners and working together, we can eliminate waste on an unprecedented scale across the globe.”
Martin Chilcott, Founder and CEO, 2degrees said: “Unilever is continuing to demonstrate the leadership necessary to tackle the biggest resource efficiency and sustainability challenges that businesses face. To achieve bold goals, such as zero waste in the value chain, we need equally bold action and collaboration at scale. I’m delighted to be working with them to co-create a programme, launching in summer 2016, to help make this happen.”
Unilever Sustainable Living Plan
Unilever has stated that its ambition is to double the size of its business while reducing its environmental impact. The company is the Food Products Industry Leader in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and was awarded a Gold Class distinction for its excellent sustainability performance by RobecoSAM in their Sustainability Yearbook 2015. The zero nonhazardous waste to landfill target forms a key element of Unilever’s sustainable growth ambitions.


R.K. Jain, Group President (Corp. F & A), Uflex Limited in an exclusive interview with Packaging Middle East and Africa explains how company’s extensive range of flexible packaging business activities beholds a future full of promising opportunities.
By April 2017, the aseptic packaging plant at Sanand in India’s Gujarat, will be commercially operational, confirming the dynamism and ambition of Uflex that eyes for a broad slice of the flexible packaging market. This plant for packaging liquid products is being set up with an initial investment of about USD 85 million.
With a targeted annual production of about 7 billion packs for packing products such as dairy products, energy drinks and other nonaerated liquids, the factory is part of what Uflex describes as a drive to complete its product bouquet that currently spans through packaging solutions for solids, semi-solids, powders, granular material, viscous fluids, gels, pastes. The only category that remains unattended today is packaging solutions for liquids. With 72 acres of land already at hand in Sanand, the flexible packaging behemoth may also consider expansion of the manufacturing facilities of its existing businesses.PMEA3
Uflex’s capacity for manufacturing value added packaging products in India totals to about 100,000 TPA, while its packaging film manufacturing capacity in India, Egypt, Mexico, Poland, USA, and UAE, aggregates to around 337,000 TPA.
Group President (Corp. F & A), Uflex Mr.R.K. Jain told Packaging MEA in complete candour that Middle Eastern and African brands looking for a reliable partner for flexible packaging solutions can completely rely on Uflex for the product that is clearly a cut above the rest in terms of quality and the underlying technology. “While we can supply the packaging film from our manufacturing facilities at Jebel Ali (UAE) and Egypt, other value added packaging products can be sourced from our flourishing business in India.” said a confident Jain.
“If you talk about packaging in its basic form, it has now become extremely commoditised with several companies trying their hands in it,” he said. “I think what makes the difference is innovation to create sustained value added differentiation. At Uflex we customise the product to exactly map the requirements of our clientele world over. Coming to think of it, no two solutions that we offer will be the same. This capability puts us in a different league altogether. Not only do our packaging films but also our packaging products and other offerings like packaging machines, brand protection and anti-counterfeiting solutions (keeping spurious and look-alikes at bay), rotogravure printing cylinders; flexo-polymer plates; elastomers & sleeves, inks, adhesives, coatings and polyols etc. bring immense value for our customers.”, further added Jain.PMEA2
“Our speed to market reach and the ability to process any quantum of order ensuring just in time (JIT) deliveries anywhere in the world makes us a preferred packaging solution partner. We have our indigenous team of engineers to commission the plants in the lowest possible time. Every little step adds up to the capacity and capability of Uflex as a Group. With best brains and the most contemporary technology by our side we have actually taken the flexible packaging industry as a whole to the next level” asserted Jain.
The company notably has 14 packaging film lines operating globally, and running in the most optimised manner.
Responding to a question about what differentiates Uflex from other players, Jain said, “Not everybody is able to run the plant at a speed of 500 metres per second. It’s like the speedometer in a car. Some people are comfortable driving only at 70/ 80 km per hour while others are even under control at the speed of 120. Something similar happens with plants too. The degree of productivity significantly varies from one company to the other. A big differentiating point is how one operates the plants? “At what efficiency level does one operate? How is one making the best use of available resources? We are able to run our plants at the designed capacities and with our soft skills, at times we have been able to derive much more than what the plant is actually designed for. This is a big plus. PMEA1Where Uflex unquestionably differs from its peers is the fact that its business model covers the entire spectrum of flexible packaging solutions with an unwavering focus on meeting the customers’ requirements at all times. The fact of the matter is that we are fully integrated global flexible packaging solution provider. We make packaging films and also the value added packaging products like flexible packaging laminates (in roll form); prefabricated pouches, flexi-tubes (laminated) and big bags. We also manufacture the raw material for the polyester films i.e. the PET chips at our plant in Malanpur (India). As explained earlier we are further into packaging machines, chemicals, cylinders and flexo-plates/sleeves and entire gamut of brand protection/ anticounterfeiting or holographic solutions. This puts us in a great competitive stead to understand the ins and outs of the flexible packaging business and succeed.” emphasized R.K. Jain.PMEA
“When we work on new packaging products we simultaneously work on engineering the associated packaging machine so that we could offer our customers a holistic solution rather than a piecemeal portion. Uflex is a one stop solution meeting all flexible packaging needs.” exclaimed Jain.
“Over the years we have emphatically built upon these capabilities. This is what a solution-oriented approach for the business is all about.” He said. Elaborating more about the manufacturing model, Jain said. “The merit of our operation lies in its expanse. Starting from the PET chips (raw material) as one moves up the chain one can actually assess the value that goes into the making of a product till its fag end where the package is ready in all respects. Another point worth noting is that not only do all our businesses produce for in-house consumption, they also supply to the open market in their Individual capacities. Thus we are always abreast with the latest trends and technology at all junctures of the value chain”, he added.
“As a producer of packaging films, one of Uflex’s key considerations is sustainability” emphasized Jain. “We extensively research for reduction at source and associated light weighting. This significantly reduces our carbon footprint. Besides being low at source, our films and packaging products are re-cyclable and re-processable. Socioenvironmental sustainability is deeply embedded in our business model. Our first award on the international level for promoting eco-friendly products and responsible handling of packaging waste dates back to as early as 1994.” he told Packaging MEA.
For Jain, Uflex’s winning approach towards business stems fraom its roots, being established as Flex Industries back in 1985 by Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi, a ‘First Generation Entrepreneur’ who is fondly revered as the Father of the Indian Flexible Packaging Industry. Mr. Chaturvedi brought about a revolution in the Indian FMCG sector by introducing unit packs/ sachets for mouth fresheners, shampoos, ketchup etc in the eighties. With humble beginnings, Uflex under the aegis of Mr. Ashok Chaturvedi owing to his passion, commitment, grit, dynamism and foresight has now emerged as India’s largest flexible packaging solution company and a leading global player with consolidated revenue of USD 1 billion. “The pace at which we are innovating and growing, Uflex endeavours to double its revenue to USD 2 billion in 4-5 years.” said Jain summing up the conversation.