UFlex set to double aseptic beverage pack production amid surging Asian demand
04 Jan 2021 --- UFlex, India’s largest multinational flexible packaging and polymer science company, is doubling its production capacity for aseptic beverage packs to meet rising demand. Within ten months, the company says it will be able to produce seven billion aseptic packs annually.
The expansion will see UFlex’s liquid packaging brand Asepto convert to new machinery and bring its range of dairy, alcohol and juice solutions to Asia and other continents.
“In a small span of time, we are trying to address the diverse needs of global brands and this plant capacity expansion will help us address the manufacturing requirements for newer formats of packaging that we plan to export,” an UFlex spokesperson explains to PackagingInsights.
“We have also introduced several value-added products for the first time in the history of aseptic packaging, like the holography and foil stamping concepts.”
Expanding through COVID-19
UFlex is currently still commissioning the project but says the boost in capacity is just the beginning of a global expansion, something that has been unimpeded by COVID-19, it claims.
“Despite the pandemic, we have continued to deliver services without a pause and carried on innovating to deliver expected results to our customers,” says Ashwani Kumar Sharma, president & CEO of liquid packaging at UFlex.
The company’s flagship aseptic product, Asepto, is a six-layered packaging material composed of paperboard, aluminum and polyethylene.
“We have been working on taking Asepto globally, and our expansion takes a leap to enlarge the brand’s horizons to different continents. The expansion steps in our operations reflect Asepto’s strong position in the marketplace,” continues Sharma.
UFlex was the first Indian company to produce liquid aseptic packaging and is expecting a 25 percent growth in its business over the next couple of years.
German machines, Indian packaging
UFlex is utilizing German machine technology to achieve its expansion plans, explains Ashok Chaturvedi, chairman and managing director of UFlex.
“The first phase of expansion will focus on adding new machines to the existing line. This is the new generation Gallus printing line from Germany,” he details.
“This new-age machine has progressive features, loaded with sophisticated technologies that make it extremely efficient and sound in operation. The machine prints at a speed of 500 meters per minute (MPM).”
“The Slitting Line is a high-performance machine from IMS Technologies in Italy, which is super-fast, giving output at a speed of 1200 MPM.”
In addition to increasing capacity, the company has also added a Doctoring Line and over eight new tools and formats as part of its expansion.
Aseptic booms in emerging markets
Countries like India are seeing significant aseptic market growth due to the ascending demand for extended shelf life products, convenience, transportation and recyclability.
UFlex tells PackagingInsights the Indian aseptic liquid packaging market is growing at the rate of 17 to 18 percent per annum and is expected to double in the next five years to approximately 20 billion packs per annum.
The company aims to capitalize on government regulations’ rising stringency and consumer health concerns, which increasingly demand reductions in waste and better hygiene and safety assurance.
Focusing on shelf life and preservation has allowed UFlex to address both these issues, says Sharma.
Asian aseptic solutions
According to Sharma, in 2019, aseptic pack production was already numbered at over 80 billion per year.
This exemplifies a rising trend for aseptic packaging in the Asian market, for which a growing number of companies are innovating.
Last year, Indonesian food and beverage manufacturer Real Good became the first national company to receive a Class A certification from Indonesia’s National Agency of Drug and Food Control in the Aseptic category. This was achieved through the use of Ecolean’s aseptic lightweight packs.
In December, Sidel brought its novel aseptic technology to the Asian market for the first time, providing Japanese drinks manufacturer Sangaria with “revolutionary” technology for its dairy and juice products.
By Louis Gore-Langton
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