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Trends and developments in the Asian Flexible Packaging Market

Articles
Fischer Michael CMYK

Michael Fischer

Michael Fischer, CEO Asia Pacific at Windmöller & Hölscher, talks about the importance of the Asian market, the trends in the industry and the innovations shown at Chinaplas 2016.

Mr. Fischer, Chinaplas 2016 is coming up – how is the market for flexible packaging in Asia-Pacific developing?
Rising expectation on quality, productivity and sustainability gave a boost to the already growing market of flexible packaging. More and more rigid packaging solutions like glass bottles are being replaced by flexible ones, always considering environmental friendly raw materials to be used. PVC products were replaced by PP and HDPE. These developments fueled the growing importance of the flexible packaging market.

Which technological trends where especially important during the last years?
There are a few important developments, especially driven by better priceperformanceratios and increasing functionality. Nowadays, 3 and even 5 layer polyolefin structures gained in importance compared to mono extrusion in the past. New raw materials have been developed allowing the down gauging process, by adding different functional layers. At the same time, the overall thickness was reduced, without having lost the technical properties of the packaging material needed. W&H recognized these developments early on and reacted with the design of machines and products strictly according to market needs. With success: The market for W&H in Asia Pacific has grown to a substantial size, especially during the past five years.

What do you think will be the most relevant trends in the flexible packaging market in Asia in the next few years?
Improving price-performance ratio as well as flexibility while at the same time offering new functionalities – these goals will continue to be the drivers for upcoming developments. In extrusion, we can clearly see that the machine widths are getting wider: What once used to be 1600 mm has become at least 2200 mm. 5 layer polyolefin products with additional functional layers will continue to replace 3 layer products. When we focus on the final application we surely can say that breathable film extruded in blown film technology with inline MDO continues to grow fast in Asia. Additionally, the trend of down gauging whilst maintaining unchanged properties keep producers occupied with optimizing their production. Here W&H offers a great experience, because our machines are developed in close relationship with raw material suppliers as well as customers to safeguard the processing of various new materials and to keep the flexibility to react quickly on changing conditions.

How did W&H develop its offer in the Asian Pacific market during the last years?
In addition to the innovations and developments of our machines, that we offerour clients worldwide, we have especially focused on customer care and service in the Asian market during the last years. To serve our customers in the Asian Pacific region, we build a strong service team with highest qualification in the region. With approx. 30 mechanics and electricians W&H has started to roll out his service platform in China, Thailand and Australia. They are supported by remote diagnostic centers in India, Germany and the US, to attend service calls 24/7.

Which innovations will W&H show at Chinaplas?
We will be focusing on our AQUAREX - upside down water quench - process technology, which is very successful in China. Our new innovation is the latest AQUACAGE. This calibration basket is able to adjust to a flexible film size between 750 and 1250 mm. W&H will also participate at a seminar to speak about barrier film production on occasion of Nippon Goshei's barrier film seminar, which will take place on 26.4.2016 during Chinaplas this year. Benchmarking innovations are also to be expected during forthcoming DRUPA and K shows in Düsseldorf, Germany in May/June and October, later mthis year.

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