UFlex demonstrated another quarter of path-breaking innovations across business verticals. Continued focus on research-led innovation resulted in several new product launches.
Let’s look at the pathbreaking product innovations steered by the company in the quarter that ended December 31, 2022
1. ‘F-TFE’ Thermoformable BOPET Film:
‘F-TFE’ Mono or Co-extruded transparent Biaxially-Oriented Polyethylene Terephthalate or BOPET film is specially designed for thermoforming applications for depth formation, and this film is recommended to be laminated with a sealant layer. Its outstanding properties include high tensile strength, chemical stability, dimensional integrity, and transparency. It is an updated version of our existing grade of F-TFP. Additionally, this film can be corona treated on both sides or on a single side to enable wettability for ink adhesion while printing. A recent sample was approved by an LLP named Print and Pack of Uzbekistan, and UFlex produced 36 MT quantities of 12 microns, 15 microns, and 19 microns for them.
2. ‘F-POX’ Excellent Oxygen and Moisture Barrier Transparent BOPET Film:
This is an excellent oxygen (0.5 cc/m2/day) and moisture barrier (2.0 gm/m2/day) transparent BOPET film with optical clarity. This is a superior product to PVDC-coated PET film and EVOH PET film. It is also thermally stable and achieves exceptional processability. This film enables see-through packaging while functioning as a high aroma retention barrier. It is apt for storing dry and chilled food.
1. Flexseal HSL 1025 (G) and Flexseal HSL 1024 (F):
Adding to the long list of green solutions offered by UFlex's chemical business, UFlex developed water-based heat sealable coatings in Q3 2022 for Kraft paper bags for their e-commerce business. With its base being water, the product is environment-friendly. It is a highly advanced product for sealing a formidable bond between coatings of flexible packaging materials. In addition, it is compatible with Gravure and Flexo application processes to produce high-quality e-commerce bags.
2. Flexgreen Sprayable top coat gloss coating:
This LED coating is made from fiberglass-reinforced optical polymer materials, adding to its visual appeal. It is based on radical chemistry wherein the coating instantly cures in UV LED lamps of 385-395 nm wavelengths. With diverse applications in the construction industry, this considerably flexible coating offers excellent curing capability on high-speed machines. Further, as its curing depends on UV LED light, it leads to energy savings of about 30-70% compared to mercury-based UV lamps.
3. Flexcure Super Matt:
It’s been designed as a free radical UV coating for absorbent and non-absorbent underlayers like paper, polythene, and polypropylene. This coating has applications in product labels and mono-carton packaging for materials like cosmetics, bottle labeling, pharma, and health and wellness range of products.
4. Flexcote MH 785:
For a durable bond and excellent seal strength, UFlex has developed a solvent-based adhesive with high solids and low viscosity for medium to high performance in flexible packaging applications. It is a cost-effective solution offering excellent bond and seal strength. Holography Business
1. 3D Optics as a superior security feature for product authentication:
UFlex developed a 3D Flipogram material to authenticate genuine products from counterfeits, protecting consumers from spurious products. Using complex micro-optical technology, the material creates a unique lenticular visual effect. As a result, a simple glance at the product and its 3D visual imagery effect ensures that consumers are purchasing genuine products. The spectacular visual effect of the 3D Flipogram material makes the product stand out and requires no special lighting or reading device to ensure authenticity.
In addition, this technology is unique and cannot be duplicated. This product can find applications in domains such as automobiles, electronics, FMCG, pharma, tobacco, identity cards/certificates, and in the Government excise business. The flexible 3D Flipogram material can be transparent, translucent, or opaque as per customer requirements, with the processed film being supplied in 40 and 70-micron versions.
It is tamper-resistant and malleable for use in strips or sheet form, and printing on it is possible with high precision in multiple colors.
Some materials can be used on glass, cans, plastic bottles, paper, cardboard, leather, and metal. Further, tracking through QR codes or sequential numbering is also possible as per customer requirements.
2. Floating lens film with customized brand logo:
Another great innovation in the quarter that ended December 31, 2022, was developing a new and advanced brand protection packaging product consisting of customized emboss film designed for laminates, paper board, and UV offset printing on mono cartons. A slight rotation and tilting in light reveal the brand logo, and this has critical applications in the pharma industry to protect from counterfeit drugs.
This product will go a long way in ensuring the safety of patients and healthcare professionals.
Flexible Packaging Business
1. Enhancing consumer engagement via variable data incorporation in packaging:
To enhance consumer engagement, UFlex developed a new packaging solution for Mondelez’s Cadbury Choclairs sachet in Q3 2022 wherein variable data was incorporated using laser coding in white MasterBatch-induced PE film. Each pack had a different code which was used by the brand owner to connect with the consumers.
2. Eco-friendly Chotu Pack:
With brand owners continuously looking at reducing the environmental impact caused by non-recyclable packaging, UFlex launched a fully recyclable spout pouch using BOPP (Biaxially Oriented Polypropylene)/PE films for Kissan Chotu Pack. The new packaging solution developed by UFlex provides more homogeneity and ease of recycling in the value chain for the Chotu Pack.
3. 3.2 Litre re-closable stand-up pouch for Surf Excel:
In another demonstration of excellence in providing eco-friendly flexible packaging solutions for storing liquids, UFlex developed a large format re-closable stand-up pouch for Surf Excel. This re-closable pouch can store up to 3.2 liters of liquid laundry. This pack was extremely well received by the rising class of environmentally-conscious consumers. This pouch also consumes less shelf space than its rigid counterpart, making it a clear winner.
Printing Cylinders Business
1. Embossing Effect on Fabrics:
While embossing has found broad applicability in advertising and marketing industries, it has remained a challenge for the Indian textile businesses. The embossing technique can help create three-dimensional images and patterns on a product's surface through heat and pressure. But when it comes to embossing on fabrics, the challenge for the Indian textile market has been in getting the three-dimensional effect right and the availability of easy-to-use and cost-effective equipment.
Addressing this challenge creatively for the first time in India, UFlex has developed embossed cylinders to produce an embossing effect on fabrics. This revolution in innovation by UFlex is projected to benefit the Indian textile market immensely.
2. Attal Promotional Bags:
The Attal Promotional Bags developed by UFlex is set to benefit many brands. The product packs some unique features like two layers metallic effect in halftone without using metalized film. UFlex has also introduced special security features in this product, like micro text, dot security, and line security. These security features will support brands in promoting genuine products and encourage them in their fight against counterfeiting.
Innovation is part of UFlex’s strategic vision, and the company continues to make great strides in developing innovative products and solutions. The packaging sector continues to witness innovations and it is imperative to strengthen its core and ancillary business process segments. To cater to the fast-growing and significant pouch sealing and filling segment UFlex launched a machine in Q3 2022 called LPFS-4U or 4 UP Linear, Pick, Fill, and Seal that guarantees speed, performance, safety, hygiene and caters to environment-conscious brands.
This machine is entirely servo driven with an operator-friendly human interface module and an efficient filling system that can address many applications. This machine can run up to 20 PPM per track and has four channels. LPFS-4U has been well accepted in the market, and UFlex witnessed the first win with a big MNC in Q3 2022. The developers are confident that this product will have a more-than-normal life cycle and create high value for clients.
2. Quick changeover in Rotogravure Printing:
Rotogravure printing involves a rotary press with cylinders typically rotating at high speeds used for printing various substrates for packaging/magazines. However, one of the significant drawbacks that professionals face with this technology is the time taken during job changeovers. To solve this, self-shaft chucking, trolley systems, and sleeve-mandrel methodologies came into existence. While the industry has learned to live with the drawbacks, UFlex made some innovations to make it even more efficient by enabling auto changeover.
Some of the exciting features added to the process by UFlex include the following:
a) The unique concept of equipping the trolley with a doctor's blade
b) The detachable ink tank with click-in positioning to avoid the ink return mechanism separately
c) Doctor Blade oscillation through a pneumatic motor with variable speed control, moving over rollers guide for firmness
d) Precision positioning of the trolley at desired locations
e) By automation, the trolley becomes an integral part of the mainframe in working, helping in accurate output
f) Reduction in job change over time as changeover works simultaneously on all desired stations
g) Reduction in the workforce
h) Improvement in output
i) Quality improvement
This new concept is likely to take the industry by storm, especially in price-sensitive markets like India, where success depends on product economics. UFlex’s inventions go well with the customers’ goals for increased productivity by approximately 400 to 500 kgs more; considering assumptions like four job changeovers per day, 12 microns PET as substrate, the operational speed of 300 mpm, and considering the job is 1300 mm wide.