Towards A Modern Bulk Packaging Infrastructure

The Bulk Pack 2010 International Conference was held at the Novotel Convention Centre in Hyderabad, India on the 8th and 9th of April, 2010. It was staged concurrently with the India Packaging Show 2010 and Bulk Pack 2010 which took place at the HITEX Exhibition Centre at Hyderabad.

With ‘Towards a Modern Bulk Packaging Infrastructure’ as its theme, the Bulk Pack International Conference was sub-divided into 4 half-day sessions, each of which highlighted a particular aspect of Bulk Packaging. More than 100 delegated attended each of the sessions on both the days and were delighted to have one to one interaction with both national and international speakers.

The Conference was organised by Print-Packaging.Com Pvt. Ltd. in association with the Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FAPCCI) and was sponsored by ITW India. With Automation Industry Association as its knowledge partner, the seminar was also supported by the Indian Flexible Intermediate Bulk Container Association (IFIBCA), the All India Flat Tape Manufacturers Association (AIFTMA), the Bulk Drug Manufacturers Association (India), the All India Food Processors Association (AIFPA), the Hologram Manufacturers Association of India (HOMAI) and the Indian Biscuits Manufacturers’ Association (IBMA).

Session 1: Bulk Barrier and Aseptic Packaging
Session 1 commenced with a white paper on the Indian Bulk Packaging Industry by industry consultant S. Chidambar. The paper was aimed at presenting the findings of a detailed market study carried out by him on behalf of and to quantify the major segments of the Indian Bulk Packaging industry. The study identified most of the important bulk packaging systems being used and manufactured in India. Not many people are aware that the bulk packaging business – mainly industrial packaging for use by large manufacturers and distributors - accounts for over 40 percent of the total packaging spend in the developed countries. Even in India, where the focus of the study was only on applications that require a reasonable ‘technology’ or ‘packaging’ input, the total annual revenues identified were in excess of Rs 26,000 crores.

Bulk packaging systems are designed primarily for handling industrial inputs like basic materials and intermediates in bulk & components and for bulk transporting and distribution of even small unit retail packaged goods. There is a substantial overlap between bulk packaging and some other technology areas like warehousing, materials handling, transportation and logistics, storage and retrieval systems both in-plant and across the entire supply chain. To a large extent, the state of this industry is dependent on the quality and efficiency of infrastructure that exists at the premises of both manufacturers and end-users as well in the public domain like transportation systems, roads and highways, railheads, ports and distribution and trans-shipment centres. If taken into account a relevant portion of these industries, the total bulk packaging business in India could well be worth between Rs 30,000 and Rs 35,000 crores per annum. The actual growth and acceptance of bulk packaging applications is constrained by the present availability and quality of infrastructure, knowledge levels on how to handle bulk packages and the significant upfront investments required although the derived benefits in terms of convenience, time saved, lower manpower deployment and savings in total system costs are substantial. An interesting finding was that the Bulk Packaging solutions providers in India are very competent and are, in fact, global leaders in several segments despite the low domestic demand for their systems. Overall, the growth potential and outlook for Bulk Packaging in India are very promising.

This paper was followed by a presentation on ‘Bulk Barrier Packaging for High Value Tea Storage and Exports’ by P. Dasgupta of Hindustan Unilever. He presented the findings on experiments carried out by them to identify the critical barrier parameters for maintaining preserving high quality tea. They identified these as prevention of moisture ingress and prevention of oxidative deterioration of some key volatile ingredients. They then tried out high moisture and gas barrier bulk flexible bag systems placed inside corrugated cartons evaluating both nitrogen flushing and vacuum packaging for excluding atmospheric oxygen. He showed video clips of both variants and concluded that both were found to be suitable although, ideally, the flushing process needs to incorporate both vacuumisation and nitrogen flushing.

This was followed by three presentations on flexible bag-in-box and bag-in-drum systems for both aseptic and non-aseptic applications by Rajesh Ainchwar of DuPont, M.G.Dixit of Scholle Packaging and Zizzi Guglielmo of Goglio, whose companies are the world leaders in these technologies. Many interesting options were discussed including special valves for venting of gases developed by processed products during storage after packaging, sensitive food products like fruit juices, dairy products and beverages, the critical requirements of maintaining asepsis and the handling of materials in bulk by reinforcing flexible bag systems with external protection using steel or plastic drums/corrugated packaging/rigid IBC’s.

Gautama Buddha of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories then presented a paper on ‘Challenges of Bulk Barrier Packaging for Pharmaceuticals’. The bulk products handled by this industry are mainly bulk drugs and some ingredients that are mostly in powder form, which are shipped in fibre drums and FIBC’s. The other bulk packaging system used is for transport packaging of unit packs is CFC’s, which are usually palletised and stretch wrapped.

The session concluded with a presentation by Ashish Powari of Sealed Air on ‘Flexible IBC for Aseptic and Non Aseptic Products’ in which he discussed their system which uses specially designed flexible laminate bags that are put into either metal or plastic drums or CFC’s. Aseptic products are catered to using special accessories and filling systems for creating and maintaining asepsis.

Session 2: Flexible Intermediate Bulk Packaging & Woven Sacks
Session 2 was kicked off by Anil Kumar of Jumbo Bags, who is also the President of the IFIBCA. He presented a paper on ‘Status of FIBC Industry in India’. He talked about the very impressive track record and capabilities of this industry in India; its annual output is about 150,000 MT despite the domestic demand being less than 10 million bags per year. It is one of the three largest producers of FIBC’s in the world.

This was followed by a presentation by Makrand Appalwar of Emmbi Polyarn on ‘Advantages of FIBC in Modern Bulk Packaging & Material Handling’ in which he detailed the different varieties of FIBC’s available, their advantages and their manufacture. The major advantage of the FIBC is that1 gm of polymer can be used to handle 1 kg of product (1,000 times its weight).

Deepti Prakash Moharana of Haldia Petrochemicals then talked about ‘Opportunities for FIBC for Various Domestic End Use Sectors in India’. He put the Indian industry’s output at 134, 000 MT for 2009, of which the domestic usage is about 28,000 MT. The major end-user industries are PET/PTA resins, carbon black, alumina and clay.

The next presentation, made by Rakesh Shah and Anuj Sahni of Windmoller & Holscher, on ‘Block Bottom Welded Woven Sacks’ discussed their new AD proTex woven sack systems that have a welded block bottom construction that make them hermetically sealed and easy to stack. These bags are about 50-70 percent more expensive than conventional sewn woven sacks.

The next presentation was by Dr. Herbert Kielbassa of LABORDATA International Materials Testing Institute on ‘International Test Procedures for Safe Handling of FIBC for Dangerous & Non Dangerous Goods, Single & Multi Trip’. He outlined how test procedures are set up for FIBC’s and discussed a couple of case studies.

Arnold Sillip of Starlinger then presented a paper titled ‘New Generation Woven Sack Design, Manufacturing and High Speed Filling Systems’. He put the global output of woven sack systems at between 400 and 500 KTPA. Their latest system provides tape that has a strength of 6 gms/denier and has a 23 percent higher elongation than conventional tape.

The final presentation in this session was ‘End User Experiences & Expectations from FIBC Industry’ by Vivek Mehta of Indian Oil Corporation, who are the largest users of FIBC’s in India. He talked about the significant benefits that they have reaped and provided to end-users by using FIBC’s for bulk packaging of PTA. They are also shortly commissioning a new project for manufacture of polymers with a special focus on the requirements of FIBC manufacturers.

Session 3: Bulk Rigid Packaging & Accessories
The first presentation of this session was made by B.K. Karna of the Indian Institute of Packaging, Hyderabad on ‘Latest Trends in Bulk Rigid Packaging and Test & Validation Protocols’. He described the various major rigid bulk packaging systems and the important test procedures for evaluating them.

G.S. Low of Chevron Phillips Chemicals then spoke on ‘Commodity Polymers for Bulk Rigid Packaging’. He described the various special grades of polyethylene resins used for rigid bulk packaging applications.

This was followed by a presentation on ‘Evolution of Metal Drums & Barrels In India’ by Anand Dayal of Balmer Lawrie. He traced the development and growth of metal drum and closures in India. He put the present usage of metal drums in India at 7.5 million per annum.

J.A. Patwe of Time Technoplast then made a presentation on ‘IBC – A Proven Bulk Packaging Solution’. He described the major variants of Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBC’s) available. The standard IBC has a 1 MT capacity and can be stacked 4 high during shipment of filled containers.

The next presentation was on ‘Ensuring Structural Integrity and Performance in Bulk Rigid Packaging Using FEA Tools’ by Ravi Dhulipalla of Tata Elxsi. He described how finite element analysis can be used for structural design in rigid bulk packaging systems.

Ramkumar Sunkara of Pacopack presented the next paper on ‘New Freight Saving Square Eco Friendly Fibre Board Drums for Bulk Drugs & Agro Chemicals’. This described a new system of fibre drums that have a rectangular shape to facilitate better cube utilisation and thereby save on storage and transportation. The drums are made by convolute winding of 300 gsm kraft paper.

The final presentation in this session was ‘Bulk CFC Based System for Exports’ by S. Ramakrishna of ITC’s Agri Business Division ILTD. This paper presented some impressive warehousing and bulk packaging systems used by them for handling leaf tobacco for exports.

Session 4: Bulk Material Handling & Automation
In this session, a paper on ‘Latest Trends in Automation for Bulk Packaging’ was presented by Anup Wadhwa of the Automation Industries Association which highlighted some new system approaches to automation of bulk packaging,. There were further presentations on various aspects of automation in bulk material handling and packaging with several video clips demonstrating installations where these had been implemented.

P.V. Sivaram offered various solutions in a paper titled ‘Coordinated Drive Controls for Long Conveyors’, N.L.N. Raju discussed ‘New Generation End-of-line Solutions for Bulk Packaging Systems’ and Markus Haasner of Maschinenfabrik Mollers talked about ‘Advanced Palletising Systems’ including the need to custom design end-to-end solutions for palletizing and pallet handling.

Narendra Deshpande of Cotmac Electronics presented a paper on ‘Intelligent Material Handling of Bulk Packaged Goods’, which discussed special control systems for bulk packaging. This was followed by a paper on ‘Smart Controls Using 3-D Sensing’ by Sagar Thakare of IFM Electronic where he discussed a new range of optical sensors that could be used to monitor and control levels and volumes in bulk packages.

The session concluded with a presentation on ‘Robotic Cartoning and Palletising Systems’ by Anil Chaudhry of ABB in which he discussed new robots designed for bulk packaging and showed clips of installations in India for handling liquid beverages and paints. The QA sessions at the end of each session gave the attendees an opportunity to put across their doubts and get solutions to their problems from the experienced national and international Speakers.

All the presentations made at the conference are available for viewing and download at the India Packaging Show and Bulk Pack 2010 website.



BulkPack 2010 9-12 April 2010, HITEX Exhibition Centre, Hyderabad, India India Packaging Show 2010