Indonesia plant is part of Southeast Asia expansion: Jigish Doshi

With the industry trying to achieve pre-Covid levels of business, some are taking this as an opportunity to expand and set up new facilities to showcase their manufacturing prowess. Jigish Doshi, CMD, Vishakha Polyfab, in an interaction with Pushkar Oak, informs that Indonesia expansion was part of the Southeast Asia plan. The company’s JV partner in the project is the well-known global food processing giant Wilmar.
Indonesia plant is part of Southeast Asia expansion: Jigish Doshi

How do you serve the industry?

Vishakha manufactures high-strength flexible packaging films and provides customised packaging solutions across the globe. We manufacture up to 9 layers of co-extrusion films for advanced packaging solutions – Rotogravure & CI Flexo printing, lamination, pouch making etc. Besides, the company also has an exclusive brand for the retail and household segment named Zipfresh. Available in various sizes, these zip-lock pouches are fast gaining massive demand and great popularity.

Vishakha Polifab is part of the Vishakha Group. The group stands for integrity, quality and innovation. Serving various industrial segments, the group is diversified into flexible packaging, solar renewable products; injection, rotational & blow-moulded products, drip irrigation systems & pipes; plastic agricultural, industrial, silage, pond, canal liner and films.

Share with us about Vishakha Polyfab’s recent expansions.

We at Vishakha Polyfab have executed expansion of our flexible packaging and pouch making capabilities in three manufacturing sites in the current year 2020-2021. Currently, we are having a capacity of 22500 metric tonne. Two of our greenfield flexible packaging projects in Kolkata and Indonesia has created capacity right from the commencement stage in December 2020 and February 2021. This purpose-built plant spans across 25000 square meters.

Our first greenfield packaging projects with a new plant in Kolkata started its operations in December. It added 4500 metric tonne of flexible materials and pouches annually. While the second is the execution of PT Flextech packaging large-scale plant in Indonesia, a JV with Wilmar Group. The Indonesia plant has become operational from January 2021. It starting with film extrusion, printing and converting, and pouch making equipment and is capable of generating 13500 packaging materials annually. Under the remote guidance of the manufacturer’s engineers, our engineers faced considerable travel constraints as most of our equipment arrived at the plant during the Covid 19 pandemic. Starting from March, the entire plant will complete its commissioning and start supplying our customers.

How well-equipped is the Indonesia plant?
A total of four blown film extrusion lines are installed at the plant. Two are from Windmoller & Holscher 7-layer lines for producing high-barrier films. Meeting our printing requirements, the plant has three Bobst 9 colour rotogravure presses and an 8 colour Bobst CI flexo press, all based on European technology. Moving to converting, we have inducted laminators from Nordmeccanica also from Europe and numerous pouch making machines from Totani from Japan. There is an additional pouch making line from Hudson-Sharp from the USA with wickets for producing a high volume of bread bags at high speed. The overall pouch making capacity of the plant is 450 million pouches a year. The new Indonesia plant’s capabilities are entirely for the production of high volume and high barrier materials and pouches for food commodities such as edible oil, rice, grain, flour and bread bags. First, we are aiming at the local market of Indonesia and then nearby markets such as Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. The new plant will employ around 200 personnel from nearby countries.

How did you manage the Covid pandemic crisis?
The operations were closed only for seven days after the Covid pandemic hit India and to follow the nation-wide lockdown announced on March 23 last year. We continued with our expansion plans including setting up the Kolkata plant. With the ease of restriction for manufacturers, we installed imported machinery which was awaiting clearance. Installation of the machinery took a longer duration as engineers managed the whole process over remote video assistance from the manufacturers as the oversees engineers were unable to travel down to India.

We have considerably improved our leadership position in the Indian as well as the global market of high barrier packaging film with our recent investments in the new blown film among other few. This has resulted in a 25 per cent hike of Vishakha Polyfab’s high barrier film production capacity made from EVOH & nylon in India.

Our partnership with Brampton Engineering, a leading provider of multi-layer air blown and water quenched film systems from Canada, has now crossed almost 20 years. We have recently purchased BE 7 & 9 layer multi-layer barrier blown film line that enabled it to acquire the first position in the barrier film market as a leader. Our close and productive collaboration has enabled us to grow together in the region and we are looking forward to Vishakha’s continued success in leading the multi-layer barrier blown film industry in the region.

India has established itself as one of the most demanded markets in the packaging sector globally. It is an attractive destination for solutions on the high barrier packaging film across the globe and is one of the reasons, India ranks among the top 3 global markets.

Can you deliberate on the current status of the plastic industry?
It was a very challenging time for the industry back when the lockdown was initiated. The industry was united and took it ahead. The plastic industry saw a situation improving after manufacturing was opened up. Consumer consumption has increased and demand for more packaged products and in the pharma and healthcare segment has led to an increase in the consumption figures. Moving ahead, the industry was less environmentally conscious but with more awareness, the industry is now willing to support the government for environmental endeavours. However, meeting environmental goals does not mean hampering growth in the industry or setting up a major hurdle for current operations.

The plastics saw a huge rise with the need for support for Covid Warriors. Extrusions, granules and masterbatches are rising and domestic consumption is rising. We see a recovery by June this year for this segment.

What is Vishakha Polyfab’s future target?
We are extremely bullish about the Indonesia plant expansion. We have targets set to reach complete saturation of this plant capacity in the next two years. Post which we will head towards significant expansion. Either the current plant will be expanded to double the capacity or a new plant will be set up in the region serving the needs of the Southeast Asia region.

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