- August 31, 2004, Stanley Sacharow, The Packaging Group Inc.
Home to a high concentration of global pharmaceutical firms, Switzerland produces sophisticated products to serve its niche.
A relatively small nation, Switzerland (pop. 7.1 million) has a flexible packaging industry that is export-based, both in its products and converting/printing machinery. Estimated at US$150 million and dominated by only a few converters, Swiss flexible packaging nevertheless is quite sophisticated and highly developed.
Wipf AG, a privately owned Swiss group, manufactures a full line of films and composites for retortable application valve uses and vacuum packages. The firm has won many international awards based on its pouches and valve technology. It supplies retort pouch stock for soup to Erasco (a Campbell subsidiary). Now part of Amcor Flexibles Europe, Schüpbach, located in Burgdorf, produces a wide range of flex-pack products for the worldwide market.
A unique factor in Swiss industry is the rather strong concentration of pharmaceutical firms in the nation. Many global drug firms, such as Hoffmann-LaRoche and Novartis, are headquartered in Switzerland. This has led to a strong polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) coating industry. Aerni Lurch AG and Perlen Converting specialize in PVDC coatings and the use of “Aclar” films for pharma applications. The Alcan/Pechiney plants in Rorshach and Kreuzlingen produce a wide range of pharma foil for both lidding applications and security uses. Although food packaging also is manufactured, silica oxide (SiOx) coatings have been provided by the Neher plant; R&D facilities are located in Neuhausen.
In the converting/printing machinery area, Swiss companies lead in several distinct markets. Switzerland is home to the Bobst Group, a supplier of equipment and product solutions for the printing and converting of flexible materials. Since 1891, when Joseph Bobst began supplying the graphic arts industry from Lausanne, the firm has evolved into an international company with facilities in Switzerland, Brazil, India, and China.
FAES Mfg. supplies a full line of slitters and rewinders, as does Senntech. The Gallus Group serves the tag/label industry. Polytype Converting manufactures an extensive line of coating and laminating equipment for all varieties of flex converting.
Because Switzerland is home to Nestlé Foods, many innovative food packages debut in Swiss supermarkets.
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