- August 31, 2004, Stanley Sacharow, The Packaging Group Inc.
Strategically located, the three small Benelux nations wield a big influence on flexible packaging in Europe.
The Benelux nations — Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg — are located in the center of Europe's industrial complex. Although small, these nations exert an influence greater than many other nations in flexible packaging.
Belgium (pop. 10 million) produced an estimated US$350 million of flexible packaging in 2003. Most material is exported to neighboring nations.
Amcor Flexibles Europe maintains two Transpac plants in Belgium — Harlen and Ghent. They produce confectionery, coffee, and other processed food laminates for a wide range of European clients. There is a third plant, Synco, in Knotich.
Exxon Chemical maintains an R&D center in Machaelen, outside Brussels, where work is underway in the area of adhesives for flexible packaging. Handler & Naturmann (H&N) has a plant in Knesselar-Ursel.
Artwork Systems, in Ghent, supplies a variety of software systems and papers for flex-pack converters. Agfa, in Mortsel, supplies software and computer-to-plate systems.
Estimated at US$450 million in 2003, flexible packaging in the Netherlands (pop. 15 million) is a firmly established industry.
Amcor Flexibles Europe maintains production facilities in Haarlem, Assen, and Kanpen. Bolding Verpakkingen (part of the Goglio Group), a longtime supplier to the Dutch supermarket chain, Albert Heijn, is located near Amsterdam.
Wipak BV manufactures flex-pack stock in Sittard. Cats Verpakking in Rotterdam is a firm that produces excellent printed stock for the confectionery industry.
Avery Dennison, a world leader in pressure-sensitive technology, maintains an extensive network of plants in the Netherlands. The Netherlands produces a large volume of metallized film from the Huhtamaki (former Van Leer) plant outside Amsterdam.
Luxembourg (pop. 450,000), one of the smaller nations in Europe, has only one flex converter, Mipa. The firm produces a significant amount of shrinkband labels for Europe's lightly developed “probiotic” industry. Located near the borders of France, Germany, and Belgium, Luxembourg offers an excellent location for strategic manufacturing. The nation also is home to ExxonMobil, one of the leading OPP suppliers.