- August 31, 2004, Stanley Sacharow, The Packaging Group Inc.
Sophisticated equipment and pioneering products are the earmarks of the Italian flex-pack industry.
Home to some of the world's best and most widely used converting and printing machinery suppliers, Italy boasts a flex-pack industry estimated at US$1.75 billion in 2003. With a relatively small domestic market (pop. 58 million), the nation is Europe's largest exporter of converted materials. Most Italian material is shipped to the Middle East and North Africa.
Several factors characterize the Italian market for flex-packs. Although it is rapidly changing, there still is not as strong an infrastructure of large supermarket chains in Italy as in the other European nations. The Italian consumer relishes fresh food and almost-daily purchases at the market. Even when there are supermarkets, the consumer demands “boutique” departments such as a bakery in the store where fresh items are readily available. In the supermarkets there is also a trend toward natural-based films, thus promoting “greenness” and freshness.
The presence of an excellent, organized package machinery industry coupled with an even more sophisticated converting/printing industry is unique to Italy. This has led to many outstanding developments in flexible packaging. The one-way coffee valve pioneered by Gruppo Goglio and the company's barrier material products, including retort pouch technology, are positive contributions. Safta SpA's pouchmaking ability and coextrusion films are highly regarded, as are all the many oriented polypropylene (OPP) variations available. Italy is the nation that pioneered biaxially oriented PP film production, and the film is widely used for a variety of products. Other leading Italian flex-pack converters include Burgopack SpA (part of VAW), Gerosa Group, and Teno Jolly. Neograf Sre. is one of Europe's largest suppliers of metallized films.
Italian converting equipment and printing machines dominate international industry. Cerutti is a leader in gravure/flexo printing presses. Uteco produces an extensive line of printing, converting, coating, and laminating machines. Laem System is a leader in all types of slitters and rewinders for flexible packaging, as is Bimec. Nordmeccanica also produces a superb line of solvent-based and solventless adhesive laminators. Converting technology combined with the strength of the Italian packaging machine industry make Italy a strong player in the worldwide converting business.
Stanley Sacharow has been in the flexible packaging industry for more than 35 years. His company, The Packaging Group, is an organizer of targeted conferences and a consultant to the international packaging/converting industry. Stan is also the author of PFFC's “Package Converting” column. Contact him at 732/636-0885; e-mail: email@example.com.
Bobst Group — PFFC-ASAP 425. bobstgroup.com
FAES USA — PFFC-ASAP 426. faesusa.com
Gallus Group — PFFC-ASAP 427. gallus.org
Polytype — PFFC-ASAP 428. polytype.com
Ashe Controls — PFFC-ASAP 429. ashe.co.uk
Elite Cameron/TS Converting Equipment — PFFC-ASAP 430. elitecameron.com
Artwork Systems — PFFC-ASAP 431. artwork-systems.com
Agfa — PFFC-ASAP 432. agfa.com
Avery Dennison — PFFC-ASAP 433. averydennison.com
ExxonMobil Chemical — PFFC-ASAP 434. oppfilms.com
Nordenia Intl. — PFFC-ASAP 435. nordenia.com
Kroenert Corp. — PFFC-ASAP 436. kroenert.com
Kampf GmbH & Co. — PFFC-ASAP 437. kampf.de
Fischer & Krecke — PFFC-ASAP 438. fischer-krecke.de
Leybold Vacuum — PFFC-ASAP 439. leybold.com
Jagenberg — PFFC-ASAP 440. jagenberg.com
Pagendarm — PFFC-ASAP 441. pagendarm.com
Windmoeller & Hoelscher Corp. — PFFC-ASAP 442. whcorp.com
Cerutti Group — PFFC-ASAP 443. cerutti.com
Uteco USA Inc. — PFFC-ASAP 444. uteco.com
Laem System — PFFC-ASAP 445. laemsystem.com
Bimec — PFFC-ASAP 446. bimec.it
Nordmeccanica Group — PFFC-ASAP 447. nordmeccanica.com