Schur Flexibles Holding GesmbH
“New packaging solution offers logistical advantages”
Schur Flexibles Group is specialized in flexible packaging solutions. sweets processing spoke to CEO Jakob Mosser and COO Christian Kolarik about the group’s development and the latest packaging innovations that caused a stir at interpack trade fair.
Schur Flexibles was up to the year 2012 a division of the Danish packaging concern Schur International A/S. Then the private equity company Capiton, Schur International and the management team group founded the Schur Flexibles Group. Last year, the shareholders have sold their shareholdings to funds advised by Lindsay Goldberg and the management team. The new owners intend to continue the successful growth of the group organically and through acquisitions of further target companies in and outside of Europe.
sweets processing: Mr. Mosser, Schur Flexibles Group was build up within just a few years. What was your concept?
Jakob Mosser: During the first five years, our work consisted in identifying and acquiring companies in the area of flexible packaging that were highly specialized, enjoyed the status of a technological leader in their sector, and for which it made sense to form a strategic network. This centre-of-excellence concept made us an attractive and reliable partner in the field of flexible packaging in a very short space of time. Our current claim “The Flexible Packaging Pioneers”, hits the nail on the head. Our main objectives include anticipating customer wishes and needs. If the time is ripe for new solutions, we want to be prepared and ready to go.
sp: You have invested heavily in research and development to do this.
Christian Kolarik: That’s right. Our new PackScience Center, which recently opened at our German site in the Allgäu region, also uses our customer’s equipment for research and development. At this perfectly equipped location, we can perform extensive tests on our customers’ products and run seminars – from initial training to very specific topics. The new PackScience Center puts us in a position to bring developments to the market even better and even faster. Our customers have already taken note. Demand has been very high right from the beginning.
sp: You recently acquired the Dutch company Zwart. What do you expect to get out of this acquisition?
Mosser: The acquisition of the specialist Zwart was our response to the tremendously changed customer behaviour that we observed over the last few years. In our industry, we have dramatically reduced delivery times – in some market segments, they have fallen from ten weeks to just two to three weeks. At the same time, order sizes have decreased significantly, from about 30,000 running metres to an average of less than 10,000 running metres. Our customers appear to be making design changes much more frequently, in order to constantly attract attention.
“Our customers appear to be making design changes much more frequently”
Our response to these requirements in terms of gravure printing, flexographic and offset printing is provided by Zwart. Within very short lead times small batches, using technology tailored to these needs, can be run here. In order to create synergies as well as to free up capacities at other production facilities, which are not optimal for small production volumes, we will be bundling the appropriate orders at Zwart in the future.
sp: At interpack, you showed a wide range of innovative flexible packaging solutions. What does Schur Flexibles Group see as the value of this trade fair?
Mosser: We are seeing that the world of packaging is continuously growing together. Currently, for example, developments in the US market are very much like European packaging trends. Instead of giant packages, more and more packaging for smaller household sizes is in demand, characterized by a higher degree of convenience and more functionality. The interpack is the trade fair with the highest proportion of international customers; it is a forum for global packaging ideas – and thus an enormously important event for Schur Flexibles Group.
sp: Which highlights did you present in Düsseldorf?
Mosser: We have taken a truly unique position in terms of hologram printing. We are the only provider of films with three-dimensional hologram structures, which can be implemented without the use of printing inks. This patented process, which generates the holographic effects using light refraction, has become a speciality of our Danish company Danapak Flexibles.
Kolarik: In addition, in cooperation with the American manufacturer and patent-holder Clear Lam, we presented PrimaPak – a genuinely innovative concept that we will be selling in Europe. What’s so special about it is that PrimaPak combines the stability of rigid packaging solutions with the logistical advantages of flow packs. It allows particularly stable packaging – partly in combination with rigid films – to be produced in all possible shapes and sizes, and with numerous surfaces. The packaging impresses customers with its broad spectrum of re-sealing options, it is excellent for printing on and offers a variety of design possibilities – e. g. with a window at the front of the packaging or with printing on the side sections. At the same time, PrimaPak offers a series of logistical advantages. These start with the material, which is supplied on a flexible roll. The finished packages are easily stackable and ensure optimal shelf usage. Thanks to their particular stability, they are very noticeable when in an upright position. This makes PrimaPak suitable for all kinds of confectionery.
Mosser: We are convinced that PrimaPak has the potential to replace conventional rigid solutions, e.g. cartons. The process also offers a real alternative to stand-up pouches, because these tend to bend slightly with increasing size and granular content, making logistics and presentation more difficult. PrimaPak can circumvent these issues. The process usually can be implemented on existing machines. Plants of more recent design can retrospectively be modified.
sp: Another important issue dominating the sector is the demand for better recycling capacity or more sustainability when manufacturing packaging. How is Schur Flexibles Group positioned here?
Mosser: In our opinion, the duty of packaging suppliers is to concentrate on reducing resources use as early as the manufacturing stage of packaging. There are currently discussions within the EU whether specifications and regulations concerning recycling etc. should be tightened. Irrespective of what happens in the future, with flexible packaging we can offer our customers extremely modern and future-proof solutions. This is because our products are characterized by extremely low weight and have a real advantage over all other types of packaging. Innovative ideas for improving the recycling of packaging materials is just one side. It is even more important to develop packaging to further improve protection of the product, thus significantly counteracting deterioration and avoiding wastage of food. I see this as the main task of our industry in terms of ecological sustainability. •
About Schur Flexibles Group
Schur Flexibles Group, with its headquarters in Baden near Vienna/Austria and about 1,400 employees, is specialized in innovative, high quality and made-to-measure high-barrier packaging solutions for the food, tobacco and pharmaceutical industries. With its integrated chain of value added, from extrusion via print and laminating to extensive bag making, the Group which was founded in 2012 recorded an overall turnover of 350 million Euros, which makes it one of the top ten European companies in packaging industry.
Schur Flexibles encompasses twelve companies with 14 production plants in Europe – all of them highly specialized and each of them enjoying technology-leadership status in its own field. This centre-of-excellence concept makes the group an attractive and expert partner for client companies in selected branches..