As part of a press breakfast at FachPack, Hans-Joachim Boekstegers, Director and CEO of MULTIVAC, gave an overview of the current development of the business as well as the packaging trends at MULTIVAC and the company's product highlights on the exhibition stand.

“Contrary to the general market trend, our business continues to develop well,” explained Hans-Joachim Boekstegers. “Our production capacity is fully utilized and we are seeing very positive development in all the company's business units. Following 2017, in which our turnover reached virtually the 1 billion euro mark, we are now expecting in the current business year an increase in turnover of up to ten percent. There are however many economic and political risk factors and challenges, which will have an impact on our business in the coming year - these include the isolationist policy of the US Government, the consequences of Brexit, increasing nationalism in countries such as Italy and Poland, protectionist tariffs and highly fluctuating raw material prices.”

Company anniversary: MULTIVAC Marking & Inspection
This year MULTIVAC Marking & Inspection is celebrating its 25th anniversary as a member of the MULTIVAC Group.

“The acquisition of this company was at that time the first strategic step in aligning MULTIVAC as a supplier of complete solutions,” said Hans-Joachim Boekstegers. “In recent years the two business areas of "Labelling/printing" and "Inspection" have been systematically expanded, so that today we are one of the leading suppliers of solutions in these sectors.”

Opening of the new production site in Bulgaria
In June the official opening of the first production facility in Eastern Europe was celebrated in Bulgaria - and this further expanded the company's global production network. The Bulgarian site, which is located close to the capital Sofia, comprises a factory building for the production of parts for the Group, a state-of-the-art warehouse and logistics center, a training facility and an administration building. In addition to the Bulgarian Sales and Service company, an international Shared Service Centre for IT, Strategic Purchasing, Design and Service is also housed in the new complex. “Working on a treble-shift basis, our highly qualified personnel are now producing machine parts and modules. There we are using state-of-the-art turning and milling machines, just as we also use at our headquarters in Germany. All our capacity is now fully utilized,” explained Hans-Joachim Boekstegers.

EU Plastics Strategy
As regards the EU Plastics Strategy, which is being much discussed at the moment, Hans-Joachim Boekstegers voiced the opinion, that the EU requirement on plastic recycling is concentrating solely on recycling capability. The added value, which plastic packaging offers during its life cycle, such as for example extending the shelf life of food without preservatives, or protecting consumers by means of sealed packs, is not being taken into consideration. New packaging concepts would have to offer comparable benefits to those of conventional solutions, particularly as regards the protection and shelf life of the packaged product, otherwise the proportion of spoiled or discarded food, which is already too high, would rise still further. New packaging concepts would also need to be compatible with pack return systems, and new recyclable material would have to be easily recognizable as such - at the very least for the recycling converter and ideally for the consumer as well.

Thanks to MULTIVAC's existing packaging technology, it is already possible today to have pack concepts, which provide reduced consumption of resources as well as dramatically increased recyclability. “Our machines are designed in such a way, that they can run a wide range of packaging materials with ease. We are also consistently striving to reduce the packaging material used in the production of packs, by utilizing specific equipment options and optimized pack design. And last but not least, we are working with leading packaging material manufacturers to develop new packaging concepts, such as for example the use of recyclable materials like mono films or fiber-based packaging materials,” said Hans-Joachim Boekstegers.

MultiFresh PaperBoard vacuum skin packs
MULTIVAC PaperBoard offers a wide range of solutions for producing packs based on paper fibre, which can fully meet the requirements of recyclability. MULTIVAC works with leading manufacturers on suitable materials, which can be run on standard packaging machines. The thermoforming packaging machines and traysealers can be individually customized to the particular output requirements of customers. The carrier material can be run in the form of either rolls or pre-cuts, and pre-made trays can also of course be used. All the materials can be separated into their respective parts by the end user, and the paper carrier and plastic film can then be put separately for recycling.

At FachPack MULTIVAC is demonstrating a R 105 MF thermoforming packaging machine and a T 800 traysealer, which is integrated in a completely automated line, both of which will be running recyclable materials based on paper fiber.

Full-wrap labelling offers a wide range of design options
The trade fair highlights also include a labelling solution for the D labelling of packs, which is marketed under the name "Full-wrap labelling". As with a banderole or sleeve, the label is completely wrapped around the pack, and this offers many possibilities for different types of pack design, as well as increasing the attractiveness of the packs at the point of sale. In conjunction with UPM Raflatac, MULTIVAC has defined a standard range of label materials, which can be run on the MULTIVAC L 310 conveyor belt labeller as printed full-wrap labels.

Added value through digitalization
MULTIVAC is demonstrating its expertise in digitalization and Industry 4.0 at the trade fair with the new X-line generation of thermoforming packaging machines. Thanks to its comprehensive sensor system, the X-line is equipped for digitalized production and future technology, and it sets a new benchmark in the market.

In addition to this, MULTIVAC also has an extensive range of digital services and tools, which offer added value to MULTIVAC customers. These include for example the MULTIVAC Customer Portal and its Webshop for spare parts and chamber machines, as well as track-and-trace solutions and the integration of software or MULTIVAC Smart Services, which enable packaging procedures to be organized even more efficiently - such as for example condition monitoring, preventative maintenance, benchmarking or analysis of overall equipment effectiveness.

Innovative packaging concept for medical and pharmaceutical products
With Snapsil MULTIVAC is showing an innovative packaging concept for medical and pharmaceutical products, which is ideally suited to packing products such as syringes, tablets, plasters, injectors, catheters etc. With their integrated "snap-opening" function, Snapsil packs offer an innovative opening aid, which enables the packs to be used more easily, even by elderly or disabled persons. When it comes to the hectic activity of everyday life in hospitals and care homes, it is simple and quick to open the packs and remove the product easily in a controlled way. Snapsil packs can be produced on MULTIVAC thermoforming packaging machines and traysealers.