AFP – A look into the future – Evert Paardekooper Managing Director AFP
In 2019, AFP is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Fifty years in which a great deal has changed. From 1-layer extrusion coating to more than 50 layers in our top product Katan-Ex stretch film. Fifty years in which the market for plastic packaging has developed into a global playing field.
Digital infrastructures, intercontinental distribution and internationalisation of the sales market create transparency and a new dynamic. Since 2017, AFP has formed part of the Jindal group, one of the biggest producers of biaxially-oriented polypropylene (BOPP) and biaxially-oriented polyethylene terephthalate (BOPET) with production locations in Europe, the US, Asia and elsewhere. This international structure strengthens the distribution and support of a number of highly successful products, such as Katan-Ex HH Beverage, a stretch film developed specifically for the drinks industry with which AFP is the trend-setting market leader in Europe. Our Technical Engineers optimise the interplay of stretch wrap and film, with variables such as load securing, film consumption, failures and throughput leading to the lowest possible total costs. A proposition that we now also offer to international brand owners with establishments in the US. The global buyers of film for packaging processed cheese now also count on this international support.
With globalisation and improved communications, climate and the environment play a key role. In his book Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari describes how humans spread across the earth 70,000 years ago and made their mark on the development of the eco-system. A process that is accelerating explosively and that calls for radical measures. Packaging issues focus on reducing consumption of materials, using raw materials from renewable sources and stimulating re-use and recycling, with functional properties continuing to take priority. AFP realises sustainable solutions of this kind with products including Katan-Ex BioBased stretch film, a new stretch film with more than 50% renewable content, made from the residual flows of sugar production and barrier packaging constructed entirely of recyclable polypropylene for cut meats and cheese, a development within the Jindal group.
Innovation and development are in the DNA of AFP. AFP is the founder of the ground-breaking micro-layer technology for stretch film. An innovation that optimises pallet stability and consumption of materials. R&D combines hardware technology and material science to realise improvements and has a micro-layer pilot line for this at the Tech Centre in Apeldoorn and an extensive laboratory available, unique in Europe. For composite applications, plastic film can be bonded with other materials on a pilot press under heat and pressure. For car and suitcase producers, for example, the film then forms part of their end-product.
Successful development calls for participation by partners from the entire chain. Developments by raw material producers, machine suppliers, packaging experts, customers and government agencies contribute to innovations, improvements and optimisations. For AFP, customer demand is always the primary focus here, with the optimal solution for the lowest possible costs as the goal for ‘driving your performance’.