Cosmo Films enters new market segments
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By AKANKSHA MEENA
India-based film manufacturer Cosmo Films will launch several products to target new market segments including film adhesives and signage.
Cosmo Films launched several new products in 2021 including direct thermal printable film and several synthetic papers. These products are now being scaled up. Cosmo is also ramping up to launch its shrink label materials. The company has started producing finished products using films launched under the Ozge brand name.
A major innovation that we have come up with is laser printable paper. These are A4 non-tearable sheets made of polypropylene. Now we are trying to find distributors for it. These are for home and office applications. They have a long shelf life and give beautiful print, but are only laser printable. They are out in the market,’ CEO Pankaj Poddar explains.
Cosmo will also launch its film adhesives for packaging, labels and lamination. It will offer paper to film, film to film and film to bottle lamination. The three types of adhesives will be launched in the next 3-6 months.
‘We are working on the bond properties of the adhesive. There were a lot of challenges that we saw in the market and in some cases the curing time was a challenge, so we tried to resolve that. There is a host of adhesives that are coming out in the market, and different adhesives have different needs, from what our customers tell us. We worked on those specific areas. Cosmo believes in better than the best so we will continue with the same philosophy when it comes to adhesives,’ Poddar adds.
‘We wanted to diversify into new areas. And some of the chemicals and adhesives make a lot of sense for us because we have very strong research capabilities and many of the research scientists we have are from chemical and adhesive backgrounds. It is a very familiar area which we understand very well.’
Cosmo has sales and distribution networks in several countries and a plant in Korea. ‘From a manufacturing perspective, India is low cost and has a lot of talent which is why majority of our manufacturing footprint is here. As far as sales network is concerned, we are growing globally. We are trying to increase sales for all our segments and especially the adhesives and the new business segments that we have gone into. The objective is to increase exports and set up different distribution channels in different countries,’ Poddar explains.
Poddar highlights that the company is establishing the world’s largest BOPP line, which will be operational by the FY 2024-25. The manufacturer is also setting up a new polyester line which is coming up next year and investing in metallizers in India. The expansion will happen mostly in Aurangabad, other than a small expansion in Baroda.
Speaking about demand for its products, Poddar says that most parts of the world have seen a growth in demand post-Covid. ‘People have saved money and now they want to spend. Barring cases in some countries where a Covid wave has come back again, we see strong demand in most parts of the world.’
initially when Covid began spreading in India, Cosmo faced its own set of challenges. The company shut down its plants due to government directives. Later on, the majority of its supply chain partners was affected and many of them were closed. The manufacturer had to personally ask them to restart their operations so Cosmo Films could supply essential products to its customers.
‘April and May 2020 were extremely challenging. Since then, things have started to stabilize. With the rise in demand for hygiene products, the packaging segment did well. But some segments did not do so well. For example, we supply synthetic paper for restaurant menu cards. A majority of the restaurants were closed and shifted to digital when they opened. That hurt demand. Broadly speaking, there was a positive impact on demand especially on the label side. The demand for disinfectants went up and we have strong presence in labels which in turn resulted in increased demand for us,’ Poddar says.
The objective is to increase exports and set up different distribution channels in different countries
Freight costs went up significantly and getting a ship or shipping container was a ‘huge challenge’.
‘That clarified for us which vendors were long term partners and which were not. Some said they could not stand on MOU terms and wanted spot terms; others abided by MOU terms during those days. It helped us identify who are more ethical in their business practices. There were few others who all of a sudden stopped supplying containers to us despite several years of relationship,’ he adds.
Covid shifted priorities for everyone, but Poddar says that sustainability was always a concern. Cosmo is doing its part by helping customers with sustainable and recyclable products in packaging or labels.
The company is also investing heavily in eco-friendly operations. It is shifting to renewable energy in a significant way and aims to become a ‘water positive’ company. Cosmo has planted 5,000 trees in the last year and over next 2-3 years plans to plant around 20,000 more.
‘We are working on using post-consumer waste back into whichever way it can be used. We have already started to do this in a limited way,’ Poddar explains.
'The majority of our focus is on mechanical recycling and put it back into the supply chain. We have in-house recycling operations in a small way for PCR waste. We have a research team working on it. We have recently put up a de-metallization facility where metallized film can be de-metallized so that we can have the film back and convert it into granules. The research team is also working on deinking the film to remove the ink and use it back as base film. Those are the initiatives we are taking and it is just the beginning.’
In the next two years, the company will have a system for mechanical recycling to make PCR films as close to virgin as possible and reuse it in several applications.‘ Apart from this, the company is trying to reduce its in-house waste. It is also attempting to reduce noise by 20 decibels. Around 20 different projects are going on in the company purely from sustainability perspective.
Graphic arts applications
Cosmo Films is launching a film for graphics applications in the next six months.
‘The biggest thing was that PVC in general has low cost for printing so we wanted to make something competitive from a price perspective which at the same time gives a nice print on signage banners. We have been able to be as close as 90-95 percent and our focus is sustainability. With PVC there are sustainability concerns and we are trying to come up with a recyclable film. It is printable on all current print technologies used for signage applications,’ Poddar explains.
The company’s goal is to focus on these new market segments over the next three to four years.
‘We have been working on becoming a stronger proposition for our customers over last few years. We have worked aggressively on reducing quality complaints. We have 5S awarded plants and we are moving forward in terms of aiming for global level awards and quality such as Golden Peacock award. We have implemented TQM project in the company and have been working on it for the last six months.
‘Over next three years, we really want to be the best in class in the world in operations. That is what Cosmo team is working on – achieving 6 Sigma levels of quality over next 2-3 years,’ Poddar concludes