The company Rotoplast, together with its strategic partners, Bakrotisak and Hon-ing, today is one of the regional leaders in the production of flexible packaging. Well laid foundations and continuous investment in employees, technology, production processes and awareness of the importance of achieving and maintaining a high level of quality help these companies to successfully withstand all challenges of time for 50 years now. For all the above reasons, writing about the topic of packaging, and not talking with Rotoplast, wouldn’t make sense, and therefore we asked Mr. Dorijan Naletina, director of Rotoplast, for an interview.
Given the past very challenging period for the economy, how did you in Rotoplast – Bakrotisak – Hon-ing Group handle it? What were the main difficulties you faced?
Already with the first indications of pandemic worldwide, and especially in our surrounding region, our priority was to ensure the health and safety of employees, products and after that to preserve business continuity. From the very beginning, we established the Operational Crisis Headquarters, for coordination on a daily basis, with continuous communication and monitoring of all instructions issued by the Croatian Institute of Public Health and the Civil Protection Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia and their application in the company’s premises and business processes.
in an increase in orders from most of our customers in the food industry, but at the same time there were also those who cancelled, reduced or changed orders in terms of quantities and types of packaging ordered. It was of utmost importance to show flexibility in adjusting production capacities, availability of raw materials, and it was also required to respond to challenges in logistics. However, this was only the initial effect, now it remains to be seen how this will affect business in the months to come, given that “accumulated” inventories must be consumed, and it is likely that at some point there will be a decrease in business activity in our industry. This is supported by the questionable tourist season, which will certainly be below all previous expectations.
Although we believe that everyone has heard about these three companies, please present us the group briefly.
Rotoplast, together with Bakrotisak and Hon-ing as partners in a strategic alliance, is one of the leading producers of flexible packaging in Croatia and the region. From a small family business we have grown into a successful company celebrating 50 years of existence next year.
Our focus is on packaging primarily intended for the food industry, but we also produce packaging for products in the pet food industry and in the hygiene and chemical products industry. We are increasing exports to countries in the wider region, Western Europe, Russia and others. In addition to standard flexible packaging, we also offer recyclable packaging, various effects emphasizing the design and additional applications such as laser perforation or application of “hook-and-loop” fastener on VELCRO® bags, for which we are the exclusive agents for the area of the narrower region and Romania and Bulgaria.
In our production we offer techniques flexo printing, copperplate printing, UV flexo printing and digital and offset printing, and our production programme, in addition to multilayer foil, also consists of different types of bags and various types of labels, the most common of which are wrap-around and sleeve labels.
Which trends in the production of flexible packaging would you single out as key trends?
We believe that today there is a certain diversification in the production of packaging, that was also present before, but today it is especially emphasized, and that is the production of a kind of “standard” packaging and packaging with added value. Both, of course, must meet all required safety and quality criteria, with value-added packaging standing out from the standard through additional applications allowing a more practical and multiple use, through various effects that can be achieved in printing based on quality and “smart” design emphasizing all the best that a particular printing technique has to offer. Of course, there is also the difference in price, but the benefits that can be achieved justify it in many ways.
Packaging is increasingly associated with concepts such as biodegradability, sustainability, traceability… to what extent does flexible packaging today meet these requirements?
With today’s technology and digitization, we can say that it is possible to achieve a very high degree of application of these requirements on flexible packaging. Specifically in terms of traceability, it has always been one of the requirements of the ISO 9001 standard, according to which Rotoplast was certified in 2004, soon after that Bakrotisak and Hon-ing were certified as well, and with the introduction of the new ERP business system we have improved it even more.
Regarding environmental requirements for flexible packaging, with a short time lag, and in practice, it was proven impossible to completely replace the current conventional materials with biodegradable for several reasons.
Namely, there is not enough research and real life practice on the behaviour of such materials and their impact on the content packed in them for a longer period of time, how storage conditions and other external elements affect both the packaging and its content, and whether their properties are changed and to what extent.
In addition, it is required to ensure the entire closed cycle, starting with the production of such packaging, but also allowing its separate collection and final disposal, and so, in the next period there will be many interesting developments that we will certainly follow. Therefore we believe that the direction will be more towards the production of “more environment-friendly” packaging, which means the use of recyclable materials in multilayer packaging, reducing the quantity and thickness of packaging, while at the same time improving certain properties, applying intelligent and practical solutions allowing the multiple use of packaging and the like. We have many very interesting solutions to offer in this segment.