160 new packaging projects, in collaboration with food giants and beyond. Alberto Palaveri, CEO Akerlund & Rausing, Sacchital Group, ambassador of one of the most innovative converters in the country, explains what it means to change “paper” packaging.

Since ’45 Sacchital has been transforming paper every day, and this material continues to be its workhorse and bridgehead for the conquest of markets that demand sustainability. “For some years now, however, we have decided to accelerate innovation in order to respond to the new needs of brand owners, and at the moment, despite the limitations imposed by the lockdown, we are engaged in 162 new packaging projects”. This is how Alberto Palaveri made his debut at the last Print4All Virtual Conference where, together with Barilla and HP, he was invited to bring his point of view on the converting of the future, green and 4.0.

About a quarter of the projects in question, the manager points out, concern compostable paper-based materials with high functional barriers, one part responds to the demand for monomaterial plastic films and the most significant share concerns Paperflex System®, “our exclusive paper-based multilayer system, with very high functional performance and at the same time fully recyclable and consistent with the principles of circular economy”. It has been adopted to create the new flexible windowed packaging by Giovanni Rana, to cite the most famous example, and is giving shape to countless other important solutions. And it is the result of an approach to R&D based on two fundamental and unavoidable principles:

– the model of circular economy where no one can do “his own little piece” well anymore: it is by sharing goals and problems with those who come before and after the supply chain that new ideas and ways to implement them are born. “The projects are approached all together from the beginning”;

– the inalienable principle of recyclability, with the awareness that the ideal monomaterial packaging will often have to be integrated with other raw materials with the required functionality. “I am obviously thinking of laminated paper structures, which require printing and laminating machines capable of processing films from a few microns at industrial process speed” says Palaveri to return to the concept of supply chain collaboration.

Partnership of proximity and organization

Covid has in some ways acted as an accelerator to these dynamics, encouraging, for example, the search for proximity suppliers and  partners, with whom to work more easily, even “in the presence of”. “Finding skills in neighboring territories was not difficult, confirming the all-Italian wealth of technical and creative skills. In many cases, rather, the deficit is on an organizational level, and we have to make up for it because it penalizes us compared to foreign competitors who are much more effective than us”, considers Palaveri. What a partnership he knows about.

Among the many partnerships recently started up in Sacchital, those with Dupol Next in extrusion coating and with SAES Coated Films, specialized in functional coatings and involved in the creation of the “Packaging Compostabile 100% Made in Italy” circuit together with Novamont, TicinoPlast and IMA Group.