January/February 2016 Roundtable on Blown Film Extruders
Senior VP of sales & marketing
Charter NEX Films
9.5 years with the company
Q: When it comes to film, it seems that “thinner, stronger, stiffer” is the motto in flexible packaging. Are there any other film trends that you’re seeing or that you anticipate seeing?
Beuning: The “thinner, stronger, stiffer” needs have been around for a long time now, and the ability to engineer films with these features is a baseline requirement for converter film producers. In addition to these features, our customers, along with brand owners, continue to demand innovation around ease-of-use features like recloseability, easy tear properties and the ability to adapt to a variety of fitments, especially in beverage markets. At Charter NEX, we have anticipated these trends and are making a significant investment in 5-layer blown film technology to continue to meet the needs of our growing customer base. Our portfolio of 5-layer films gives our customers a broad array of options to meet specific performance criteria for each package.
Q: What are some of the biggest factors that need to be considered by blown film extruders when creating either new or custom films?
Beuning: At Charter NEX, we have a very disciplined approach for new product development that takes into account our need to be as responsive to our customers’ needs as possible, while also being mindful of grade proliferation that could impact our manufacturing efficiency. We continually invest in our technical resources, both in terms of people and equipment, to ensure that we deliver the right recommendations the very first time. It’s this type of responsiveness that often makes Charter NEX the preferred partner for growth with our converter customers.
Q: The food and beverage market seems to get a lot of attention for the necessity of advanced/specialty films, but what are some other markets that can’t be ignored when it comes to film? Why?
Beuning: While the food and beverage market will likely be the largest consumer of converter film for the foreseeable future, demographic changes such as the aging population will continue to fuel even faster growth in areas such as medical, personal care and health and beauty markets. In addition, we are seeing a tremendous amount of activity in the pet food segment, where paper/poly constructions are rapidly losing share to all-poly packaging. Outside of the grocery store, we see continued growth opportunities in automotive, construction and office products, to name just a few.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to share about blown film extrusion?
Beuning: Converter film producers will continue to be challenged on many fronts: the ongoing consolidation of converters, ever-increasing demands for cost-effective solutions from brand owners and CPGs and their need for increased transparency throughout the supply chain, and a resin-buying environment that will look quite different from what we’ve experienced the last five years. Only those film producers that have continually invested in their people, assets and growth strategy will continue to thrive in this market.