(Muscat, Oman, Cincinnati, and London) – Octal Holding and Co., an Oman-based company, has poised itself to shake up the clear rigid plastic packaging industry, with an integrated PET resin and APET sheet manufacturing facility coming on stream in May 2008.
Octal’s announcement, made in Cincinnati at the 17th Annual SPE Thermoforming Conference underway at the Duke Energy Convention Center, booth 135, is in response to clear growth trends for convenience food packaging and the increased use of clear rigid packaging for consumer products.
“Growth of APET as a packaging material has been strong,” said William J. ‘Joe’ Barenberg, chief operating officer of Octal based out of the company’s global sales center in Dallas, Texas. “But lack of reliable capacity and inefficiencies in the manufacturing and logistics of delivering the finished package, have held its growth well below potential.
Octal, which started initial operations in December 2006, has been delivering superior quality APET sheet with improved gauge control that can reduce a thermoformer’s raw material costs and increase its productivity. When gauge is held to less than one percent variation, packaging manufacturers know exactly how many trays they will produce per metric ton of APET sheet. “That also means that they don’t have to worry about unpredictable thin spots, making it possible to further reduce the sheet’s gauge to save cost,” said Mr. Barenberg. “Taken together, this can mean savings from three to eight percent.”
State-of-the-art customized equipment used by Octal ensures rolls of sheet are usable from the outer layer all the way to the core. The end result is an APET sheet with superior gauge control, gloss and transparency, providing more rapid cycle times, higher yields, better end tray quality and lower cost.
The company’s plant is the first to be developed that is dedicated fully to APET production from resin to sheet. This is in contrast to the existing state of the industry, where resin engineered primarily for beverage bottles, is also used for thermoforming.
With its plant adjacent to Salalah Port in Salalah, Oman, Octal is ideally located on the east-west trade routes, resulting in fast and efficient global distribution. Deliveries of APET sheet can be made to virtually any port in the world within 12 to 18 days. Distribution, sales and customer service operations are located in the United States, Europe and Asia.
Octal initially entered the market in late 2006 with 20,000 metric tons of capacity. An additional 10,000 metric tons are scheduled to come on stream in September 2007. This will be followed in May 2008 by a new twin PET resin and APET sheet complex, providing an additional 300,000 metric tons of APET sheet-making capacity. At that stage, Octal will be five times larger than the next merchant producer of APET sheet and the largest PET manufacturer in the Gulf region. Octal is investing over US$300 million in its proprietary technology and custom engineered production lines to manufacture both PET resin and APET rigid films. This capacity represents nearly 20 percent of the total industry output of APET sheet, and provides manufacturers with assured supply so they can convert their complete packaging production.
“Our entire process — from raw materials to finished APET sheet rolls — has been designed with the thermoformer in mind,” said Mr. Barenberg. “Our strategy is to rationalize the production process, provide cost-efficiencies for thermoformers and packagers, and a sheet that delivers the most aesthetically appealing package possible. Our approach addresses the longstanding deficiencies that have hampered the large-scale expansion of APET as a packaging substrate. By mid-2008, Octal will have sales of US$500 million per annum as a base from which to double capacity within 20 months.”
Worldwide demand for APET produced total sales of approximately US$2.25 billion in 2006. The timing of Octal’s substantial and continuing investment schedule matches the growing demand for this material, and it is hardly surprising that the company is confident of success.
Octal Holding SAOC (www.octalglobal.com), established in 2006, is rapidly becoming the world’s largest producer of APET sheet, delivering to brands and the packaging industry superior gauge control, gloss and transparency for rigid plastic packages. The company is setting the standard in APET packaging through its patented technology and proprietary processes, featuring the tightest caliper control and tolerances in the industry. Octal’s APET sheet provides more rapid cycle times, higher yield, better end tray quality and lower cost. With state-of-the-art manufacturing based in the Middle East, Octal has sales and customer support operations in the United States, Europe and Asia.
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Filed Under: Packaging, Materials • advanced