Flexible packaging companies Pactiv Corp. and Rollprint Packaging Products Inc. have joined with an Asian partner in a venture aimed at spreading their medical products globally.
The unusual alliance, inked Nov. 1, positions the brands of the three film producers worldwide without each company having to establish separate manufacturing facilities on each continent.
The firms will share technology, marketing and distribution, said Michael Troedel, director of sales and marketing for Pactiv's medical business. Troedel and principals of Rollprint and the third partner, Acme Packaging Co. of Singapore, spoke Nov. 4 at Pack Expo International 2002 in Chicago.
``We're really required to do this by the multinational customers that we serve,'' Troedel said. ``They want a global supplier. We must package the same bandages, for example, in the U.S. as we do in Europe or in Southeast Asia. Our customers only want to deal with one company wherever they go.''
Pactiv, the third- or fourth-largest supplier of flexible medical packaging in Europe, and Rollprint, in a similar market position in the United States, formed an initial alliance in March 2001.
Lake Forest, Ill.-based Pactiv has no medical packaging plants in North America, even though it has 72 plants globally. The company's Kobusch Sengewald unit of Halle, Germany, specializes in medical packaging.
Addison, Ill.-based Rollprint has no facilities in Europe but has three U.S. facilities: two in Addison and one in Hartford, Conn.
``It takes a different mentality to go into Asia and sell pharmaceutical and medical products,'' said Craig Livingston, Rollprint vice president of business development. ``We were better off finding someone there who could help us.''
Acme needed to grow beyond its Asian roots, said Eddy Chan, Acme managing director. The 30-person company has customers in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, but had difficulty getting in the door with North American medical companies that had facilities in the Pacific Rim, he said.
Many of the products sold by the alliance in Asia will be designed in the United States, either by Rollprint or Pactiv, Troedel said. Whichever company comes up with the technology for the products will have its name on it when it is sold in Asia, he added.
The companies' products differ slightly but serve the same film audience. Rollprint makes peelable coatings and heat-sealable materials, many of which are used in hospital operating rooms and sterile environments.
Pactiv's coextruded print and roll film frequently is used for intravenous bags made of polypropylene, and Acme makes medical pouches, inner wraps and lid stock.
The alliance will begin work in Asia for North American customers, Livingston said.