It is also planning a lab-scale film production line for 2016 with the installation of an extruder.
About 50% of group sales are made with film-based packaging for food, beverage and home and personal care products.
Increase in film-based products
The firm said global demand is being driven by the Asian and African continents and it expects its share of sales from film-based products to increase in the future.
Film products represent around 80% of the global flexible packaging market and nearly half of overall consumption is polyethylene-based films (PE).
The center is at the company’s second largest production plant in Weiden, Germany and represents a multi-million investment in existing R&D facilities.
It has 15 experts who will work on close to 100 projects every year.
The focus is on analyzing and testing composition of the latest film products and developing film formulations with the firms’ raw material suppliers to get optimal quality and meet food contact legislation.
Output will also include developing mock-ups of in-house work for customers to meet long-term trends such as more recycling-friendly packaging.
“The demand for innovative packaging solutions will increase in all markets, this is why Constantia is on the right path with the opening the competence center," said Winfried Batzke, head of the German Packaging Institute.
Constantia Flexibles also works in foil-based products, such as die-cut lidding, aluminum container systems, confectionery foil and pharmaceutical blister and coldform packaging.
The company has a Competence Center for Aluminum and Foil Laminates at its largest plant in Weinburg, Austria.
Constantia Hueck Folien is the company’s second largest plant in Bavaria, Germany, with about 700 employees serving the domestic and global dairy, food and pharma industries.
The plant has lacquering, laminating, printing and slitting capabilities on site.
In the last five years, investment of roughly €20m has been made in machinery.
Wendel sold a minority stake of 11% in Constantia Flexibles for €100m to Maxburg Capital Partners an investment firm backed by the RAG Foundation last month.
The private equity firm stayed the controlling shareholder with 61% of the share capital for a total equity invested of €540m. The H. Turnauer Foundation investment is unchanged with 27% of the capital.
Wendel completed the acquisition of Constantia Flexibles at an enterprise value of €2.3bn, or around nine times 2014 EBITDA in March this year.