16 September 2019, Tomsk. R&D staff fr om Mars Russia visited SIBUR’s cluster in Tomsk, which is home to Tomskneftekhim, SIBUR’s R&D centre and BIAXPLEN T.
The visitors included Dmitry Isaev, Mars R&D Senior Manager, Nadezhda Kozlova, Mars Purchasing Specialist, Dmitry Sorochkin, Mars Quality Development Manager, and Natalia Malkova, Chief of Multinational Sales at BIAXPLEN (SIBUR).
The visit was an opportunity for Mars to see a full-cycle polymer production process by taking a tour of monomer, polyethylene and polypropylene production lines at SIBUR’s facility in Tomsk (Tomskneftekhim). The Mars delegation got an in-depth look at how production processes were controlled by upgraded central control units, and were also given a chance to talk directly to the plant's experts. What sparked a particular interest was the polypropylene production process flow (some polypropylene grades are used as feedstock for biaxially oriented polypropylene (BOPP) film) and the focus on high quality of the end product. Polyethylene and polypropylene packaging is fully recyclable, offering considerable advantages over traditional materials.
The Tomsk BOPP film production line is certified to the BRC/IOP standard, a Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) recognised global standard for packaging and packaging products. BIAXPLEN T was successfully certified to the standard in 2018.
As a conclusion to the programme, the visitors were invited to see NIOST, SIBUR’s R&D centre, where together with SIBUR experts they discussed new development and process support opportunities for special grades used in food packaging.
“This was the first time we embarked on anything like this. Our aim was to track the quality of feedstock for packaging materials to make sure that our products are packed in quality packaging. Visibility across the entire supply chain is essential and is part of our global business practice. But this time we went one step further, as SIBUR’s openness made it possible for us to see the entire process flow, from base feedstock for polymer production to production of BOPP film, which is then used for flexible packaging. It is exciting to see that the Tomsk facility brings together expertise across all stages of the production cycle all in one place. The company is perfectly equipped to control product parameters at any point of the cycle and define the properties of future packaging at a stage when polymer granules are formed. We now want to look into potential options to make our materials even more sustainable. This is something that the partnership with SIBUR can provide us with,” said Dmitry Isaev, R&D Senior Manager at Mars.
“For us, this was also the first time that our customers’ customer, the owner of global brands in the food industry, demonstrated interest in our full-cycle production, from granules to films. A unique feature of the Tomsk cluster is that it has all facilities on a single site, which makes it possible to see how feedstock and base films are produced and to visit our research lab wh ere SIBUR’s own petrochemical technologies are developed,” said Natalya Malkova, Chief of Multinational Sales at BIAXPLEN (SIBUR).
Previously, Mars Russia’s R&D engineers met with SIBUR’s experts from PolyLab, BIAXPLEN, Basic Polymers Division, Sustainable Development Function and SIBUR’s Corporate R&D as part of a working meeting at SIBUR PolyLab, an R&D centre for the development and testing of polymer products in Skolkovo. Bringing together a broad range of experts, the meeting provided a valuable insight into customer needs and allowed us to map out a programme of joint activities to develop strategic cooperation.
“R&D meetings in PolyLab are centred around business objectives. They aim to find new areas for cooperation as a way to improve existing hard and soft packaging solutions and develop new options in line with market trends,” commented Natalya Malkova.
Mars, Incorporated is a family-owned business with more than a century of history. With almost USD 35 billion in sales, the company is a global business that produces some of the world’s best-loved brands such as M&M’s®, SNICKERS®, PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, WHISKAS®, ORBIT®, SKITTLES®, UNCLE BEN’S®, DOLMIO® and others. Headquartered in McLean, Virginia, United States, Mars operates in more than 80 countries. The Mars Five Principles – Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom – inspire the company’s more than 100,000 Associates to take action every day to help create a world tomorrow in which the planet, its people and pets can thrive. Mars in Russia and the CIS is one of the largest manufacturers of foodstuffs, pet care products, confectionery and other food products. Since 1991, the company has invested more than USD 2 billion in Russia. Namely, it built and upgraded 10 plants for the production pet food, chocolate, chewing gums and confectionery products. The company employs over 7,000 people in Russia and the CIS.