Sydney-based Jet Technologies combines experience with international expertise to deliver complete packaging solutions. We spoke to the company’s founder and Managing Director, Albert Malki.
In 1967, a then 19-year-old Albert Malki began working in his family’s packaging business in Italy. A decade or so later, in 1981, he moved to Sydney to try his luck in the Australian packaging industry.
“I tried to act as a bridge between the industry in Italy and Australia,” Malki, Managing Director of Jet Technologies told Food & Beverage Industry News.
“I started with importing plastic raw materials for packaging as well as machinery for processing, such as extruders, printing presses, bag sealing machines, thermal forming lines and so on.”
In the early days, the business was a “one-man show”, operating out of a 60sqm room in Bondi Junction.
Since then Jet Technologies has grown significantly. “Today we employ 48 people all over Australia – most in Sydney, but we also have staff in Melbourne and Adelaide, as well as New Zealand,” said Malki.
Recently, the company opened a branch in Indonesia which employs 16 staff. “We pretty much copied the success of what we’ve achieved in Australia and New Zealand,” he added.
Apart from packaging, the company now also has printing and manufacturing divisions which are run by Malki’s sons, Jack Malki and Daniel Malki respectively.
The packaging division offers both consumables and machinery. It focuses a lot of energy on food packaging, particularly for the meat, coffee and dairy sectors.
Its product range include adhesives, smooth wall aluminium trays, filling and sealing machinery, degassing valves, die-cutting and roll fed lidding, coffee bags with valves, vertical form fill seal machinery, manual tray sealing machines with gas flushing twist-off closures, and tray seal machinery.
Forging key partnerships
According to Malki, there has been a major transformation in the Australian packaging over the past 30 years. In the 80s a lot of products, such as bottles, flexible packaging, and caps were made in Australia.
“Many of these manufacturers have either been taken over or merged with others,” he explained. “Or in some cases they have moved their factories overseas or in other cases they have simply disappeared.”
“I remember when there were around 50 [manufacturers] in each state. Now they could be counted on the fingers of one hand.”
During the 80s and 90s, Jet Technologies capitalised on this transformation by establishing partnerships with several major international suppliers.
“For example, when Amcor stopped producing twist-top caps to closures, we started importing them. And the same thing happened with lidding. That comes from the world’s largest manufacturer, the closure which I use for jars of tomato sauces, juice, and so on,” said Malki.
Today the company’s partners include Crown (a leader in metal packaging technology), Constantia Flexibles (part of Constantia Packaging AG), Italian packaging giant Goglio and others.
According to Malki, being associated with such heavy weights gives Jet Technologies a significant advantage over competitors.
“When you deal with big boys it really puts you in a situation where you can go with confidence to the market and if there is a problem you know they will always back you up,” he said. “That has always been my mantra.”
Jet Technologies offers complete packaging solutions.
“We take a look at clients, then supply them all the machinery and consumables they need – everything except the food itself!” said Malki.
“In contrast, there are many packaging providers that supply only the machines or only the case packer. Or maybe they supply only the filling machine or VFFS machines or some film.
Then, sometimes if they supply the film they don’t supply the aluminium or the paper.”
On top of that is the expertise that comes with 50 years’ experience.
According to Malki, clients regularly encounter technical problems. For example, they may not know the correct film structure for a particular application or may be unsure how to solve a problem of sealability when hot filling at high temperatures.
“Maybe they’re going to be sterilising the product after heating and that creates issues on the production line. They need to know how to cool off the product quickly after it was heated to 120 degrees celcius,” he said.
“It’s not that straight forward for someone who sells packaging to know the answers to all these points. It’s called experience at the end.”
The company offers extensive technical support. “Particularly in Sydney and Melbourne we have a very good setup where the technicians are local and can service the clients very quickly,” said Malki.
Malki said that barrier film, which extends the shelf-life of food products and helps open export markets, is an important product at the moment.
“We are offering more in cups and also lidding. Generally, it all goes in the direction of barrier,” he said.
Freshness is also very important right now.
“For example, for pre-cooked meals, we see more and more aluminium being used in trays rather than plastic. It’s a very good way to maintain the freshness of the product, plus it can be cooked or heated in the oven. Few people know that an aluminium tray can be used in microwave ovens,” he said.
“In UK supermarkets, they typically have three or four aisles of pre-cooked meals, while in Australia at the moment it is just in a small corner. We feel this is an industry that can grow more and more.”
Malki expects the demand for packaging to double in coming years. Expansion is therefore very much on the agenda for Jet Technologies.
“We’re hiring new people to make this a reality. I have this vision on both the consumables and the materials,” he said. “We feel they have a lot of potential and they can save a lot of money and expand the horizon of our clients.”