SMI Labels and Packaging Materials

Saturday, December 25, 2010

“ Funtime at Labelexpo India 2010”

Labelexpo India 2010 was fun time for the Label Industry. Sometime it is not words but the pictures that say it all. I reproduce some pictures of the show and of the parties held alongwith on the side. Enjoy! 

The show opened with the lighting of the traditional lamp by Roger Pellow, Managing Director Labelexpo Group and Government Officials. Earlier the LMAI President Vivek Kapoor and Treasurer, Sandeep Zaveri also spoke and participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony.





BST team at their stand stand!
Weldon team at their Stand.














Creed Engineers Stand.





Omet stand.





















Multitec Stand
















The picture on left is Finat LMAI Young Managers Club meet in progress.















Birds of a feather flock together, Sandhya Shetty of Synpac and Bibiana of Rotatek with another participant in the middle, enjoy the networking opportunity during coffee break.








The not so young also found their way to the young manager's meet and found a cozy corner. Jan Fredrik Vink, Past President Finat with Ms. Rodriguez of Rotatek. Cheers!









Pawandeep Sahni, Member Finat board for YMC and also General Secretary LMAI YMC with Roger Pellow, Managing Director Labelexpo group.











Creed Team at Label awards.


Harveer Sahni speaking at the awards night after being honoured for rendering services as judge for World Label.Association Awards at Brussels.


KayDee Sahni of Weldon Celloplast and Chandan Khanna of Ajanta Packaging chill at the LMAI Label Awards night.











Kaydee Sahni of Weldon and Sheila Harper (of Techtonics) dance to popular tune "Sheila Ki Jawani" with music blaring from Kaydee's car parked in the Weldon Home's drive way.









At the Weldon dinner.In the picture on right from left to right Douglas Emslie (Group Managing Director-Tarsus), Gary Hendel(Delta, USA), Harveer Sahni (Weldon), Paolo Grasso (Omet), Mike Fairley (Label Guru), Roger Pellow (Managing Director-Labelexpo group), Kavneet Sahni(Tarsus) and in front Andy Thomas (Group Editor Labels and  Labeling)



In the picture on left, Isidore Leiser of Stratus Packaging, France in a "Balle Balle" mood at the Weldon party.









The picture on right has Gary Hendel (Delta USA) and Raul Sylvestre(Lartec) doing a Panjabi Bhangra number at the Weldon party.







Label Guru and me...
















The above feature is compiled by Harveer Sahni Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Ltd,

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Aspiring for Global Attention!

Aspiring for Global Attention!

Multitec Factory
Shanti Pal Ahuja was an energetic young man of 24 years when he joined as a director in Sud & Warren, an Engineering company promoted by his close relatives. It was in the early sixties that the promoters of Sud & Warren, Baldev Sud, K L Arora and Ahuja (Shanti Pal Ahuja’s elder brother) foresaw the potential of computer related products and there consumables. Using imported equipment they started to produce computer stationery and business forms. Shanti Pal Ahuja was deputed to go to Germany for getting technical training on the machines that they were using.  In those days of strict and controlled foreign exchange regime, getting import licenses and foreign exchange for imports was a difficult task. The hardship that they faced in importing machines or their spare parts led them to start their own venture, Sud & Warren. With Shanti Pal Ahuja as their technical Director the company started to build paper converting machines for their captive use as well for those in the similar trade. It was just a matter of time that the venture found success.
By 1983, a restless Shanti Pal Ahuja wanted to venture out on his own. He promoted Multitec Aids Pvt Ltd. to produce paper converting machines including equipment for making computer stationery. In fact he chose a product profile quite similar to that at Sud & Warren. He was fortunate that the bankers whom he approached knew his potential and experience from his days at Sud & Warren, so finance came relatively easy. After setting up the unit, the earliest success came from his efforts to associate with Indian Railways in indigenizing the machines for production of card tickets being used in those days. These tickets were being printed on old British machines. He fondly remembers that once his machines were in place, the Railways were printing, “2 tons of card tickets per day”. This order was followed up by providing machines for producing computer generated tickets for “Rajdhani Express” train.  He also reminisces the time he got a lot of praise from Times of India management for having suggested and supplied to them a bailing press for waste management. Due to this their facility became much cleaner and manageable. Despite producing some ancillary equipment, Multitec was primarily a manufacturer of computer stationery converting machines. The printing technique used on these machines was initially letterpress and then later web offset with high speed rotary converting. Till date Multitec has made over 600 installations, which are servicing their owners well.
Thirteen years after Shanti Pal Ahuja ventured out on his own his only son Amit Ahuja, alumni of Manipal Engineering College, was ready to join him in business. Amit a qualified mechanical engineer with a penchant for computer aided designing had ideas of diversifying in to other arenas and developing new machines. He found support from his father. The father son duo dwelled on the future of their present business and foresaw the end of growth or decline in the dot matrix computer stationery market. This was due to the dramatic growth in the A4 inkjet and laser printer markets. As technology advances to make these desktop printers faster and affordable coupled with rising demand for paperless offices, the demand for computer stationery in fanfold format with sprocket holes witnesses a steady decline. At this point of time it was a necessity to consider Amit’s proposal to diversify. Since Ahujas had adequate experience in web converting, they became serious when a customer friend Abhay Datta of Datta Press convinced them to join hands with him to produce a narrow web label press. The self adhesive label industry in India was registering high growth rates and the equipment was in synergy with their production program. It did not take much time for the Ahujas to decide on indulgence in this diversification. Amit’s father remembered his own history of having been trained in Germany on the machines that he later started to build in Sud & Warren. He decided it would be appropriate for Amit also to do a stint on machines that he was going to build. Soon the son was on way to North Carolina USA to train as an operator on Mark Andy flexo label presses. With engineering qualifications and experience at Multitec, it was easy for Amit to grasp the nuances of working with flexographic label printing presses.  The Industry is witness to the fact that people were surprised when at India Label Show 2002 at Nehru Centre, Mumbai, Abhay Datta was proudly displaying the Multiflex press built at Multitec Faridabad. The press was sold to a customer in Iran. Ahujas maintained a low profile at that show. They sold a few more presses but as luck would have it, discontent appeared in their relationship with Datta. Ahujas felt that they were not penetrating the market effectively and if a definite business plan was not put in place they would loose out. The association with Datta came to an end around 2008. Multitec redesigned their label press as a competitive product with all basic features. After renaming the press, “Ecoflex” they relaunched it.
Their efforts produced results! In last 20 months they have sold 18 presses. They are almost at the initial target they set themselves, “A label press every month”.  Multitec operates out of a 45000 square feet factory located on the outskirts of Faridabad, a suburban town in NCR Delhi and built on a plot of over 6 acres. It assures them availability of adequate space for future expansion. While most operations are handled at Faridabad, they have a marketing office a Mumbai. With a workforce of 80 they export 20% of their production. The factory is equipped with designing capabilities, CNC machines, computerized testing facilities, etc. They also have a demo centre where an Ecoflex press is kept on display for prospective customers to conduct trials. The most satisfying moment of their careers till now remains the time when they exported their label press to a mature market like Germany. Although 50% of their turnover comes from making computer stationery converting machines, label presses remains a focus area for them. They feel the label industry in India is largely unorganized however with continuous growth the label printers seem to be putting their act together and adopting modern production and management techniques. Multitec’s customer list includes big names like The Express Group, Times of India, Hindustan times, Avery Dennison, Technova, Thomson Press, etc. The company is committed to provide value for money. Amit feels that that for growing and improving upon their offerings the volumes need to go up. Though Amit is quite focused at present on making flexo printing presses, however from their capabilities and experience of making printing web by letterpress and offset, makes building a high-end combination label press one day, a strong possibility. They plan to exhibit their new development an all UV model of Ecoflex at Labelexpo 2010. Also on display at this show will be a module of their “Easyflex” which they feel will be an eye opener for the Industry. Trials have also begun on an all servo press with auto register features. If all goes as planned, this model will be displayed at Labelexpo Brussels next year in 2011.
With his father steadily withdrawing from this business to spend more time in trading in real estate which has given him rich returns, Amit has his hands full with so much more to achieve. His only son Avii, is only 8 years old. His wife Ashima, who is a homemaker, would prefer to be in the real estate business helping the elder Ahuja. Occasionally she does travel with her father in law to check out properties and learn about the trade.  Amit works hard and hopes to excel in his field of building good label presses. He is confident that there are very good times ahead for Multitec. He is committed to adopt the latest technologies in web converting. He is sure after Labelexpo 2010 Brussels, Multitec will get “Global Attention”.
Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 30th November, 2010 for magazine "Packaging South Asia "

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Appreciation!

Recognition of an effort always generates satisfaction and encourages further indulgence!
                                                                                                                                                            
Harveer Sahni

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Service at your doorstep!


Service at your doorstep

Rising prices and intense competition have made leading label printers to sit up and dip into their think tanks. To cater to the exacting demands of their customers, they need to upgrade their equipment with huge capital investment. To service the cost of these investments, they need to retain margins at a reasonable level. End user customers continue to demand better quality and service at better prices. With escalating raw material prices, label printers are considering cost effective processes to lower production costs. Large production runs, online defect detection to avoid rejections, lesser downtimes, operator efficiency, etc. are some of the issues that are being attended to. On the other hand printers are investing in complimentary equipments that can take smaller production runs economically. Cheaper flatbed presses, Chinese presses and second hand presses are being used to cater to the demands of smaller volume orders from large customers. No label printer supplying to a large volume customer would risk sending the customer to another printer for a smaller order. Neither can they afford to take small runs in their main expensive label presses increasing their downtime, expenses and production costs. While these cheaper equipments were being used for shorter runs yet there was a need for alternatives. Digital printing seems to be the ideal situation. As printing speed picks up and inks get cheaper, this technology is likely to be adopted by many large printers. All these are efforts to retain customers. Customer retention is a challenge that is facing many big label printers. Price is of course a sensitive issue but there are other factors that have also been becoming reasons for customers to shift loyalties. One big concern has been logistics. Printers, who were initially small in size, concentrated themselves in specific geographical zones. With growing demand for consumer and retail products, manufacturers or label buyers started to locate themselves across the nation, it became imperative for them to look for vendors closer to their facilities. As label printers grew in size with enhanced capital expenditures, it became a compulsion for them to retain these customers, who had multiple manufacturing locations.  These customers were demanding just in time deliveries to control their inventory levels and to ensure strict delivery program. It was time for label printers to assure their customers, “Service at Doorstep”.
Gautam Kothari
Interlabels, headquartered in Mumbai and leading label printers in India, started the trend of manufacturing at more then one location. They started by setting up their second unit in India at Delhi and then followed it up with units at Baddi, Kolkata and Chennai. They also have a unit in Nairobi Kenya, taking the total no. of units to six. They are now in the mood to consolidate before considering further locations. Gautam Kothari of Interlabels says “The trend in recent days is such that a lot of the customers want their suppliers to be close to their manufacturing locations. This, because the lead time needed to execute an order has shortened considerably due to market pressure. India being a huge country, catering to all the regions from one location is difficult. Having multiple manufacturing locations has helped us to reduce the time to get the material reaching them apart from reducing the freight cost.” He goes on to further add, “The concept of multiple locations for us is extremely beneficial as our customers are based all over the country and speed of response is essential. As far as manufacturing goes, it helps in better servicing however at a cost since having multi-location manufacturing does add to much higher operational costs which no customer is willing to pay for”. 
Amar Chhajed 
Amar Chajjed of Webtech, Mumbai who has a voracious appetite for expansion and growth was one of the first one to start (his second) a manufacturing unit in Himachal Pradesh near Baddi. He finds the experience extremely beneficial and says, “If it would not appear so, we would not do it” He feels it is one of the ways to grow and hopes to add two more locations in India or elsewhere in Asia.  Chandan Khanna of Ajanta Packaging says, “Having multiple locations is a part of Ajanta’s growth plan. Moreover it is in line with our commitment to our customers that we will go with you and grow with you” They have three manufacturing locations for label printing at Baddi, Daman and Sharjah (UAE).  Their corporate office and offset printing operations are in Mumbai. They also have marketing offices in Kolkata and Chennai.  According to Chandan, “If you have the patience and power to invest, multi-location manufacturing is highly beneficial. Ajanta will definitely add another location by 2012”.
Chandan Khanna on right
This mantra for growth is not restricted to printers in western India. NOIDA (Near Delhi) based Prakash Labels have also expanded to many manufacturing locations. Dinesh Mahajan heading the Praksash Labels management team states, “To serve customers in a vast country like India one has to be located in all zones if you wish to have a national presence”. Prakash labels have three manufacturing units in Noida, one in Baddi and one in Mumbai. Besides this they have marketing offices in various cities including Ajman, UAE. They are present in eight different cities. Dinesh further adds, “It is a definite way to grow”. Though they are fairly big in size he said he would be everywhere if he was bigger. They have recently put up the Mumbai unit so it will be a while before they think of yet another location. Zircon another Noida based label printer who commenced operations just a couple of years ago, has been reporting continuous expansion by adding new equipments. According to Sanjeev, heading Zircon, they have two manufacturing locations already and plan to add two more by end of 2011. Sanjeev feels that having multiple manufacturing locations is beneficial for rapid growth even though it needs a lot of administrative and supply chain management. I was quite surprised when Coimbatore (South India) based Rajiv Nair of Stallion Systems said, “We have four manufacturing locations and 16 marketing offices!” Rajiv used to work for another label company some years ago. Once he was on his own his company achieved grew vertical growth. He says,” Due to delivery delays to pan India customer base and high freight costs, it became necessary for us to locate at different places”.  Stallion benefitted from the decision and feel that it is the way to grow. They will continue to add more locations with better equipment.
Other label printers who have invested in multiple locations manufacturing and marketing include Unique Photo Offset, Syndicate Printers, Paper Products, Sai Security and a few others. Customer service is now acquiring new dimensions as end user demand just in time service along with delivery. This helps the end users of labels to manage their inventory, production and achieve better profitability. The parameters of vendor selection are now just not limited to price and quality. The label users are auditing their prospective vendors more rigorously. While price and quality are important yet logistics, social responsibility and environmental concerns are also considerations that decide in vendor selection. Vendors need to be extremely responsive to their customers growing demands and concerns. Proximity of the label printer to the manufacturing facility of their customers and capability to provide world class service has become necessary. There is a paradigm shift in the way label printers look at their expansion plans. Locating themselves strategically is now imperative for label printers to be able to provide, “SERVICE AT DOORSTEP.”
Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 30th November, 2010 for magazine "Packaging South Asia "

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Paper substrates in Self Adhesive Labels!



Self adhesive labels originated in India around 1965 when a screen printer in Mumbai used a PVC film as face paper and a polyethylene film as the release liner. The hard to wet polyethylene or PE film performed as a release liner because the pressure sensitive adhesives available at that time were not designed to anchor on to PE. The label or sticker so produced would open with a crackling sound as it would be a little difficult to peel it from the PE backing liner. For the same reason paper could not be used on face as it did not have the adequate strength and would tear off while separating from the PE liner. The force required to peel was too high and thus the usage of PVC film was justified. That was the beginning! Soon special base papers and silicon release coatings were available in India. Siliconised glassine or “Silicon Paper” as it came to be known became the preferred backing liner for all self adhesive label materials. This also made it possible for paper to be used as face material. Silicone coating on these base papers provided for an “Easy Release” making it possible to peel off these self adhesive labels effortlessly from their backing release papers. Adhesive chemistries developed such that adhesives could permanently bond even to PE and silicon chemistries also experienced continuous development, such that they can now be applied to PE film for achieving excellent release properties. Since the silicone and adhesive chemistries are beyond the purview of this article, we shall dwell primarily on the various papers used in this industry.

Labelstock essentially consists of three main components, Release paper, Pressure sensitive adhesive (PSA) and Face paper. We will dwell on the various types of papers used to form the release paper and the face paper. It will be appropriate to mention here that the self adhesive labelstock technology has technologically advanced to a level whereby a substantial portion of the output has seen a definite shift to filmic substrates both as face papers and as release liner. Paper however remains the major and important part of the labelstock production. We discuss the two components separately.
Release papers: These are papers that are highly calendered, non-absorbent and with a smooth surface so that silicone can be coated on it for imparting release properties. The papers need to be densified and have uniform caliper for good die-cutting. The various types of papers used in production of release papers are as follows;
1.       Glassine
2.       SCK or Super Calendered Paper
3.       CCK or Clay coated paper using bleached Kraft as base paper.
4.       Polycoated papers.
5.       Saturated papers
Filmic liners have also steadily found acceptability due to their uniform caliper, smoothness and specific character, still paper based liners constitute almost 90%of all the release liner used. While SCK was the preferred substrates in North America due to lower price yet the European market was always largely using Glassine due to performance and aesthetic reasons in auto dispensed labels. India for long years followed the European model. Labelstock producers and label printers opted for labels with glassine as release paper. To have a good die-cut label, that would dispense with ease and speed on an automatic labeler, it is necessary to have a good release liner. Any variations in caliper of the liner may result in nicks in the release paper that would result in web breaks at the end user level. While die-cutting is done by the label printer, the end user of labels is the one who is dispensing them. The two processes are complimentary to each other. The functionality of the self adhesive label is highly dependent on the liner. Any web breaks would lead to increase in downtime and create problems for the users.  Auto dispensed labels and barcode labels drove the demand for glassine liners. This is due to the transparency of the paper through which the label is sensed by the sensor and dispensed or printed by a barcode printer. Things started to change but very slowly such that in the last decade, SCK which has very similar construction and properties to glassine started to be used sparingly. Since the bulk of the demand was for glassine, Indian stock manufacturers stayed away from promoting other varieties of paper. However in small manner some stock manufacturers were experimenting with SCK, CCK and Polycoated papers. The effort was extremely limited until stock lots of laminates and base papers from North America started to land in India in large quantities. Some printers under extreme pressure for cost reduction from customers started to use these stock lots. It was only a matter of time that the larger printers also started to consider these materials for customers who were not very fussy or rigid about the liners. This exercise created a definite segment of labelstocks with different release liners. While the auto-dispensed labels and barcode label segment partially started to accept SCK which had similarities to glassine, it was the sheeted product market that went in for a paradigm shift to CCK as liner. This is so because the laminate produced with CCK as backing and sheeted for Offset printing would have excellent lay flat nature. This would enable it to be printed on offset presses with speed, as curl in sheets was a printer’s nightmare. The siliconising operation involves taking the paper through high heat for thermal curing. This process depletes the moisture content of the paper and makes it unstable. Due to the highly calendered construction of glassine the paper cannot regain moisture quickly and evenly despite being subjected to re-humidification process. The uneven absorption of moisture when the labelstock is sheeted and exposed to atmosphere tends to make the release liner to expand and make the sheets to curl. CCK or clay coated paper has one side coated for imparting a good silicon hold out and the other side is left as it is, so that it can breath and regain moisture during the gumming process when emulsion adhesive are used and the heating chamber has high moisture content that helps the paper to rehumidify to a level of stability. Other segments of label printers who were now richer in their experience from using imported stockpots of labelstocks started accepting the stocks from local manufacturers with these non glassine liners for cost reasons.
Polycoated papers also have found usage in a limited quantity for the past two decades. These consist of normal maplitho variety of paper over which a layer of polyethylene or polypropylene has been extruded. Due to frequent defects in polycoating and lack of consistency in the earlier years, the growth of these papers was restricted. However in recent times imports from China and other East Asian countries with polycoated release papers made many people in the industry to rethink and improve upon the technology. So much so, that these papers have also found continued and specific usage in the computer label segment. Another paper that has started to find foothold in some segments is the saturated paper. This is very similar to polycoated paper, the only difference being that the plastic (PE or PP) is replaced by a proprietary chemical coating which provides a good silicon hold out.
Going by personal knowledge of the market over the years and assessment, I have tried to estimate the tonnage of paper used for release liners in all the labelstock consumed in India. The basis of my estimate are made on figures of total consumption of labelstock that I mention in the last Para of this article. I estimate that 45000 to 50000 tons of base papers form a part of all the labelstock sold in India solely for the purpose of self adhesive labels. The demand for other applications like tapes, Hygiene, medical, food, etc. is all separate and extra. The way this industry has evolved and due to cost pressures most of the base papers for labels are silicon coated captively by the labelstock manufacturers.
Face Papers: Face paper in labelstock is what actually and finally becomes the label. It carries the branding, product information and decoration along with the adhesive. The release paper only protects the adhesive so long as the label is not used. As soon as the label finds its application, the release paper comes to the end of its limited lifespan and ends up in a waste bin or a landfill or incinerated to dispose off. Efforts are being made to recycle them. Demand for face papers are according to the application they are needed for.  The list is exhaustive and keeps on extending as per the imagination of the designers. I list below some of the commonly used papers;
1.       C1S or Semi-gloss paper and commonly known as Chromo Art Paper.
2.       Uncoated Matt or Maplitho Paper
3.       Cast coated or Mirror Coated Paper
4.       Thermal Transfer Paper
5.       Direct Thermal Paper
6.       Fluorescent Paper
7.       Colored Papers
8.       Metalized Paper
9.       Foil Laminated paper
10.   Textured paper
11.   Security Papers
12.   Papers for Digital Printing
The semi Gloss or chromo art paper and Maplitho paper together account for the biggest chunk of labelstocks sold in India. According to my assessment between the two, they account for nearly 70% of the total stock used, over 15% is filmic and 15% is others. Filmic should have been more but the shrink sleeve has taken away substantial market share. This would amount to about 55000 tons of paper used annually, both chromo and maplitho put together for self adhesive labels. The chromo art paper labels are mostly used for pharma labels, cosmetic/product labels, lube oil labels, and also barcode label. Maplitho finds extensive application in  price marking labels for handheld labelers, computer labels, logistic and other EDP labels.  Cast coated paper, popularly known as mirror coated paper is used for high-end retail labels with lot of decoration on them. These have lost much of market since printers have started to use semi gloss paper with UV Varnish to get high Gloss. Moreover labels for smaller diameter pharma bottles faced problem with cast coated paper as due to their stiff nature they would get an edge lift leading to rejection of labels. Thermal transfer paper is a special matt finish smooth paper used for producing barcode labels in barcode printers with thermal transfer ribbons. The heated print head presses the ribbon against the paper to neatly transfer the image on to the paper resulting in a barcode. Barcodes help in retail selling, inventory control, logistics, accounting and a host of other applications. The volumes of this paper which is mostly imported, grew at a fast pace due to widespread usage of barcodes. However due to rising cost and availability problems much of this business has shifted to chromo art paper which has found a high level of acceptability from label printers and users. Everyone recognizes direct thermal paper popularly known as fax paper. It changes color when a heated print head touches it. With the advent of internet connectivity, emails becoming the mode of communication and faxes being phased out, this paper was heading towards a slow death. It suddenly got a new lease of life with new applications arising in labels with a shorter lifespan. It can print barcode without the need of a thermal transfer ribbon. Barcode labels for grocery in malls, petrol pump sale bills, toll tickets, retail vends, courier co’s, etc. started to be made on direct thermal paper. The product consumption is now growing at a fast pace prompting many companies to initiate manufacturing this product locally. Colored papers, fluorescent papers, metalized paper and foil laminated paper are used for their eye catching appearance and for attracting the consumer attention. With growth of packaged foods, gourmet foods and wines, the need for textured and designer paper for label applications has become imperative. At this time these papers are not produced in India. They are supplied by specialized paper producing companies like Fedrigoni of Spain. These papers are not produced in India and smaller volumes along with the diverse nature of designs, makes importing these, a costly proposition. Some innovative printers have started to indulge in getting the embossed effect on papers by using special flexible dies supplied by companies like Lartec also of Spain. These dies actually do not emboss but deboss and yet produce a textured effect on the paper. I am sure this will create market for textured papers in India. With increased incidents of pilferage, counterfeiting and duplication, there is a growing need for tamper evident and security labels. Some mills even in India have started to offer papers with UV fibres that glow in dark when exposed to UV light for verification. Others offer papers with water mark. There is also need for paper that would be weak and fragment into pieces on tried to be removed but this property is against the target specification of the mills who try to achieve high strength in the papers they produce.
As the digital printing industry continues to evolve and pose threat to the conventional printing, the paper mills in India cannot ignore this segment which is growing at a very fast pace. As quality and speeds pickup in digital printing, I am sure that it will be difficult to match the versatility of this technology even for label printing. Tambola tickets, lottery tickets, short run product labels, security and sequentially numbered labels are some of the applications that have already shifted over to digital printing. At this point of time special papers with top coating are required and some label printers do a primer coating on labelstocks themselves to achieve perfecting standards in digital printing. Label stock manufacturers also offer stocks top coated by them. It may just be a matter of time that paper mills offer pre-coated papers. The possibility of the technology upgrading further cannot be ruled out when all digital printers will print normal papers that are available without any additional primer coat.
India with its 1.12 billion strong populations is fast becoming a global economic powerhouse. It is estimated that this year the country will have the highest number of English speaking people in the world. Almost 30 percent of the country’s population is between the ages of 10-24 years, while the average age is 26 years. 70% of these young people are literate. A Young and literate workforce are growing up to work more, earn more and spend more. With higher disposable income they are becoming a part of a bulging middle class, larger then the entire population of United States. For this reason the world’s largest retailers are making a beeline to India to be a part of this growth.  If the number of mobile connections is an indicator, it is interesting to note that in July 2010 alone 17 million subscribers were added taking the total number of mobile users in the country to over 652 million. The demand for consumer products, packaged foods, pharmaceuticals and all packaged products is slated to see a quantum jump. With this will also increase the demand of labels. The self adhesive label industry is presently estimated to be growing by excess of 15% per annum. According to published data, 16 billion square meters of self adhesive labelstock is converted into labels in the world every year. By my own estimate total annual consumption of self adhesive labelstock in India is about 750 million square meters. This translates into a per capita consumption of almost 0.75 square meters. Compare this almost 3 square meters in China, between 13-15 square meters in Europe and a little more in the US.  Based on the above estimation of total consumption of labelstock, I calculated the quantity of paper used for release paper and that of face paper for label stock consumed in India. I conclude that over 1,00,000 tons of paper is used for the entire quantity of self adhesive labels used in India!
Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 1st November, 2010. The article was published in October-November 2010 issue of the magazine "Paper Mart"

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Breathless at showtime!


New Delhi or for that matter India, is still rejoicing at the success of being a proud host for the prestigious Commonwealth Games in October 2010. It is also the start of the festive season which brings with it feelings of celebration, elation and a boost to the markets. Public spending goes up and so does the sales of consumer products, which eventually leads to a high usage of labels. During this season we hope to see high growth rates in this market segment. The trends in the industry are already buoyant. Equipment suppliers are ecstatic at the growth in investment in Label Presses by Indian Label Printers. While many existing printers are the ones who are expanding and increasing their existing capacities yet it is interesting to note that an equal, if not more, volume of investment into self adhesive labels is coming from offset printers and flexible packaging companies.
Preceding and following the commonwealth games we have and have had a spate of shows relating to the label printing, Offset printing and packaging industry. I wonder how this situation is going to be taken up by the printers who have already been voicing their concerns about too many shows being held not only in a year but now, in matter of weeks. However at this point of time let me dwell on the fact that the Indian printers are in for an extravaganza of a show after another show! Some of the best suppliers/exhibitors will be trying to woe the Indian printers while they showcase their finest wares. The industry can look forward to multiple opportunities to learn, indulge, and technically update themselves. Fortunately for the exhibitors, the audiences they are targeting at are in a positive mood and as things stand these visitors are willing to see, investigate and shop. It indeed is time to show!
Towards the end of September 2010, Roger Pellow, the Managing Director of Labelexpo group and his team landed in India after having held a successful Labelexpo America at Chicago, earlier in the month. They held three road shows across India. In a whirlwind tour while they were in India for a week they organized road shows in Chennai, Mumbai and Ludhiana. Immediately after this it was Mumbai’s turn to showcase “Indiapack 2010” organized by the Indian Institute of Packaging (IIP) from September 30th to October 3rd 2010. Being the show of the premier government sponsored institute, it attracts a lot of interest from the major converters and users. It is interesting that majority of the packaging development managers in big companies are alumni of IIP. As we get closer to the end of the year, “Pack Plus 2010” will be held from 3rd to 6th December 2010. Just after a gap of one day “Labelexpo India 2010” will open up at the same venue Pragati Maidan. New Delhi from the 8th to 11th December. As a matter of fact both these shows were the brainchild of the husband wife team of Anil and Neetu Arora.  Anil sold his highly successful “India Label Show” to Tarsus, they renamed it as Labelexpo India. This gave the show an international perspective as it became a part of the Labelexpo series of shows around the world. The day Labelexpo will be opening its doors to printers in Delhi’s Pragati Maidan, another printing show “Screen Print India 2010” (8th-10th Dec.)will be inaugurated at Mumbai. One is left wondering how the printing fraternity is going to be at two different places in one time. As we enter the second decade of this millennium, on January 16th 2011 “Printpack India”, the prestigious show of IPAMA and ITPO will throw open its doors yet again at Pragati Maidan, New Delhi. It indeed is going to be a busy time for visitors and exhibitors. These exhibitions are expected to generate a lot of business and the market sentiments are pointing towards that. It is also time to network and meet counterparts in the industry repeatedly during this season. The printers will rejoice in the festive spirit.
On 27th of August 2010, the Label Manufacturers of India (LMAI) organized an event for their members and the label community at large. The programme commenced with the executive committee meeting followed by their AGM. After the AGM a presentation on lean Management was made by Dr. Mohan Parmeswaran and was well received and appreciated by the printers. The evening culminated in welcomed networking over cocktails and dinner. It was an extremely successful evening, rarely witnessed before, in the industry. It was a proud moment for the LMAI president Vivek Kapoor when 120 guests turned up to give value to the eventful evening. The camaraderie and networking was evident and brought satisfying cheer to the printers. They were sharing thoughts, gossips and discussing technical up-gradation. The evening ended on a happy note with many a printers shaking a leg or two on the dance floor!

He wished to fly high!


Amit Sheth
As a young boy, Amit Sheth would look up to the skies and wished to be flying in the clouds. He wanted to become a commercial pilot one day. As he grew up his ambition became stronger and he found support from his father Kirti Kant Sheth. His plans to pursue his ambition had to be given up when life took an unexpected turn and he was asked to give up that wish and join the family business…
Kirti Kant Sheth had started trading in printing machines way back in 1955. His flagship company “Sheth Bros.” with his brothers as partners became highly successful and respected sellers of printing and packaging equipment. By late seventies or early eighties Sheth Bros had reached their pinnacle. Their name was synonymous with printing and packaging machines. They spread across India with offices in Calcutta, Delhi, Guwahati and Mumbai. As luck would have it in 1985 the brothers decided to go in for a separation. Kirti Kant Sheth had to call upon his son Amit Sheth to give up his ambition of becoming a pilot and join him in business. Amit did accept the need of the hour and stepped in to become a salesman in his father’s company, looking after sales of letterpress printing and bookbinding machines in Eastern and North Eastern India besides making efforts to export their equipment.
In 1991 Amit accompanied their family friend Dushyant Parekh of National Art Press Calcutta to visit Taiwan. Little did he realize that this visit would be a turning point in his life and would be decisive in making his entry into the world of self adhesive labels and narrow web printing. During their visit Dushyant Parekh showed to Amit equipment that could make “Stickers”. It could print multi-colour, Hot-foil stamp, over laminate, die-cut, remove waste matrix, etc in roll and also do sheeting at the end of the line. Amit was fascinated! The presentation and introduction of the machine and its operation was made to them by John Huang of Orthotec. Amit became Orthotec’s business associate and eventually a dear friend of John. This commenced the journey of Amit Sheth into the Self Adhesive Label industry.
In the excitement of making his first sale of a label press in 1993 to Antarctica Limited, Calcutta, he accepted a condition of restricted additional sale. Due to this he had to restlessly wait for two more years to sell another press. He was getting uneasy as the new technology was fast spreading. The relief came when in the opening hours of “Printpack India 1995” in New Delhi, Amit found his most satisfying moment! He sold the press he was displaying at the show to Rajesh Chadha of P C Chadha and Co. Rajesh a third generation entrepreneur, whose flagship venture is now called Update Prints Pvt.Ltd., has by far been Amit’s biggest supporter, customer and friend. His company Label Planet has not looked back ever since. Label Planet now represents renowned international principals like Orthotec, Focus, Cartes, Miyakoshi, Inktek and Rotary Technologies. Amit Sheth has been a hands-on man and the best sales person of his company. Travelling extensively he remains personally in touch with all his customers. It is incredible that till date he has sold over 200 presses and his appetite to sell many more at a fast pace is not letting up. He finds active support from wife Rupa, homemaker and a great mother to their two wonderful daughters Ruhi and Kyra.
Amit has done pioneering service for the Indian Label Industry. Despite being an industry supplier, he initiated and actively indulged in setting up the Label Manufacturers Association of India (LMAI). He brought together leading printers from across the country to meet one evening at Mumbai. He provided the necessary support from his office premises and his staff to do the groundwork. In appreciation of his work, he has been given the honorary membership of LMAI for life, he is also the honorary secretary. He has been instrumental in bringing together suppliers and label printers together on the LMAI platform. Having gained knowledge, experience and stature in the Indian labels industry Amit hopes that one day he is able to establish a Labels Institution and would like to indulge in educating the new comers in this field. Expressing his views on the changing technologies in label industry he feels the digital will continue at a fast pace however the conventional presses will remain the workhorses and retain their charm. He feels Laser printing and die-cutting will be a technology to watch in coming times.
Amit Sheth sums up his achievements by quoting his late father,” You wanted to fly high, you do not really need an aircraft, success will do the job”

Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 on October, 2010.