In effort to provide a platform for interaction between Brand Owners and label printers; leading to evolution, creativity in labels, understand the needs of buyers, discuss statutory requirements and evaluate sustainability in labels, the Label Manufacturers Association of India (LMAI) has been organising events. Senior packaging development professionals from leading brands in different segments like Pharma, Cosmetics, Liquor, Food, FMCG, etc. are invited to address India’s top label companies and to interact with them in panel discussions and network in a relaxed atmosphere. Printers from all categories and get to meet the people who drive the evolution and set trends for the future of labels. The 3rd such event titled, “Future-Next: Brand owners’ perception of Labels” was held on 29th June 2019 at Hotel “The Park, New Delhi”. The event was also intended to be a precursor for the LMAI conference slated to be held at Kochi in a little over three weeks. Though the LMAI Brand Owners event is restricted to only label printers yet this time all the sponsors of the forthcoming conference at Kochi, Kerala were given the option to attend and many leading suppliers to the label industry were seen together with printers and brand owners. Over 100 delegates and media persons attended a very successful event.

The evening was moderated by past LMAI President and Managing Director of Mumbai based Creative Labels, Vivek Kapoor. Other LMAI board members who flew in from Mumbai specially for the event include Ajay Mehta Managing Director SMI Coated Papers, Amit Sheth of Label Planet and LMAI Kochi Conference Chairman and past President LMAI, Manish Desai.  

After a brief welcome speech by President LMAI, Kuldip Goel, Pavankumar Chougule Associate Director, packaging development, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories made the first presentation.

He informed the audience about the expectations of the pharmaceuticals industry with emphasis on Regulatory compliance and Patient Safety, Smart Packaging, Secure Supply Chain, Data Security, Personalization, New Developments and Sustainability.

Santanu Chowdhury, Senior general manager, global packaging development, Sun Pharmaceutical spoke on interactive labels which he asserted is the future next for labels. Explaining the nuances of creation of embedded code on the labels and how the technology works, he dwelled on possibility of data management with integration on the servers of an organisation.

He also stressed that interactive solutions create brand loyalty. Technology offers great opportunities to digitally connect your physical products with your consumers, tailored to business goals. The consumer experience is converted into data business intelligence.

Soumyanath Mishra, head packaging development at Mankind Research Centre a part of Mankind Pharmaceuticals spoke on the requirements for pharmaceutical labelling, especially for exports. He also mentioned that Packaging & Labelling have a significant role to play as it provides the first point of contact with the patients or customers.

It provides important communication and help to build a credible brand as well. Proper Labelling helps in creating a good first impression of your product on the customers since the customer is procuring through on-line.

“Today we are a part of Generation X” said Naveen Stuart, packaging development manager, Reckitt Benckiser, he also mentioned that there is a demographic and cultural shift which is witnessed in today’s world. The generation is now moving towards a digital world. 

There is an imperative need to look beyond decoration of labels, Label needs to play an extensive role in package design process and convey the whole brand story. As regards digitalization he said; behavior of consumer is paramount to brand owner’s decision, error free smart label process, quick turn-around time and consistent quality. Also, digitilization in pre-press process aids error free production.

A very interesting presentation was made by Tamal Ghosh, strategic packaging development leader, corporate packaging development, Dabur India whereby he spoke on Brand Owner’s perspective, on labeling trends and their expectation and requirements that they need from converters.

These expectations include need for thinner filmic release liners contributing to sustainability as they can be recycled and lower tonnage of liner waste, flexible filmic label substrates for contoured shapely containers and label decoration capabilities.

The last presentation was made impromptu by none other than Somnath Chatterjee GM procurement in Pernod-Ricard India, he spoke on the imperative decorative and brand security needs of liquor industry. He asserted, it was an imperative to deliver genuine and safe products to consumer customers who trust them.

A panel discussion followed, moderated by the author, Harveer Sahni of Weldon Celloplast. A very interactive session that dwelled on various aspects of label industry. Barun Banerjee, Head of Packaging Nestle, gave very important inputs as regards government regulations and sustainability.

All speakers and guests on the panel enlightened the audience. Final comments of Kuldip Goel President LMAI and Managing Director Any Graphics were “We need to mentor our generation next for the label industry to move on”

All sponsors to Kochi conference were invitees and many like Avery, SMI, Label Planet, Vinsak, Reifenhauser, Weldon, etc. attended. Leading printers besides those in LMAI management  from various locations in India included, Manish Desai-Mudrika Labels Mumbai, Sanjeev Sondhi-Zircon Dehradun, Priyata Raghavan-Sai Security Faridabad, Yoga Murthy Chromaprint Coimbatore, Mohit-Encana Baddi, Ankit Kapoor-Printrays Jalandhar, Parshav and Rishab Jain, Jain Transfer-Noda, Aditya Chadha-Update Prints Gurgaon, Gurpreet Dilawari-Printwell Haridwar and so many more.


The evening ended looking forward to getting together again at KOCHI!
Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi July 2019
 Print publications are free to reproduce this article by giving credit to author

Almost forty years ago, when Iwas just a commercial siliconiser, people at large did not understand what release paper or silicon paper was. I would jokingly explain it was a product, a protective paper behind a sticker, that would eventually go into wastepaper basket. In real terms the release liner, would be disposed-off in landfills or burnt adding smoke and gasses to the environment impacting it adversely.

Time has changed, concern for environment is a necessity and cannot be taken lightly as a joke. We are responsible for leaving behind a legacy of a cleaner and liveable environment for generations that follow us.
We need to make our manufacturing programs, sustainable. Sustainability means giving back to mother earth what we take from it or reduce drawing the resources that we cannot replenish forthwith cut down generation of industrial waste. Unfortunately, 50% of all that self-adhesive label industry produces goes as waste in terms of waste matrix and release liners. While globally many endeavours are being adopted to reduce liner waste yet in India a lot needs to be done. Switching over to liner less labels where-ever possible, helps but not much work is done in this direction. Using thinner filmic liners does result in reduced tonnage of liners and their recyclability. During this period many a top-end printer has started using clear on clear filmic label materials aiding sustainability to some extent. Global leaders in Labelstocks Avery Dennison has initiated a program to collect and recycle silicone release liners in India, it is a step in the right direction. But given the size of the country and geographical spread of label units, it is a gigantic task. Other than this some printers have adopted waste management by shredding waste and compacting it for use as fuel in boilers and other applications, this is only a miniscule portion of the Industry. Largely, the waste is still sent to landfills or is incinerated. In times to come legislation will come to make sustainability and environment safety an imperative. It is time that the label and print fraternity at large must understand that not only the need but also the larger implications terms sustainability, recyclability, circular economy, environmental protection, etc.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries – developed and developing – in a global partnership.

They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go together with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. The Sustainable Development Goal number 12 states; worldwide material consumption has expanded rapidly, as has material footprint per capita, seriously jeopardizing the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals. Urgent action is needed to ensure that current material needs do not lead to the over extraction of resources or to the degradation of environmental resources, and should include policies that improve resource efficiency, reduce waste and mainstream sustainability practices across all sectors of the economy. In our labels and packaging industry this is an imperative that needs to be attended to because the percentage of waste generated is high, going to landfills. Some companies do incinerate or send the waste generated as matrix or side trim to kilns for use as fuel. This may look good management but in the longer run we are putting gasses into the air from the different materials going into the manufacture of labelstocks viz.; paper, film, primer coats, silicone, adhesive etc. Each component will produce different type of emissions that have in unison no single solution to treat them. Thus, there is a need for reducing the waste generated, use recyclable materials, reduce the energy consumption etc. to become more sustainable.

The label industry globally has been looking at the possibility of recyclability and reusability of the waste matrix or that of the different components of labelstocks. Since release paper is one item that has its usability only until the label is dispensed to be applied on to the product, after that it ends up as waste. Over the years there have been many solutions tried to reduce the impact of this liner waste on the environment. The used liner would either go to landfills or incinerated and in both cases it its impact was adverse. Due to the silicone coating on the paper biodegradability in landfills was an issue as silicone after crosslinking becomes inert.

For the same reason paper mills would not buy this waste for re-pulping and making fresh paper. Initial steps taken in reducing the liner waste were replacing the paper liners with thinner filmic liners thereby reducing the tonnage of paper and moreover the waste liner can be remoulded. This was a positive sign, but large-scale shift has not happened in a long time because of additional increased investment in equipment and tooling. There have been efforts to go linerless in producing labels but the inability to do custom shapes die-cutting and high-speed label dispensing on automatic packaging lines have not produced a lasting solution. Efforts and development in this direction are going on and we hope one day the industry can shift to self-adhesive labels without having release liners to dispose off, becomes a reality. At Labelexpo Europe 2019, four companies Ritrama, Omet, Spilker and ILTI came together to offer their “Core Linerless Solutions”, other companies like Catchpoint are also making strong efforts in this direction, only time will tell how many brand owners move in this direction and prompt their label vendors to offer the linerless label solutions. Some paper mills in Europe have now devised process of de-siliconising release paper and then re-pulping it to make fresh paper but the collection and delivery to the mills from the printing companies widely spread over large geographical locations is a logistic challenge. However still substantial volumes have started to be reprocessed. In India in recent times as mentioned above Avery Dennison has initiated support to a program in which collection of release liners is outsourced to a vendor and then sent to a mill who have devised a process to re-pulp and convert to paperboard. These are positive steps.

The menace of waste is gigantic and it has become an absolute emergency to counter it. Governments have woken up to act against generation of materials going to landfills. It is preferred that whatever waste is generated in industrial process should be gainfully recycled for usability to achieve the benefits as described in circular economy.

As per a report published in of 19th September 2019, leading consumer products companies such as Coca-Cola India, PepsiCo India and Bisleri among others have decided to come together to launch a first-of-its-kind packaging waste management venture in the country. The venture, which is called Karo Sambhav, will focus on creating a formal eco-system for collection of post-consumer packaging and optimising material recycling processes. Commenting on the endeavour, T Krishnakumar, President, Coca-Cola India and South-West Asia added, “Through our vision, World Without Waste, we want to ensure that all our packaging material goes for recycling and not to landfills.” Another report appearing in Live Mint 2nd October 2019 states; The government may soon roll out stringent norms and impose heavy fines on corporates, including hospitality industry, mobile manufacturers and packaging industry, for failing to stop use of plastic. Under the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme, which the government plans to implement effectively, manufacturers, brand owners, and importers of products should realise and bear responsibility for environmental impact of their products through the product life-cycle. Many of the large FMCG companies have started adopting the requirements of EPR. These are other positive steps taken to eradicate waste to landfills to a great extent.

Besides the liner there is the waste matrix which has the adhesive and various kinds of face materials that include uncoated, coated, metallised, coloured, metallised papers, laminates or films with metallisation or topcoats. Side trims are also generated at some label converting units and most labelstock manufacturing units. With increasing prices of real estate besides an environmental issue, the side trims and matrix call for large amount of space to store until disposed off, putting additional pressure on resources. For this reason, larger label companies are shredding and compacting the waste to sell as fuel for boilers, furnaces and cement kilns.

There are some innovative entrepreneurs who convert this waste into pallets, floor tiles, wall panelling and some small furniture items. It is interesting to see such endeavours.

Circular economy packaging is another buzzword when we talk of sustainability and environmental protection. A circular economy is an economic system aimed at eliminating waste, continual use and recycling of resources to re-engineer products that are preferably not downgraded. It is contrary to the earlier system “traditional linear economy” according to which the aim was ‘take, make, dispose’ model of production to achieve increased usage of all inputs.

Labels are the face of any product and in time of growing organised retail and in view of stringent consumer protection laws labels provide the much-needed statutory information, besides becoming the marketing tool for any product. In such a scenario we need to design labels in manner that they are able, to be a part of recycling process of the package. For instance, on a PE (polyethylene) container we should have a PE label only so that the whole package is mono-polymer and can be effectively reprocessed and recycled. Multi-polymer plastics are neither recyclable nor biodegradable. It is normal in India that we see ragpickers collect the mono polymer milk pouches but leave behind the fancy multi-layered pouches of instant foods and snacks littered around. This is because the monolayer plastics are resaleable for convenient recycling. Similarly, a paperboard carton should have a paper label.

Sustainability or circular economy must be in the conscience of all manufacturers, it does not advocate compromising safety or user experience of any product. It also does not mean increased cost of inputs. It is a mindset to create products that make life sustainable and do not deplete resources available to humans. There is need to replenish what we extract from our environment and establish a legacy for generations that follow for staying committed to the cause. It is a cause that is impacting humanity across the globe and all efforts to make public of all races and countries aware of the situation and need to contribute towards this issue in unison are necessary.
Written By Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi India February 2020

The Indian self-adhesive label industry has not only transformed in terms of printing and converting processes but has also evolved tangentially incorporating various technologies to label the products. The evolution is ongoing and keeps presenting immense challenges to label printers, suppliers and equipment producers. An industry focussed primarily on its self-stick capabilities now has moved into diversified label production, decoration, application and dispensing methods. Label is not merely a sticker but a branding tool that can be created and applied in various ways as perceived by the imagination of the Brand managers and marketing professionals.

From the mid-1960s when stickers in India started being produced manually by screen printing, the production processes used have undergone a sea change. The printing process evolved from flatbed letterpress to rotary flexo and then to combination and hybrid printing. These were just the changes that happened either in terms of label substrates varying from paper to filmic or changes in printing methods, may they be letterpress, flexo, screen, gravure, offset, digital or combination. In the new millennium the tangential evolution commenced. Shrink Sleeves providing 360 degrees label space on product came in however still due the sheer inertia of growth, the self-adhesive labels continue to grow. Environmental concerns are bringing in need for thinner liners in self adhesive to reduce the quantum of waste going to landfills, this is also leading to development of linerless labels. Digital labels are catching up fast but the bigger challenge it appears, will come from digital printing and decoration direct on products eliminating need for label substrates, liners and adhesives.

At the last labelexpo India 2018 the author had a one to one discussion with Pankaj Bhardwaj Senior Director and General Manager at Avery Dennison India Pvt Ltd for his views on the way forward for the label industry. He feels that there is nothing to worry as while the consumer story is intact, and decoration of labels is in intact, at Avery Dennison, we are still able to convert users from wet glue to pressure sensitive adhesive labels, achieving a stable double-digit growth on an ongoing basis.

 According to him changes need to come from two directions and have started coming in, the first is decoration technology which comes with increasing the means of producing such happy and complex labels.  Technically advanced labels that are the real products like RFID labels and labels with special features are needed to be developed. The second change according to Pankaj is the need to be prudent in prices and focus on the product mix. These two changes are the way forward, he feels. Stagnant price of labels with reducing margins does impact the bottom line of printers negatively. It is thus that, currently; offering the right product at the right price is very important.

When questioned about the challenges emanating out of labels evolving as mentioned in the first paragraph herein, he does agree that linerless labels have come but their extensive growth will happen only when they are technically and commercially viable. RFID surfaced during World war II, it is only now, in the last 3-4 years that it is becoming viable.

Avery Dennison is aware of the changes and continues to offer technically advanced products even for linerless labels. They have also invested in a venture producing liquid displays, Printed electronics and will diversify into technically complex products. They are a Pressure Sensitive Adhesive (PSA) label and graphic material producers. While PSA remains their basic offerings, yet they also sell non-PSA products. When asked about the impact of direct-on-product digital printing, he does agree it may affect the usage of self-adhesive labels but there is time for evolution to happen and by then the existing market will also have grown and alternatives developed so the technologies will evidently coexist.

Witnessing the success of labelexpo India and the number of label presses being invested in, he was asked if he felt India was booming in labels. In response he says the present growth of course is positive and is well reflected if we consider Unilever as a barometer, they have reported double digit growth for three quarters in a row. This does indicate a growing demand for labels and packaging. However, he feels this buoyancy is the residual effect of the negative impact on demand due to demonetisation and imposition of GST last year.

It created a void that is being compensated by an increased demand this year. Commenting on Labelexpo he said. “It is an important show, here we get to see a lot of technology and in which direction India is moving.” He added that labels as they are being produced now calls for increased capital investments on a regular basis. There is now an evident awareness of environmental issues which indicates that we are moving in the right direction. It is also an imperative that while expanding we make the business model more sustainable. “Surprisingly there is a lot happening at the bottom of the triangle” he said referring to the smaller printers indulging in moving up the value chain. The smaller producers were until recently dependent on pre-gummed sheets printed by offset, old flat bed letterpress machine or even screen printing. These printers are now installing flexo presses procured either from Indian manufacturers of presses or Chinese presses or used flexo presses, providing the growth impetus to the label industry.

When questioned that the industry has seen the top local Avery Dennison management in India move in a typical fashion. Raj Srinivasan, Anil Sharma and now Pankaj, all started with domestic responsibilities and were then moved out on to global responsibilities. He responded, “Avery Dennison is a great place to work with. It is a dynamic company that has recognised the talent from India. They are expanding their business in APAC region and globally utilising this talent effectively.”

Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi. December 2018. 
Publications are free to reproduce the above article giving credit to author.

Indian Label industry has for the last many years been registering steady double-digit growth. The industry largely consists of family-owned small or medium-sized enterprises employing 1-5 label presses. A handful of larger enterprises have surfaced in recent times due to acquisitions or mergers by multinational companies.

The size still needs to become bigger to reach the size of large international label producers. Ironically some of the upcoming existing companies in this segment who were growing and appeared to become large players, opted to be acquired rather than go it alone. We do see some Indian owned label companies now rising from the crowds to become evident in growth beyond the average size. It is hoped that they will also not opt to be acquired, we do need indigenous companies that will grow and prove their mettle. There is an imperative need for these companies to break away from being single owner or family driven businesses to become professionally-managed entities. They need to optimise production processes, manage wastages, invest in workflow automation, etc. leading to continuous growth and better profitability. Stronger bottom lines in the industry is sure to enable printers investing in expansion and employment of new technologies leading to evolution of the industry, presenting state of art products. A large population and expanding retail trade are driving the demand for labels. The industry that originated in just the metro cities is now spreading to the interiors of India, there is need for further growth as printers realise the need to be multilocational to be able to service customers in a large country more efficiently. At this time the exhibition Labelexpo is looked at with interest as it provides knowledge not only to existing printers but also to new entrants. It showcases the best of indigenous and international label production equipment, materials and consumables at one place. India’s label association LMAI not only supports this important exhibition but also adds value to it by organising events on the side lines, making it worthwhile for their printer and supplier members.

LMAI, L9 meet: L9 is the informal platform of leading global trade associations for the labels and narrow-web industry which was founded in 2009 for the purposes of communicating regional issues and developments to the global industry, identifying and jointly examining issues of transnational concern to industry members, sharing information, developing and recommending best Industry practices regarding efficiency,

training, technology, safety and environmental matters, recognizing Industry achievements and pursuing such other programmes and activities as may promote and better the industry worldwide. The alliance consists of LMAI (India), JFLP (Japan), FINAT (Europe), TLMI (North America), LATMA (Australia), PEIAC (China), AMETIQ (Mexico), ABIEA (Brazil) and SALMA (New Zealand). Every year L9 meets in one of the member association countries. At the last 7th L9 meet in Beijing China it was decided that LMAI India will host the next meet. LMAI has made elaborate plans. It is now scheduled to be a 4-day prestigious global meet that will include multiple events and agendas including Label Exchange Program, L9 Board Meeting, Industry visits, Labelexpo visit, networking and leisure activities. The event will also cover a wide range of subjects within the label industry including sourcing and consumption of raw material, future demands, quality parameters, new machinery, innovative technologies and global trends. 

Spearheading the program LMAI past President Sandeep Zaveri says, “We are very excited to welcome the L9 participants to India” acknowledging support of his LMAI colleagues Vivek Kapur, Amit Sheth, Ajay Mehta, Harveer Sahni, President-Kuldip Goel, Rajesh Nema, Ramesh Deshpande and Dinesh Mahajan in organising this important event, he further adds, “It is an opportunity for all our label printer friends to meet international label printing leaders and hear them on various ascents like recycling sustainability.” The L9 meet and related events are sponsored by SMI Coated Products as main sponsor and Intergraphic Pulisi. 

LMAI Avery Dennison Label Awards Night: This prestigious Label industry biennial event has

traditionally been organised by Tarsus, the organiser of Labelexpo India along with the show Labelexpo. This is the first time that the event is being organised by LMAI under the leadership of their President Kuldip Goel. LMAI Avery Dennison Awards night will take place on the first day of Labelexpo India on 22nd of November 2018 at Expo Mart Greater Noida, UP India. It is expected to be a memorable event full of information, presentations, entertainment and global networking opportunities as the international visitors who will come for L9 meet will also be present. The award categories are as follows;
·       Flexo Category 
·       Letterpress Category
·       Offset Category 
·       Combination Printing Category  
·       Digital Printing Category 
·       Screen Printing Category
·       Rotogravure Category (under Gold Category)
·       Booklets & Coupon Labels Category (under Gold Category)
·       Innovation Category (under Gold Category)
·       Green Sustainable Category
The entry to the awards night function is restricted to either invitees or paid ticket holders.
·       Individual places – per seat price – Rs. 3999
·       For LMAI members the cost is subsidised to Rs. 2999 Sponsors for this gala night are as follows;

  • Avery Dennison           Gold Sponsor
  • Vinsak                          Silver Sponsor
  • Nilpeter                        Silver Sponsor
  • SMI Coated Products   Silver Sponsor
  • OMET and Dupont      Silver sharing Sponsor
  • Intergraphic Pulisi        Silver Sponsor
  • Gallus/Heidelberg        Silver Sponsor
  • J N Arora and Co.        Silver Sponso

Labelexpo India: Labelexpo India is scheduled to be held at Expo Martsharing , Greater Noida, UP India from 22nd to 25th November 2018. It is the largest event for the label and package printing industry in South Asia – with more products, more launches and more live demonstrations! The exhibition will display Digital and conventional printing presses, High tech label and packaging materials, Prepress and platemaking technology, Finishing and converting systems, Inspection, overprinting and label application equipment, Dies, cutters, rollers, Inks and coatings, RFID and security solutions, Software and interactive technology. Spread over 4 days in 4 halls the show has 250 exhibitors which include Avery Dennison, Bobst, Esko, HP, Hyden Packaging, Martin Automatic, Monotech Systems, Nilpeter, OMET, RK Label, Xeikon, and Zhejiang Weigang Machinery. The last labelexpo India in 2016 saw over 8000 visitors.

Brand Innovation Day: Labelexpo India 2018 hosted “Brand Innovation Day” will take place on the afternoon of Thursday 22 November (Day 1 of the show). It will include a series of presentations followed by a short tour of key suppliers, highlighting the latest technologies and showing how brands can achieve stand-out product presence. About 50 brand owners and packaging designers in India are expected to attend. The purpose of the program is to equip delegates with expert insight into making the most out of their brand, how they can overcome key challenges on the path to future growth and staying ahead of competition in a fast-paced industry. 

Labelexpo Global Series managing director Lisa Milburn, who will open the Brand Innovation Day, said: “Our most commonly asked question at Labelexpo India is how brands can learn how to use their labels and packaging to stand out from the competition. Given the success and popularity of our educational program for our other Labelexpo events including our Americas show in held in last September, we wanted to provide similar opportunities for Labelexpo India attendees. The appetite for labels and package printing continues undiminished in India and it is now one of the biggest growth markets, so it felt the right moment to offer this educational opportunity to brand owners and packaging designers at the show itself. “The Brand Innovation Day” is a rare chance for them to gain industry insights into how a brand can be inspired to innovate, experience the highlights of Labelexpo India 2018, and learn the tricks of the trade from the experts.”

The Labelexpo India Brand Innovation Day is sponsored by HP, Avery Dennison and SMI.
The above article is written and compiled by Harveer Sahni, Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi India, October 2018

The Indian operations of privately owned and Chandan Khanna lead Ajanta Packaging has been acquired by Mumbai headquartered Huhtamaki-PPL. Ajanta packaging has been a leading provider of labels with units at multiple locations. They have factories at Daman and Baddi.

Huhtamaki-PPL Ltd. or HPPL (Previously known as Paper Products Limited) is a Rupees 2200 Crores flexible packaging company in India and is listed on the Indian stock Exchanges since more than 50 years.

They are providers of flexible packaging, labels, tube laminate webs, thermo formable laminates, promotional materials, and gravure cylinders. The parent company Huhtamaki OYJ is a NASDAQ listed packaging company with a turnover exceeding 3 Billion Euros. 

In November 2012, they acquired Amar Chhajed lead Webtech labels and with this move they became market leaders also in the label segment besides Shrink Sleeves, Wrap Around and Wet Strength Labels as well as IML making it the only true and complete Labeling solutions provider in the country. Amar Chhajed now heads all the labeling businesses of Huhtamaki-PPL as President.HPPL has entered into a business Transfer Agreement for acquisition of the business of Ajanta Packaging India as a slump sale at an enterprise valuation of Rupees 1003 million, on a cash free debt free basis.

The merger will enable customers to get benefits of new technologies and stronger innovation capability. This partnership will further consolidate HPPL’s position of being the leader in labeling market in India.

Chandan Khanna says, “this move will make the label market in India to grow in a healthy way. The expanded market reach and size of HPPL will help them serve the customers better with further enhancement on service quality. Moreover the enhanced capabilities will help them offer superior and innovative products.”

Reported by Harveer Sahni, Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi March 2018.

In view of the epidemic Corona Virus, LMAI has decided to postpone this Digital Printing event that was to be held in Mumbai on the 16th of March 2020.
It is so unfortunate that immense effort had gone in preparation but for a humanitarian cause it was needed to take precaution. The way Corona Virus is spreading LMAI is compelled to react with compassion to their member’s concerns about health, well being and safety. The next date fixed for the event at the same venue is 3rd July 2020.

Label Manufacturers Association of India “LMAI” is the representative body of Indian label industry and continues to organize knowledge and networking opportunities for the benefit of its members.

As label printing and converting is in an evolutionary phase of adopting digital printing while still growing with analogue, “LMAI” is pleased to organize 2nd edition of their event titled “DIGITAL PRINTING IN LABELS – THE WAY FORWARD”. Primarily, the event is meant for the benefit of Ordinary Members of LMAI i.e. printer members only.

The first edition of this highly successful program was held at ITC Welcome Hotel Chennai in December 2019.

Globally recognized leaders in the field of digital label printing presses will be making presentations on different technologies offered by them.

The Presenters/Main Sponsors are as below:

Dry Toner Digital: Konica Minolta
Liquid Toner Digital: HP
UV Inkjet Digital: Domino Printech and Durst Phototechnik

Vinsak-Digital Finishing

Support sponsors without speaking slot:

Avery Dennison
SMI Coated Products

Special invitees include;

  •   Nitin Nair– Associate Vice President – Packaging Development at Godrej Consumer Products Ltd.
  •  Sridhar J -Head Packaging Development at Marico Limited
  •  Reetika Parashar– Lead Packaging development Proctor and Gamble
  •  Sukhdev Singh Saini– Packaging Lead Colgate Palmolive

The program is open, on first come first basis, to attend free of charge by printer members of LMAI to impart to them knowledge of different digital printing technologies largely available.
The seminar will be held in the evening of March 16th, 2020 followed by Dinner and Cocktails at ITC Maratha Mumbai. Non-member label printers are requested and invited to become members of LMAI and attend this prestigious LMAI event and other programs organized by the association.
For registration please contact;
Manish M. Panchal(Admin Secretary)Label Manufacturers Association of IndiaA-418, Mayuresh Trade Center,Plot no: 04, sector-19, Vashi Turbhe Road,Vashi, Navi Mumbai: 400 703Ph No: 8097333995Web: 

On 9th of December 2017, Label Manufacturers Association of India (LMAI) conducted a “Technical workshop and networking session” at hotel The Lalit, Chandigarh. It was a very successful event attended by almost 100 delegates giving credibility to LMAI’s efforts to extend its membership to smaller towns that are now attracting investment in production of labels.

The event besides delivering knowledge provided opportunity to printers to join the mainstream association with a platform to interact and network with their peers in the industry. The event was sponsored by Avery Dennison India Private Ltd., SMI Coated Products Pvt. Ltd., Flint Group, NBG Printographic Machinery Co. Pvt. Ltd., Provin Technos Pvt Ltd. and HP Inc. and offered an opportunity to them for making presentations to new entrants in nascent areas.

The evening’s first presentation was made by Ankur Joshi Product Manager of Provin Technos Pvt. Ltd. He explained in detail about the Miyakoshi presses offered by them. This was followed by a very thought provoking session by Bhupinder Singh of Avery Dennison. He initially explained how Avery partnered with printers to offer the PS Label solutions engineered to their specific needs.

He then spoke on ground realities and effects of competition in the label industry with emphasis on the imperative need to innovate and decorate their product adding value to the end product such that even if the margin in terms of percentage wise remains the same the quantum of profit gets bigger due to higher value of the end product. He also gave a comparison of PS labels to wet glue and suggested ways to motivate wet glue customers to switch over to PS labels. Shamim Alam of HP Indigo impressed upon the need for change in the label industry to achieve growth. He presented case studies in personalization with digital to achieve success and dwelled on possibilities by going digital. Harshal Mahajan of SMI Coated Products Pvt. Ltd. made a presentation to educate printers on the right selection of face paper, adhesive and liner. He also spoke on the effects of weather, ambient temperature, storage condition and service temperature on labels and label materials. Sailesh Sharma of Flint informed the gathering about upcoming trends in inks. He also explained the negative effects of migration and Flint’s support to customers for low migration printing and converting. He also spoke of Good Manufacturing Practices and benefits of LED UV inks offered by them. Finally Nitin Garg and Kishore of NBG Printographics presented details of the new indigenous full servo flexo press developed and offered by them.

LMAI President Kuldip Goel in his short speech impressed upon printers to invest in capabilities to innovate and create value in their products to attain continued growth. Harveer Sahni, on behalf of LMAI spoke on the path traversed by LMAI, benefits of its membership and the programs conducted by it. LMAI was established 15 years ago by a small group of printers and the association has thereafter grown to over 350 members. LMAI is recognized by global entities like Tarsus, FINAT and TLMI.

It s also a part of L9, a global alliance of world’s leading nine label associations. LMAI organizes technical and networking sessions across various geographical zones of India. These include programs on cost restructuring, GST training and other important issues. Their annual conference has become a must attend event for the label industry. LMAI has partnered with Tarsus and extended their support to Labelexpo India. On the sidelines of next Labelexpo, LMAI will be hosting the LMAI label awards gala evening and the L9 meet where printer members from these global associations are expected to attend and network with Indian printers. LMAI also successfully publish their magazine, “Label Legacy”. The next LMAI Technical Workshop and networking meet is planned to be held early next year in Chennai.

In conclusion Rajesh Nema honorary secretary LMAI thanked the delegates for their presence and also acknowledged the hard work put in and support given by local printer members Aditya Kashyap and Vishal Vohra in organizing this successful event.  The evening ended with networking over cocktails and dinner.

Label Manufacturers Association of India

A-418, Mayuresh Trade Center,Plot no: 04, sector-19, Vashi Turbhe Road,Vashi, Navi mumbai: 400 703

Mob : 08097333995


Posted on behalf of LMAI by Harveer Sahni December 2017

This is the final part of History of Indian Label Industry” up to third quarter of 2019 written by the author. The history would look incomplete if mention was not made of those who started their label journey from scratch or very humble beginning and then rose to a pinnacle achieving success not only in the home market but also internationally and continue with their journey to greater heights.

From the start of new Millennium in 2000 until the time of writing this part of the history, enormous changes have come about in the Indian label industry. Label printing companies who started from virtually nothing, grew and spread to multiple locations. Some of the bigger ones on the way, decided to sell out to or partnered with foreign companies who were entering the Indian market for label manufacturing. Label, being a miniscule portion of the total packaging cost of a product, does not deliver very large turnover as compared to that of package printing or flexible packaging companies.

However, it does generate relatively higher profit margins than that of high turnover package printing industry. For this reason, we did not see any label companies in the earlier part of the new Millennium who could reach a coveted target of Rupees 100 Crore or a Billion Rupees as annual sales turnover. However, some packaging companies or multinationals who invested in labels as well, were above this figure. It was incredible that at least three Indian startup companies who started their business purely with stickers that later evolved as labels, grew to cross Rupees 100 Crores turnover or more in 2018-2019.

First among them is Manish Desai led Mudrika Labels. Sandeep Desai working at a greeting cards company started trading in stickers that he outsourced in 1975 and a year later he started screen printing them at home. His 10-year-old cousin, Manish was always excited to see stickers being made. In 1977 Sandeep moved his sticker manufacturing to a 500 square feet factory in Malad.

In 1985 they started outsourcing pregummed sheets and get them printed on offset to finally finish them to be stickers at their factory. They grew and expanded into packaging, making cartons and corrugated boxes. Sandeep eventually moved into packaging and the young Manish who had labels in his heart, in 1996 expanded into labels with Kopack label presses and later many Gallus presses. He further expanded integrating backwards to produce self-adhesive labelstocks and collaborated with a Korean company to produce heat transfer labels. By 2019 Mudrika labels were working out of 100,000 square foot shop floor, 550 workforce to achieve a Rupees 160 Crore (1.60 Billion Rupees) annual sales turnover.

The second person to achieve this Kuldip Goel of Any Graphics started from very humble beginnings. At a tender age of 14 years he started making stickers by screen printing manually himself to earn some money while still in school. He did this in his one room home. Despite extreme hardships in life he remained honest and focussed on providing the best in quality and indulging in innovation. In 1989 he started his maiden venture Stickline in Noida. By start of the millennium Kuldip’s company Any Graphics was recognised as one of the best label manufacturers in quality and one that never cut prices to get orders but prove their innovative capabilities to convince customers. From mere screen printing he went on to add dome labels and letterpress printed labels in his portfolio. In 2009 he moved to a 100,000 square feet clean sanitized dust free factory adding, Heidelberg Offset Presses, Orthotecs and a fully loaded Omet flexo and screen combination label press. He also became one of the largest makers of rigid boxes.

By 2019 he had crossed the Rupees 100Crore sale without compromising profit margins and becoming one of the most awarded companies in India. In 2019 he commenced construction of a certified green factory spread over 15000 square meter plot size and 250,000 square feet shop floor.

 The third printer who grew in similar pattern, a stout follower of Lord Shiva who greets people with, “Jai Bhole Ki” (Victory to Lord Shiva, lovingly referred to as Bhole) Sanjeev Sondhi, started his career as a medical Representative and carried on in the profession switching jobs until 2005 when he decided to trade in Barcode labels, printers and accessories.

He was looking for bigger things in life! Two years later in 2006 he launched his maiden start-up venture Zircon Technologies India Limited with a Mark Andy 2200 Label press in Dehradun. Being a salesperson himself he drove the company in fast mode expansion and in a few years added multiple Mark Andy and Omet label presses which include the high-end combination Omet Vary flex 430mm. In just 15 years of inception Zircon crossed the Rupees 100 Crore reaching 120 Crores annual turnover mark coming purely from label manufacturing, “a record in itself”! While other successful label companies at this stage would look for foreign suitors, Zircon in 2019 was the first totally indigenous label manufacturing company planning to go public to raise capital for future expansion. They got the approval from SEBI in November 2018 with plans to open a 90-100 Crores public issue. Waiting for an appropriate time to launch their public issue Zircon continued to grow and invest in expansion. Sanjeev hoped to invest 80 percent of the receipts in expanding labels business while the rest in other allied products. Sanjeev was even looking at inorganic growth by indulging in Mergers and Acquisitions. With 3 factories in Dehradun and one in Chennai Sanjeev Sondhi aims to grow multi-fold with blessing of Bhole (Lord Shiva).

Having achieved such success through sheer commitment and hard work it is natural for companies like the three mentioned above to look at other avenues in synergy with their business to achieve a faster growth. All the above, while they continued to be proud of their beginnings and aware of the evolution, started to study or invest in new technologies. 

 We had reached a time when multiple labelling technologies surfaced, and future had many surprises in store. From the primitive times when a label had to be either tied to a product or riveted on to it or affixed with a wheat flour paste, we believed to have reached a pinnacle when self-adhesive or pressure sensitive adhesive labels that were developed and grew to establish as a predominant labelling technology. Initially it was the manually applied wet glue adhesive paper labels that were in use. With development of starch and dextrin-based glues and availability of automatic wet glue labelling equipment, wet glue labels became the most widely used method of labelling. Most of the organised industry employed packaging lines incorporating wet glue labelling. It was used in all segments like pharmaceuticals, Liquor, cosmetics, oils and in fact most of the products that were packed in glass bottles or metal cans. When plastics, mostly HDPE (High Density Polyethylene), started to evolve as a preferred packaging material for glass bottles and cans due to ease of manufacturing, reduction of freight due to lighter weight per can, possibility to produce in different shapes and colours, labelling with starch or dextrin based adhesive became a challenge. This change was taking place during the 1970s and 1980s. Since HDPE is a low energy material, paper labels with water-based adhesives made from various gums, starches and dextrins would not anchor on to the containers or would fall off in transit. Labels with pressure sensitive adhesives or stickers had already started being made initially by screen printing methods and later by offset printing, these labels would stick well just by application of pressure. They did not have to wait for drying and could be packed instantly after labelling while the wet glue labels would have adhesives oozing out on the sides and attracting dust and shifting in packing process, adversely affecting the aesthetics. More and more companies were opting for these stickers.

Towards the end of last century self-adhesive labels evolved in roll form and the automatic labelling equipment for pressure sensitive adhesive labels became available. Many companies did resist shifting from wet glue to self-adhesive due to the high cost of label applicator replacements.

This is a big challenge that the likes of printers mentioned above faced and yet with their firm resolve they became a part of the change that brought them success. As the retail became dependent on customer choices and there was need for better decorated labels, self-adhesive labels became the preferred labelling technology and grew at fast pace. In between screen printing on containers also started but a slow process that did not have much decoration as compared to printed labels, it did not grow as a preferred process. Self-adhesive grew so much that it became almost 50% of all the labels produced in India. As we entered the new millennium and started looking also into future the thought process for future of labels is becoming extremely diverse and evolving in different tangents. Shrink sleeves came in to take away a big market share given the possibility of 360 degrees visibility. Wrap around labels also became extensively used in the beverage segment. Heat transfer label technology that had originated as Therimage Label technology developed by Dennison Manufacturing company in USA in the 1990s did not flourish then because Avery, who acquired Dennison, did not promote it as it was not in sync with their core business of self-adhesive labels. Once the patents expired, the Heat Transfer Labels or HTL reappeared in the second decade of new millennium and started growing. In mould labels is another labelling technology that had found usage in many segments and started registering growth in large volume usage. At this time, I try and link the changes to the three above who understood the need to expand the scope of labels in their business portfolio. While Mudrika as I mentioned invested in heat transfer labels, Any Graphics into innovative labels and rigid boxes and Zircon also started moving into brand security and innovative packaging including spiral wound containers.

Around this time environmental concerns also impacted the self-adhesive label industry as almost 50% of the converted product is waste going to landfills. Much work was being done on this to reduce the liner tonnage by opting for thinner filmic liners that can be recycled and by developing linerless labels.

Digital printing on to the products is another technology that may replace some of the usage of self-adhesive labels. All said and done, the sheer market size in India and the inertia, brings business to all label technologies and for this reason the self-adhesive labels market continued to grow at double digit rates. The industry will keep evolving both in terms of quality and innovation as also taking environmental concerns in its stride.

In over a year, as another decade ends, the author will update the history on the outcome of such endeavours. The total History as chronicled by the author until now is now available on this blog on links as below:
Part 1: 2A: 2B: 2C: 2 D: Above
Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi July/September 2019
Note: No one is authorised to reproduce, copy or reprint this article until permitted by the author in writing. 

Most successful people in life have yearnings of pursuing their passions that are completely unconnected to their successful careers. Silently they nurture the hope and wish, that one day they can retire and indulge in what they wish to do in time which becomes their own. However the mad rush for being one up in life, pressures of modern day business and family needs takes one to a point of time where either the health gives in or one is too old with no energy to indulge. Rarely do you find a person achieve the fulfilment of pursuing his or her heart’s desires. “Life is too short”, time just moves on and before we know, it is too late in life do what one wished to do.  I am reminded of a dear friend Mohan Kini, who was like a father to me. He had an illustrious career as a professional working for large business houses.

Being extremely fond of vocal Indian classical music, he would turn on his music system each evening and listen to maestros of their times. He, at times would hum along and somewhere deep within him, he carried a strong desire to learn the raga’s (Indian Classical music) and sing. Then came the day when he retired. Within weeks of his retirement he started to take lessons and enjoy doing what he had wanted to do for long years, “sing by self and not hum long”. I was amazed to see how quickly he picked up and was singing extremely well. I was sure he will soon start giving performances. However God has his ways, tragedy struck and my friend suffered a massive heart attack and could not even reach the hospital.  

Personally I have always wanted to pursue my passion for cooking and writing, I have been fortunate that now my sons are taking up the bulk of the business responsibilities I have more time on my hand and so can write. This blog is a result of pursuing my heart’s desire to write and express myself and then spending time in Kitchen gives me the satisfaction of creating new dishes. In my younger days I used to spend hours in laboratory creating diverse products like inks, adhesive, cosmetics, label and coated products. I find a striking similarity between a laboratory and a kitchen with the kitchen slab and the spices lined up like chemicals in the laboratory making your imagination run wildly towards creativity. Adding a little spice to this article, I reproduce pictures of a dish made by me recently.

 There are nights when I get up in the middle of the night and start thinking what I have to write or what new dish to create. This is the reason that my family says, I can make a different egg dish 365 days a year. The following day starting with the morning is always the nearest time to try out a new dish imagined in the preceding night. In my time spent in the label industry I have come across some amazing personalities who even in retirement continue to excel and deliver value to the society and also draw pleasure. They are inspirational and watching them makes you to realise that life does not end at retirement but starts all over in a more pleasurable direction if you pursue your passions.

Helmut Schreiner retired as Chairman of Germany’s leading label company Schreiner Group a few years ago handing over the reigns of the group to his son Ronald Schreiner. I wrote about him on this blog: In the closing paragraph I wrote, “Having more time on his hands, Helmut founded a new company “Schreiner Innovation GmbH & Co. KG”. Here he is interested in developing partnerships with other companies as well as dealing real estate. He is also now devoting a substantial part of his time to social activities and charities. He lives his philosophy, to be honest, true to himself and to his people and this has evolved from personal experiences in his life. His philosophy for his company and his people has been clear and value oriented. The values were innovation, quality, performance and joy! This clear positioning was always the bases for his personal happiness and business success.”  A year later I was surprised to note that Helmut had started to pursue yet another passion of his life and that is poetry. I found it an extremely pleasurable expression of time being spent in retirement. So I decided to share this with the print fraternity, it is available at ; . This January he sent to me a beautiful new year’s greeting card along with an amazing book titled, “Reflections, Recognition Rhyme” a compilation of his poetry that is deliverance of his passionate expression! He continues with his social works towards community service and draw pleasure in finding a wonder outlet for his emotions through poetry.

Sandeep Lal: I wrote about him on this blog many times since 2009, he and his family migrated from Allahabad in India to Toronto, Canada in 1972. He set up a very successful Metro label and eventually sold it to Tapp Labels to pursue life in other avenues. For his parents this would be their second migration, the first one being from western Punjab (now in Pakistan) to India post partition of India in 1947. They had moved with their family to Canada to provide a better life for future generations. Sandeep’s children as they grew up chose to pursue interests outside the business.

Sandeep realized that he no longer had the passion for business that he had worked in for most of his life and it was best to find an ownership that had the required energy and a new focus. In July 2015 Sandeep sold Metro Label’s assets to Tapp Label. Tapp was approximately half the size of Metro Label, but had deep pockets and were a financially sound private investor. 

Funny how things work! Sandeep’s parents took the family to Canada for a better life, the one they found in spades. When success was in there in full measure, in 2003 Sandeep’s youngest sibling Raideep left Metro Label to seek his own dream and relocated to Boquete, Panama.  Boquete is 1000 metres above sea level in the mountains near Costa Rica and about 75km from the Pacific Ocean. Raideep acquired a large parcel of land to build a golf course with a residential development around it. Sandeep and Metro Label subsequently invested in this development. Raideep’s early demise at the young age of 44 in 2010 left the leadership of the golf course in Sandeep’s hands.

So what does one do after retiring from 43 years of hard work in a very successful label business? Enjoy life a little more, have more time for family, grand children and maybe even travel. Sometimes all of those! However Sandeep accepted the challenge of managing and growing Lucero Homes and Lucero Golf and Country Club ( ) in the country of Panama. He commutes between Toronto where he lives and Boquete, Panama.  His work included completing the last 9 holes of the Golf Course, revising the development Master plan to add more density and planting almost 400,000 coffee plants on their land to become the third largest Coffee grower in Panama. Lucero Golf and Country Club was recently ranked the Best Golf Course in Panama. He is contemplating building a luxury hotel and Spa which will be supported by fruits and vegetable from their land. He talks about how different life is. He is running a development which includes “Seasons” a 110 cover restaurant, hotel rooms, home and condominium apartment construction, coffee plants and fruits trees a large nursery to grow vegetable and flowering plants for the development,  along with the golf course and tennis courts. Sandeep said that he was surprised to discover that many skills which he acquired in running Metro Label are coming in handy. He said that the business is still about managing people, implementing financial controls and reporting protocols, creating and implementing policies and procedure. Having clear goals and expectations and communicating them to the team and ensuring they are motivated to perform. He is using all these skills which he acquired in his career at Metro Label to run Lucero and hoping very soon to have a lot more leisure time with family and friends.

Kurt Walker, past president of FINAT, after graduating from university, entered the printing industry where he held various positions in sales and marketing. In 1988 he joined the label industry. He continued to be in the industry until his retirement in 2012, as chief executive officer (CEO) of Tesa Bandfix in Switzerland. He became a member of the FINAT board in 1999 and also served as vice-president of membership committee and treasurer. FINAT is the worldwide association for the self-adhesive labeling industry. Kurt became the President of FINAT in 2011.  During his tenure he supported and edeavoured to bring the global label fraternity together by supporting L7 now known as L9, an alliance of label associations in different countries. He was also instrumental in furthering the success of Young Managers Club in FINAT. Now retired, Kurt expresses himself as below;

“After 25 years as the CEO of tesa-Bandfix in Switzerland I retired in 2012. My expectations of retirement were quite different from the reality. I and my wife have become extensive travellers and spend somewhat like 50% of our time away from home. During the cold winter period we usually stay in the south of Africa, which has virtually become our second home. I am still involved in FINAT as president emeritus in the executive board and the organizing committee for the annual European Label Forum. This keeps me in the label family, from which I benefited so much in my life. In my free time I play tennis and golf with friends and visit art exhibitions and music events. Keeping in touch with all the friends in the whole world will be one of my challenges for the future and I hope to maintain all these wonderful contacts.”

Honey Vazirani: A wonderful person, I met Honey the first time in 1989 while she was working at Paper Products Limited (Now Huhtamaki-PPL), Thane (Mumbai). That was the beginning of this girl’s journey into the world of labels. From being a management trainee in 1989, she rose to be the head of the labelling division of the company that specialises in flexible packaging. Vazirani‘s has been a decorative, colourful journey. Since then, she had been at the forefront of PPL’s foray into the production of labels which began in 1991. Her job involved client servicing, marketing, product development and leading the labels team at PPL.

She handled customers who are the who’s who of the FMCG sector. This included key customers like Unilever and Dabur and bringing to them the most premium and modern labelling technologies. In the words of Torsten Jung Lenz, who in those days worked for Jacstadt Germany, “Honey Vazirani is married to labels!” Having spent over 20 years in the industry, she took a sabbatical in 2009. She spent a whole year rejuvenating herself by travelling, reading, spending time with friends and relatives and enjoying good food. Yes, she is a self confessed foodie! This is something she and I have in common, love for labels and indulgence in food. In 2010 she returned to Huhtamaki-PPL to head the company’s HR department. A couple of years later she again quit the job to pursue her passions. She says, “I had an exciting 20yrs with PPL, nurturing the Labelling business and being nurtured for leadership roles within the group. When I finally decided to venture out of PPL, it was to find something even more meaningful and fulfilling in a more basic sense. I hope to get back to something that I would feel wonderful doing; it could well be something totally different like running a small dhaba (Roadside food shack) in the Himalayas or it could be back to Labelling again!

Suzanne Zaccone based in Illinois USA, is a cancer survivor two times over! In 1985 she and her brother Bob Zaccone, founded GSI Technologies to produce prime labels, anti-counterfeit labels and polycarbonate overlays. GSI is now recognized as a world leader in emerging technology, producing advanced functional printed products including strips to measure glucose for diabetics, electroluminescent lamps, smart card displays, sensors and automotive circuits. She served as TLMI’s first female chairman/president from 1998 to 2000.  In an eventful life and career she has set example for other women in the label industry. She helps young people in the medical field and other business areas. Suzanne has been president of the board of directors to the DiTrolio Flexographic Institute since 2000. After beating breast cancer in 2009 she published her book in the year 2010, “A Random Interruption: Surviving Breast Cancer with Laughter, Vodka, Smoothies and an Attitude” She is the first female recipient of R. Stanton Avery Lifetime Achievement Award which was conferred to her in 2014 as a part of Label industry GlobalAwards

In her response to me on her retirement she says, “Retirement, for me has been quite busy. Some time is spent volunteering at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, sitting on three boards, reading as much as possible, relaxing at our lake house which is next door to Bob’s lake house and catching up with friends and family. I also was visited by breast cancer, twice, a combined total of five years, and the first bout resulted in a book; A Random Interruption Surviving Breast Cancer with Laughter, Vodka, Smoothies and an Attitude. One hundred percent of all sales benefit The University of Chicago Cancer Research Foundation where we sponsor a fellow for one year of schooling in that facility. After the book was published I found myself speaking to women and their families as they navigate through the process back to health. It has been extremely rewarding and in some cases terribly sad. Last year our family foundation opened up a cancer centre in the name of my surgeon and a holistic centre in the name of our family. The universe presents all of us with complete surprises and awesome possibilities and the wheel is always turning even if we wish it to remain still. Each day for me is different – much like when we ran our business. So I get out of bed and work very hard to engage with that day’s plot line. I make an effort to eat healthy, balance my emotions through meditation or maybe for me it is better called daydreaming, I quit smoking cigarettes, continue to attend endless meetings at hospital boards, a nap sometimes finds its way into a day here and there and 5:00 cocktails! I make sure to add a few goals that add meaning to my life and activities that provide pleasure. In this way, I affirm life and pray that my body gets the message. I want to surprise myself by not only surviving, but discovering new ways to enjoy the fact that I did survive. I’ve yet to find the joy of exercise but I am working on that. I continue to bite off more than I can chew, and I still chew it! And finally, I miss all of you in label land.”  An interesting line in her signature in her emails reads “I spent the first 50 years of my life seeking success and I will now spend the next 50 years seeking significance. – Suzanne Zaccone”
Three of the persons covered by me in this article are recipients of the R Stanton Life Time Achievement Award. It is interesting that instead of becoming recluse in retirement all of those covered by me are vibrant and active. They continue to give back to the society while still making life more significant for them self. They draw satisfaction in their work in retirement and set example for others to enjoy life in pursuing their passions!
Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi India January 2017Publications and magazines are free to reproduce this article by giving credit to author.

An edited version of this article was published on line by Printweek India 
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Presentation at St. Moritz, Switzerland in September 2003 as a part of the Cham Paper mills Pressure Sensitive Symposium. Now reproduced!

India is an exciting country full of diversity. The culture, language, religion, food, colour, weather/environment, etc. changes as you travel through the different states from Kashmir in the North to Tamilnadu in South or for that from Maharashtra in the west to Kolkata in the East. A country with 1 billion and 27 million people is now becoming the hunting ground of the marketing people worldwide.

The shear size of the market is attractive, though the urban population is almost 28% of the total population, but the growth rate of 31.2% in the no. of people in urban areas compared to the 17.9%in rural India, points towards a growing middle class and a huge potential market. Self-adhesive labels is a market that is now looking up and registering growth from the impact of this urbanization and consumer awareness due to the efforts of the marketing men, whether they are from Indian companies or from the multinationals. Selling consumer products by individual shopkeepers over the counter used to be the most widely employed method of selling till a couple of years ago. While it is still the predominant method yet the more global style of relating through self-service departmental stores is making retailing a fashion statement with marketers and consumers. This new trend has brought in a whole new demand on to the labels industry. Gone are the days when only esthetics was the criteria for finding a place on the shelves. Today a label has to perform in imparting good looks, last till the life of the product, give information and to top it all has to have variable information’s in terms of barcodes to facilitate selling, accounting, inventory controls, etc. This and many such trends have brought a surge of demand to the Indian label industry while it is difficult to dwell on all aspects which are bringing bigger volumes yet it will not be out of place to mention that a major demand is also arising from organised manufacturers practices where labels with a limited life span lasting only on shop floors are used. They help in assembly, inventory control, security, identification etc. People are coming forward with demands for new types of label applications that were unheard of in this country. The growth in this market has now prompted the label printers to get together and from the label printers association to look into matters relating to them. The Government of India trade policy reforms, provide an export friendly environment, with simplified procedures. Focus is on liberalisation, openness, transparency, globalization, moving away from restrictions and improving competitiveness to meet the global market requirements. All this has resulted in bringing in a whole lot of foreign direct investment in industry and infrastructure. Needless to say we now find international self-adhesive labelstock manufacturers like Avery Dennison setting up shop here. Raflatac did make a foray by selling through a distributor but the arrangement was terminated due to total reliance on imports. However still according to Mr. Kerri Palli of Raflatac whom I was talking to at Labelexpo-Brussels, “India is very much on our mind and will be our next stop to set up a manufacturing base”. Jacstaadt also had plans, Torsten JungLenz, their sales director, has a lot of friends in the Indian label industry. Now with Avery having acquired Jac, the market equation stands changed.

Indian market for self-adhesive labels initially was concentrated in Mumbai and it is thus that we find highest number of label printers and labelstock manufacturers there. Majority of self adhesive labels in the earlier days were the product of the screen printing Industry. Screen printers would print plain paper apply glue on the back, dry it, place the release liner and then die-cut. Then the offset printers moved in and with that came the demand for labelstock in sheets. Many of these printers installed narrow web label presses and soon the way self adhesive labels were made started to change.

Though the narrow web label industry has spread out to Ahmedabad, Pune, Vapi, Daman and other nearby areas but the biggest concentration still remains in Mumbai. This is attributed to the growth of large industrial base there due to proximity to the port. Growth spread to other areas, north India, due to its proximity to central government, has become a high growth centre. Setting up of facilities like Internal container depot, handling international cargo and custom clearance, made many multinationals and industrial groups set up industrial enterprises in this region. In my runup to writing this article this article I had sent a questionnaire to many label printers, label stock manufacturers, silicone coaters, adhesive manufacturers etc. Although, all did not reply, yet whatever replies I could get made interesting reading and I would like to share with you in these articles.

Market sizes and growth
In my effort to arrive at a relatively accurate figure on the size of the market, I asked this question but none of the respondents could give any conclusive data. Infact a couple of people who attempted, were way off the mark so I decided to make my own study. According to Mr.Praveen Shankar of Jubilant Organosys (formerly Vam Organics) the total market of water based PSA for label application in India is 5000 tons per annum. “Silicone consumption for paper release application in India is to the time of 300-350 tons per annum,” says Dipankar Dutta of Wacker Metroark. Based on my knowledge as a labelstock and release liner manufacturer I arrived at a figure, which correlates, to both the above figures. The production of labelstock by indigenous manufacturers is between 125-140 million square meters. This does not include the products offered or sold by Avery, Jac or Raflatac or those imported into the country. To my estimate additional 50% of the above quantity comes in imports in shapes of raw material, finished goods or stock lots so I estimate the present demand in India to the time of 200 million square meters most of which is paper stock and does not include tapes or other self adhesive materials. With this I arrive at a usage of less than a quarter square meter of per capita usage. Compare this with 12 square meters in USA, 8 in Europe, 7 in Japan, less than 1 square meters in rest of Asia. Most of the respondents suggested growth rate projections between 10-20% however personally I would rate it much higher. I refer to the “Asia Label Market briefing“ by Mike Fairley and published by Labels and Labelling, wherein it is given that self-adhesive market in India in 1999 was 65 million square meters. I take this as indigenous production and compare it to the figure I arrived at 125 million square meters, which means a growth rate of 40%. When looking at area wise usage the general views are that Western India leads followed by North, South and East in that order. However highest growth rate in terms of percentage seems to coming from North but due to the larger size of the market, bigger volumes still come from the west. The North Indian market is registering a fast growth owing to the fact that, National capital region Delhi and surrounding towns is the most urbanised area with 93% urbanisation followed by Chandigarh at 89.8%.

India has been a predominantly paper labels market. Recent trends and demands by innovative label designers has brought with it, demand for better and different face materials, whether paper or filmic. Higher converting speeds, newer printing methods, need for variable information printing and sensing of the printed data and other such requirements have forced labelstock producers to offer better face materials especially suited for required applications. Filmic stocks are picking up in demand. Today filmic stocks are less than 10% of the total labelstock usage but in terms of percentage higher growth rate are coming from this segment however due to the sheer size of the paper label segment the growth volume will remain much bigger in paper.

Water based emulsion adhesives are the most widely used adhesives in the Indian self-adhesive labels industry. Almost all the new capacities that are being created employ water based emulsion PSA. Solvent borne acrylics and rubber resin adhesive are only a miniscule portion of the industry. However the underdog is hotmelt adhesive. Indian label printers are taking a fancy for this. Prasad Accumeter and Stay on Papers in Hyderabad, and Interlabels in Mumbai must be given credit for contributing to the growth of labelstocks with hotmelt adhesives. Newer capacities in hotmelt segment are being added. Two new Nordson hotmelt coaters have arrived one for Millenium papers, Chennai and one for Weldon Celloplast Ltd. in New Delhi. Most of the Indian Labelstock manufacturers employ locally made coaters to coat water based adhesives however a few exceptions like Kedia Lamicoats at Silvasa have installed a used Windmoeller and Holsher coater.

Solvent based tin catalyst silicone systems have been the most widely used and accepted silicone coatings. With installation of faster converting rotary label presses and to remain competitive printers wishing to drive volumes, the need for better release coatings became imperative. Metroark Ltd. which is now known as Wacker Metroark was the sole supplier in earlier days so the scope for development was limited. Then with the advent of liberalisation came the other players like GE and Rhodia. Soon a pleasant change has started to descend the silicon liner market. GE and Rhodia had their technical men visiting the leading coaters and advising them to improvise and use their existing machines to coat newer technology. Today thermal curing solvented and solventless platinum catalyst silicone system are being used by a a few coaters in India. However UV curing and electron beam curing systems have not even been considered so far. Faster label dispensing and applications is putting pressure on more and more label printers to opt for the advanced silicon chemistries on the release liners. In terms of substrates used for siliconising, glassine remains the most preferred one. However cheap stock lots of SCK tempt may converters to use it. It is interesting to note that some top of the line converters of computer labels in A4 format are specifically demanding SCK and CCK liners for this application because of their lay flat properties and non slip feeding into the printers. Notably amongst these printers are R.K Papers at Mumbai and Rational Business Corporation at Delhi. Filmic liners are now also being experimented and used in certain products.

Printing Technique :-Flatbed, letter press printing remains the most widely employed printing technology. This is mostly due to the lower cost and local availability of dies as compared to expensive and imported rotary dies. Progressive and dynamic printing companies are now opting for newer, faster rotary flexo label presses as also semi rotary letter press machines with a variety of option like UV curing, laminating and hot foil stamping stations Machines like Nilpeter, Gallus, Aquaflex, MarkAndy, Iwasaki, Kopack, Comco, Orthotec, Focus, Arsoma etc have found their way into many label printing units. Though highest capital investment is in the West, with concentration in Mumbai, the highest growth in terms of percentage is coming from the North, South comes third with Eastern sector trailing. To my knowledge in recent years Amit Sheth of Sheth Graphics has successfully sold atleast three Orthotec machines in Calcutta. Other than this the Eastern market relies on screen or offset printers for self-adhesive labels. I am not aware of any additional capacities in label printing created the last couple of years in this area.

Almost all the respondents to my questionnaire feel there is no slow down in the label industry. They all foresee a bright future for the Industry. Entry of Multinationals like Avery, who are now omni-present in the industry is welcomed by printers as they feel that they will make the market grow and develop in quality. What is surprising is that other labelstock manufacturers share this view. Infact most of the respondents in the industry feel the presence of multinationals is good news however they are all optimistic that the multinational labelstock manufacturers will not enter into label printing. It shows an underlying fear, given the fact that Avery markets labels and other finished labels worldwide.
Apart from the normal growth it appears there will be a marked shift from wet-glue labels to the self-adhesive labels. Mr. Ravindran of Seljegat in Sivakasi is optimistic and happy that the liquor industry has started its shift towards self-adhesive labels this will be a major chunk adding to the usage of self-adhesive labels in India.
Without mentioning the development being made by manufacturers of label presses in India this study would be incomplete. Pioneering work is being done by many, I would like to mention the achievement of Baldev Singh Jandu of Jandu Engineering who has now over eighteen fully rotary label presses in operation and has orders worth another six in hand. This is incredible! All machine are flexo rotary. A word of caution comes from all against the free inflow of B grade materials and stock lots into the country. In words of Pranay Goda of Kaygee Papers, it is the biggest threat facing the industry, label printers and suppliers should form an association, educate end users and set standards.
Time has come when more and more constituents of this industry are coming forward for the growth of the industry. Formation of label printers association at Mumbai, launching a B2B portal by Weldon, a label show has to be held in 2002, etc are some of the steps that will promote the industry. With a market as large as India there is only one way the demand can go…..Up!

Note for print publications: Magazines may reproduce the above article by giving credit to the author.The above article is written by Harveer Singh Sahni, Managing Director of Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 in August 2003