The Indian self-adhesive label industry has risen from basic grassroot levels, most of the initial entrants who pioneered to create these labels were first generation small entrepreneurs. Starting with manual screen-printing process in the 1960s in sheet form, they ventured forward into flat-bed narrow web label printing and converting. By the 1990s label printing further evolved to use flexographic printing process and went on developing continuously to transform into integration of multiple printing technologies on the same  label press with embellishing and converting in-line in a single pass. Most of the earlier entrants, the pioneers who provided impetus for the growth and spread of narrow web self-adhesive label, were either single owner or family-owned small businesses. These initial front runners were partners to industry in transforming a major part of the then prominently used wet glue labels to self-adhesive labels popularly called those days as “stickers”! What were hand applied labels started to be applied from roll form by automatic label applicators on packaging lines, ensuring increased usage and demand of self-adhesive labels. The 1990s saw a lot of growth in label manufacturing and by end of decade, international interest in the Indian label industry started to surface. But at this time the Chinese label market started to register rapid growth attracting the multinational material suppliers and printers turning their attention to the Growing Chinese market. Many industry experts did caution that eventually correction will take place and the growth will slowdown. However still the large population always indicates a robust growth as organized retail grows. Global investments in label grew. As China, India too has a large population and  on the other hand it continued to grow in a stable and steady pace. A young English speaking literate population assured a positive continuous growth of label usage, indicating a stability in continued growth and evolution. This fact started to sink in and the ownerships in the industry started transforming. 

In the start of the new millennium the international interest in Indian label industry became evident. Paper products Limited, established in 1935 in Lahore (Then a part of India), a flexible packaging company had entered label manufacturing in 1994 and in mid-1999 multinational Huhtamaki had acquired 50% of the shareholding in Paper Products Ltd. and later acquiring it wholly. Even though label manufacturing was a small part of their business yet, this I believe was the point when we saw the start of entry of multinational companies investing in label manufacturing in India.

Other foreign companies who entered and invested into label manufacturing in India included the likes of 3M in 1987, Brady’s in 2006, Printcare in 2008 and some others mostly in garment accessories business. Then we did have those who tried, indulged but had to shelve  their plans. CCL acquired a stake in Mumbai based Super labels in 2011 but had to stop as the relationship did not work out, Mikael Dahl of Nordvalls Sweden too invested with a partner and later quit and then there is Reynders who partnered with Goodwork company but later they split and both partners went their own way to run their own label companies in India, Reynders have their wholly owned company Reynders in Chopanki, Rajasthan. As regards material side in labelstock manufacturing, the world’s largest, Avery Dennison started manufacturing in Gurgaon India in 1997.

Kaygee Papers Pvt. Ltd. was set up by Pranay Godha in 1997. It became Kaygee-Loparex, a joint venture in 2001 with investment from Loparex, the world’s leading developer and producer of specialty paper and film release liners. In 2015, Loparex Group assumed 100% ownership of the Indian joint venture company, Kaygee-Loparex India Private Ltd. later renamed Loparex India Private Limited. Meanwhile the founder Pranay Godha moved on to join IPCA laboratories headed by his father  Premchand Godha. Pranay is now the executive director of this global pharmaceuticals company.

The mergers and acquisition activity in the Indian label industry got a fillip when in February 2012 Gururaj Ballarwad led Wintek Flexoprints based in Bangalore India, had been acquired by Hyderabad based ITW Signode, a subsidiary of the multi-billion Dollar fortune 200 global industrial products company ITW, head quartered in Illinois, USA. Wintek is now a part of Signode India Limited. Gururaj the co-founder of Wintek after completing his post-handover stint is now enjoying his retirement. He spent many months with his daughter and grandchildren in the UK and then some time in USA visiting and attending a wedding in family of a friend. His sons run their package printing business on their own. He now relaxes at his home in Bangalore and uses his time reading and researching religious epics like Bhagwad Gita, Ramayana, Mahabharta, etc. He is also indulging in authoring some of his findings. However still he is available to his label industry friends for any advice they need from him.

Two weeks after Wintek was acquired by ITW, another European multinational label and packaging company Skanem, acquired India’s biggest label printers Interlabels, Mumbai. Headed by the brothers Bhavin and Gautam Kothari, Interlabels had been in the forefront of label industry. Bhavin Kothari has been one of the founders of LMAI (Label Manufacturers Association of India) and later the President of this association. Post-acquisition Bhavin is now heading a professionally managed company Qodenext. QodeNext is the merged entity of Mumbai based Intellicon Private Limited, Bangalore based Essae Technologies Private Limited and Mumbai based Intercode Solutions Private Limited. QodeNext is a supply chain traceability technology, consulting and service company providing solutions for Barcode, RFID, Vision, Cognitive Computing, IoT, Predictive Analysis and emerging technologies. Bhavin does oversee the business but it is not a 9am to 5pm job, he spends a lot of time pursuing his hobby of playing Golf. 

Gautam Kothari also has a startup in which he is actively involved. He invested in an enterprise started by his ex-employees, “Worldpack Automation Systems Pvt. Ltd.” manufacturing Automated Labelling Systems. Though it is a 10 AM  to 5PM business that he attends at least 4 to 5 days a week, but he is happy he does not have the stress that was prevalent when in label manufacturing. “I have more control over my time, taking time off for personal family vacation is now easy and without any stress” says Gautam . He also has a label factory with a partner in Bangladesh, he does visit some time, but in the last two years did not go there due to pandemic.

In September 2012, Mumbai based Positive Packaging Industries Ltd., a leading player in the flexible packaging space, a part of the international conglomerate, the Enpee Group with manufacturing facilities in India, Nigeria and UAE, acquired Bangalore based SGRE Labels Private Limited led by Sujeev G and Subba Reddy. Post-acquisition Sujeev and Subba Reddy set up SGRE Pack Pvt. Ltd. to manufacture rigid boxes.

By end of the year 2012 in November, controlling stake in Mumbai based Webtech Labels led by Amar Chhajed was acquired by Indian subsidiary of Huhtamäki Oyj. Later Webtech became an integral part of Huhtamaki and Amar was elevated to become the president of their labeling division. By March 31, 2022, Amar Chhajed left Huhtamaki to move on to other avenues. He has invested in real estate through his new venture Webtech Realty in which he is involved full time. In fact, he is now a builder and is building two important projects one of which is perhaps the largest real estate project in Bandra, a suburb of Mumbai. He has also  invested in a few other projects to support the promoters known to him, one of them is Pactech Machinery making label applicators, but his role is limited to being an investor only. That remains his only small connect with the packaging industry.

In January 2015 Huhtamaki acquired Positive Packaging Industries India Ltd. Since label manufacturing company SGRE had earlier been acquired by Positive Packaging, the label business was addition to the growing capacity of labels manufacturing for multinational Huhtamaki in India.

With Amar Chhajed at helm as President of their labeling business Huhtamaki India completed the acquisition of Indian part of Chandan Khanna’s Ajanta Packaging Private Limited in June 2018. Chandan was still young to retire and moreover he still had his UAE and Thailand factories. He initially visualized a sabbatical and fun times ahead using the geographical location of his factories for vacationing to mix business with pleasure. His wife Kiran had given up her work to bring up the children and now when they were grown, the entrepreneur in her surfaced. She suggested to Chandan that they had done enough business in B2B space, now they should try their hand at the B2C segment. She decided to let the designer in her to emerge and with financial support from husband Chandan, she initiated her startup Stylejunkiie www.stylejunkiie.com offering Apparel and Clothing for fashion statement makers. They started with online selling and a store in Mumbai. Chandan does support her as an investor partner and as an experienced person in managing business, he guides her, otherwise the venture is totally Kiran’s to run and grow. Surprisingly after selling Indian part of the business, Chandan and his wife Kiran are buoyant and with renewed energy ready to grow their fashion apparel business to great heights.

On April 29, 2022, Mumbai headquartered SMI Coated products Pvt. Ltd. Led by Ajay Mehta was 100% acquired by Jindal Poly Films’ wholly owned subsidiary – Jindal PolyPack. SMI is the largest Indian company that manufactures self-adhesive labelstock having production facility at Ambernath with a slitting and distribution company in Jebel Ali, UAE. Post divesting his stake in SMI, Ajay and family are taking a sabbatical for four to six months before deciding their next venture. At this time, they are relaxed and talking to people exploring options for their next move, but they are not in a hurry. Meanwhile they have setup an investment company in UAE to make investments where they deem fit.

Pensively Ajay mentions, that with this he has done the right thing for his team who helped him reach this level, however it is disturbing that he has got distanced from a lot of friends from the labels industry for which he did a lot and was always there to support. He is happy and thankful for the love and respect he has got from his peers in the label industry. Still positive and not calling it a day, he is ready to indulge and rise to another level.

Many years ago, when the world was going through a recession, our European and American friends expressed surprise when they met their Indian friends, they would say that in the western world when economically there is meltdown, any would make a face and either say, “surviving!” or “Not too good.” On the contrary if you meet an Indian and you ask, “How is business?” pat comes the reply, “GOOD!” It is our heritage and we have been taught that when questioned “how are you?” The answer in Hindi, our national language, is “THEEK HAI” means, “Fine.” So, for, all the India entrepreneurs  who sold their stakes, did not entirely quit, it is “theek hai” and now another venture and another success. They, or their families have either started new ventures or on the verge of investing to keep moving on!

Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi May 2022. Author https://harveersahni.blogspot.com and www.labelsandpackagingworld.com

OEGSTGEEST, the Netherlands — May 3, 2022 — Avery Dennison Corporation (NYSE: AVY) today shared details of two major investments aimed at expanding its manufacturing capacity and improving factory efficiency in Europe to meet growing demand for its label and packaging materials.

The company said it is one year into a three-year, €45 million expansion of its facilities at Champ-sur-Drac, France. Enhancements include five new logistical buildings covering more than 8,700 square meters, a new automated warehouse, and an additional high-speed, state-of-the art hotmelt adhesive coater, scheduled to come online during 2024.

At its Luxembourg facility specializing in labels made with acrylic emulsion adhesives, the company has undertaken a €15 million project to redesign operational flow and add a new emulsion speciality coater. The coater is expected to come online during the first quarter of 2023.

“Our investments at Champs-sur-Drac and Luxembourg will allow us to meet customer demand now and into the future by freeing capacity throughout our European manufacturing network”, said Tim Presto, vice president of supply chain & operations, EMENA.

The expansions at both Luxembourg and Champs-sur-Drac will enhance the reliability of service for customers by strengthening the company’s already robust network of manufacturing plants and distribution centers across Europe. Finally, these expansions will take us a step closer to fully embracing Industry 4.0 practices that increase efficiency, reduce operating costs, and free our employees to perform safer, higher-value tasks.

RK Print Coat Instruments has modified the K 303S Multicoater base unit with a fully integrated servo drive and touch screen control to offer a new level of precision for most coating and adhesive-related applications.

The K 303S benchtop unit has some similarities with the earlier version of the K 303 Multicoater. It is supplied with easily interchangeable gravure and flexographic printing heads and offers meter bar coating capability.  

The machine offers variable speeds, ranging from 1 to 40m/min. Multiple coatings may be performed simultaneously with the K 303S for comparison purposes with the maximum coating area measuring 350 x 440mm. Vacuum beds are also available.

The K 303S can be used for quality control and color comparison using various ink/substrate combinations and to determine printability and adhesion. The meter bar coating head expands processing and quality control capabilities. Bars are available for wet coatings from 4 to 500 microns. The samples obtained are suitable for computer color matching, visual color matching and the evaluation of adhesion, gloss and other quality/performance associated parameters.

The servo-driven motor offers smooth operation at any speed controlled using an HMI with a 2-button mode switch for safety. Servo motors are available in an extensive range of sizes, shapes and types. 

‘Regardless of the many issues that arise, the printer and converter must meet the quality expectations of the customers who demand a high degree of accuracy with regard to color, text, graphics or other process objective,’ commented Tom Kerchiss, managing director of RK Print Coat Instruments. ‘For laboratories, research establishments and printers and converters with multiple print process facilities, the K 303S may be the solution.’ News courtesy Labels & Labelling: RK Print upgrades K 303S Multicoater | Labels & Labeling (labelsandlabeling.com)

The Huhtamaki Foundation inaugurated its first recycling plant in Khopoli, Maharashtra today to help drive circularity for packaging. The site – which is spread across 2,000 square meters – will recycle about 1,600 kilograms of post-consumer used flexible plastic waste per day from early May as the plant becomes fully operational. The Central Pollution Board of India (2012) estimates that India generates close to 26,000 tonnes of plastic waste a day and a little over 10,000 tonnes a day of plastic waste remains uncollected.

The recycling plant was set up with an investment of INR 90 million as part of the Huhtamaki Foundation’s #CloseTheLoop initiative to tackle post-consumer waste to deliver a valuable secondary resource material. It will process post-consumer waste to create resin to produce refined compounds to be used for household products for consumers in India.

The Recycling plant – which is the first of a kind – uses advanced technology to enable the efficient sorting of post-consumer waste, hot washing to remove any contamination, extrusion with extra filtration and deodorisation. This ensures the recycled material can then be used for domestic appliances. The Huhtamaki Foundation worked with the local community and authority in Maharashtra, NGOs, social enterprises, and educational institutes – including Swachh, Stri Mukti Sanghtana, CIPET and ICT – to develop this sustainable plastic waste management system. The plant will be fully operational from May 2, 2022.

The Huhtamaki Foundation has been set up to work towards the conservation of the environment in India with a focus on driving sustainable packaging solutions and driving forward the circular economy by setting up recycling schemes. It actively advocates for alternate sustainable plastic packaging structures, solutions and ease of recyclability”, said Sunil Bhagwat, Trustee of Huhtamaki Foundation.

Setting up the recycling plant is the first step that the Huhtamaki Foundation has taken in the direction of driving circularity. Over the next few years, we will strive to set up similar facilities in major geographies in India. We are constantly evaluating newer recycling technologies that could be deployed”, he further added.

“The Huhtamaki Foundation is a charitable trust settled by Huhtamaki with a view to support the conservation of the environment in India and carry out activities in relation to plastic waste. Its focus is on sustainable packaging solutions and driving forward the circular economy by setting up, amongst others, programs in environmental sustainability and recyclability, with a view to identify, incubate and invest in opportunities designed to intercept plastics at source by collecting, sorting, processing and recycling waste so that waste gets diverted from the environment into the recycling value chain, furthering the circular economy, thereby benefitting the environment, industries and public at large”, said Marco Hilty, President Flexible Packaging Huhtamaki.

Food packaging is instrumental in driving access to affordable food for all by ensuring hygiene and safety of food and keeping it edible for longer. Whilst the functionality of packaging can’t be compromised, further improvements in the management of post-consumer packaging waste is essential if we are to close the loop on circularity”, said Thomasine Kamerling, Executive Vice President of Sustainability and Communications at Huhtamaki.

In addition, closing the loop on waste handling and circularity will help in addressing some of the environmental and social impacts caused by improper waste management. Sorting waste at home is recommended as the way to prevent household waste from ending up at a landfill. By separating organic waste, plastic waste and other dry recyclables, which can be composted, recycled and upcycled, consumers can become part of the solution”, she added.

re watered/maintained using water sprinklers and drip-irrigation technology.

Maxcess, a global leader in innovative products and services for web handling applications, today unveiled the RotoMetricsAccuAdjust Dual Adjust Anvil. Featuring easy-to-use digital controllers on the front of the die stack, quick installation into a press and automation-ready motors that ship with the unit itself, the AccuAdjust paves the way for fully-automated anvil adjustment upgrades that are ready when you are.

“We designed the new AccuAdjust from the ground-up with our global R&D team to give customers an intuitive and powerful tool to control liner variation that our customers are seeing on a daily basis,” said Nadine Powell, Global Product Manager for RotoMetrics, a Maxcess Brand. “With shortages in skilled labor, liner variation changes and material supply issues that every press operator is facing, the new AccuAdjust will be a welcomed solution to cut perfect labels, while reducing scrap from common liners such as PET, Glassine and Kraft.”

Featuring easy-to-access dual-adjustable controllers on the front of the die stack and backed by a global service and support infrastructure to ensure you are taken care of after installation, the new AccuAdjust provides customers with an adjustable anvil that is both easy-to-use and extremely accurate. In addition, since each AccuAdjust unit comes plug-and-play ready for RotoMetric’s upcoming RotoAdjust automation system for greater operator control, enhanced productivity, and Industry 4.0 analytics to run smarter, customers can be confident in future-proofing their investment with a product that can easily adopt further automation when they are ready.

Innovia Films, a major producer of highly differentiated speciality films announces the opening of a new 6.2 metre multi-layer co-extrusion line at its site in Płock, Poland. The state-of-the-art line will be dedicated to manufacture low-density polyolefin shrink film for shrink sleeve labels and tamper evident applications.

The film forms the basis to produce sustainable floatable shrink sleeves.  This facilitates easy separation of labels from PET, HDPE and PP bottles and containers in the recycling process to enable bottle-to-bottle circularity.  This shrink sleeve material is mainly for use within the Food, Beverage and Home & Personal Care industries.

Innovia to market the film under the brand RayoFloat™

The opening of the line concludes our strategic investment into a high-performance shrink film, that enables more circularity when it comes to packaging – an important goal for consumer goods companies,” says Simon Huber, Managing Director, Innovia UK and Poland. “The new capacities will allow us to supply label and sleeve converters with high-quality floatable shrink sleeve material that has the potential to revolutionise the market and the way packaging is decorated to move towards more sustainable choices” continued Huber.

RayoFloat™ APO is a clear, uncoated shrink film that floats, as its density is <0.93 g/cm³.  The film is also glossy, scuff resistant and printable, with a controlled TD shrinkage up to 70%.  RayoFloat™ has been endorsed by the European PET Bottle Platform EPBP, although this film is perfect for use on a variety of HDPE and PP containers too.  

CCL Label markets the polyolefin labels under EcoFloat™

CCL Label has been partnering with multinational brands to develop recyclable PET containers for bottle-to-bottle recycling in a closed loop. Polyolefin sleeves are also a recycling-friendly match for PP- and PE-based packaging as they stem from the same plastics family.

In recent years we have seen big changes in the market. Brands are increasingly following Design for Recycling guidelines and are re-creating their packaging to meet recycling targets. Labels can make a huge difference here, the functional properties of label materials can support recyclability and re-usability,” says Günther Birkner, member of the Management Team at CCL. “The goal of our investment in Poland is to significantly increase the capacity in polyolefin shrink films which were hardly available so far. Through our global network of CCL Label sites, we are able to convert the recycling-friendly material into EcoFloat sleeves and supply those with short turnaround times to packaging lines. This initiative will enable our customers to boost the recyclability of their packaging!”

As EcoFloat™ sleeves are made from low density polyolefins, they make the difference in the crucial sink/float recycling step at PET recyclers. The sleeve material floats and this allows for a clean separation from the heavier PET flakes that sink to the bottom of the washing tanks. This easy separation forms the basis of the yield of high-quality PET flakes that can be used in bottle-to-bottle recycling, closing the loop. EcoFloat™ has been endorsed by the European PET Bottle Platform EPBP.

Our investment is part of our commitment to boost plastic recycling and take steps towards a circular economy as stated when we signed the Global Commitment of the New Plastics Economy led by the Ellen MacArthur foundation. In future, governments will set targets for recycling rates in municipal waste. Reaching these will not be feasible without investing in new technologies for packaging materials that support ‘Design for Recycling’. As a floatable, low density polyolefin sleeve, EcoFloat™ fulfills the requirements as defined in packaging design guidelines,” concluded Birkner.

Mumbai headquartered SMI Coated products Pvt. Ltd. Lead by Ajay Mehta has been 100% acquired by Jindal Polyfilms. The company (SMI) had recorded a turnover of Rs 273 crore in FY2020-21.The acquisition would augment Jindal Poly Films existing growth plans resulting in forward integration by expanding into downstream product segment i.e. labels and related products.

The acquisition would be done by Jindal Polypack and this will not form part of the business transfer to JPFL Films.The acquisition is being done at an enterprise value of approximately Rs 195 crore. After adjusting for net debt and debt like items, equity value payment by Jindal Polypack to the sellers would be Rs 99.65 crore.Jindal Poly Films is engaged in diverse business activities including manufacturing of polyester film, polypropylene film, steel pipes and photographic products.
The net profit of Jindal Poly Films jumped 10.53% to Rs 217.98 crore in the quarter ended December 2021 as against Rs 197.21 crore during the previous quarter ended December 2020. Net sales rose 27.15% YoY to Rs 1,359.18 crore in Q3 FY22.

Label printing technologies have undergone a sea change after the onset of 21st century. In the beginning of new millennium, the flatbed and letterpress processes made way for the narrow web flexographic printing which eventually grew to become the most preferred print technology for labels. With technological advances in prepress and plate-making process, Flexo print quality became closer to offset. This was followed up by hybrid printing using flexo, screen, gravure and later also offset printing in a single pass. We have been seeing the convenience of desktop office printers, inkjet or laser but they remained that way for long and were not used for high quality labels in roll form. It is only in the second decade of the 21st century that digital label printing began evolving. By middle of the decade, it was growing substantially in the western part of the World, yet but in India it did not find many takers.

 

In May 2015, I reviewed and wrote about the indulgence of Indian label industry in Digital printing equipment, I interviewed leading label printing companies of that time in an article titled; “Label Printing in India, digital has to wait”, available at the link;   https://harveersahni.blogspot.com/2015/05/label-printing- in-india-digital-has-to.html

In the summation I wrote; I am quite amazed by the similarity of responses from most of the persons who responded. All of them had expressed that the cost per print in digital does not prove it to be a viable proposition, considering the prohibitive cost of the equipment and that of ink and consumables. The undercurrent in all expressions is that digital printing as things stand now will not be the mainstream technology. It will co-exist with existing technologies and will be used for specific demanding needs. As for the time frame before digital printing becomes largely visible and used in label printing in India, they said it varies between 3 to 5 years. So, for the time being, “It has to wait a while!”

 

Two years hence, on May 7th 2017 I did yet another survey and wrote my article titled, “Digital label printing in India, the journey has begun! Self Adhesive Labels Industry In India and The World: Digital label printing in India, the journey has begun! (harveersahni.blogspot.com)My estimation was as follows: By latest count, the population of leading brands of digital label presses in India had reached twenty-two in number. This was besides the low value small printers that some companies may have acquired. Now this was a fairly impressive figure when just until over a year back the industry felt that digital has to wait. Estimating the size of the digital label market, I calculated the total consumption in the industry for digitally printed labels to over 52 million square meters per annum, which translated into to almost 5% of the total self-adhesive labels in India to be printed digitally. This surely indicated that for digital label printing in India, the journey had begun!

 

 

European Label Industry Association Finat had revealed in a statement that European digital label press installations overtook conventional press sales for the first time in 2017. The journey that began, has now progressed to be on a growth path. In fact, repetitive purchase confirms that the technology is not only here to stay but also attain steady growth.

 

 

 

 
In the present private survey or research in respect of digital printing of labels in roll form, done personally by me, I have arrived at interesting results. The data being presented here is entirely my own estimation and I have not depended on any already published authenticated information. I have interacted with the following renowned brands to arrive at figures that I present in this article;

 

Domino

Durst

Epson

HP

Konica Minolta

Monotech

Screen

Xeikon

 

The number of digital roll label presses of leading brands in India has expanded from the 22 in 2017 to 51 in 2022 registering a CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of 18% as regards the number of press installations. Out of these HP Indigo accounts for 16 presses  which include two 25K which find usage both for labels as well as for flexible packaging and one HP Indigo for Lamitubes, Konica Minolta 10, Monotech 8, Domino 3, Xeikon 2, Durst 4, Screen 2, Epson was 5 machines as assessment done in 2017 since they did not respond I believe there have been no additions thereafter. Two water-based  inkjet presses from Astronova are also in the tally of 51 presses. If we consider just the numbers, Hp has 32% share of the installations, Konica Minolta 20%, Monotech 16%, Durst 8%, Domino 6%, Epson, Screen and Astronova account for the balance . However, this is not a real indicator of the quantum of investment by label printing companies in digital printing technology. I have done the calculation on the approximate costs of these equipment, the total investment in digital roll label equipment is more than Rupees 215 Crores or about 28 million US Dollars.  HP being the most expensive equipment of the lot, accounts for a whopping 66% of the investment made in value  while all others remain less than 10%.

 

Considering the geographical spread in number of installations; 36% of the established brand installations are in the West of India, 36% in the North and 11% in South. However, in terms of value,   the West leads the way, followed by South. As for label materials consumed, in 2017 I had calculated that 52 million square meters of labelstock was converted by digital printing. The consumption with increased investments and faster speeds appears to have more than doubled to over 109 million square meters registering a CAGR of 16%. As indicated by the people I interviewed there are many more installations being planned that will ensure continuous growth in this segment of label printing and converting.

Digital printing means web to print; it is an exciting process as compared to the analogue or conventional printing, yet it brings with it, challenges that translate it into a not so simple process. A technology that was initially being promoted as a complementary technology to conventional printing has reached a stage of being referred to as a competitive one. With presses going wider and running at higher speed and consumables getting affordable, it will not be long before it becomes a contemporary mainstream technology . However, those who have had the success and have understood the nuances of digital printing, are looking at expanding further in this segment of printing. I sought comments from many who have invested into digital capabilities and their responses make interesting reading.

Denver Annunciation, Janus International:  Janus International are pioneers, they were the very first label manufacturing company who invested in an HP Indigo press at their Thane facility. The brothers Denver and Janus are very enterprising. They have offset, flexo and Digital printing capabilities, all of which are doing well for them. They are a company who are growing beyond the inflationary growth. Being  manufacturer of beer and liquor labels, they wanted to do something different, and they took the challenge of investing in digital label printing. Since HP was the only established supplier of digital presses at that time with a proper setup, it was natural for them to install an HP Indigo press. Denver says, “Digital helped us cater to smaller businesses and widen our customer base while our other capabilities drove in the volumes.”  According to him digital does provide opportunities for creativity but it is not a standalone equipment that will deliver. You need different prepress and post-press finishing setup. It also involves additional resources that add up to per unit cost like requirement of same amount of manpower for packing, delivering and invoicing smaller shipments. Despite this adds Denver, “it gives a fair return and we will definitely look at expanding our digital capabilities“. Referring to their experience with digital Denver says, “Initial challenges were there, it has been a long journey, but surely enjoyable”.

Anil Namugade, Trigon Digital: Trigon Digital has been in the news in recent years for their multiple investments and expansion in the state of art digital equipment. Anil Namugade Managing Director of Trigon while answering why he opted for digital says, “Good label finishing and converting for me is like oxygen to heart, blood and brain for creativity.” Trigon has invested in multiple digital equipment and the biggest of them an HP Indigo 25K, his second HP Indigo after the first 6900. He asserts that digital has helped them grow, as since their inception 14 years ago they have been using only digital technology. Their business has been growing. Anil expresses, “digital is a mindset, we need to have a bit different approach in understanding the customer’s requirements and our capabilities to serve them.”

Honey Vazirani, Leap Digiprint:  Honey and Vikram, both directors of Leap Digiprints, spent 25 years in labels and packaging industry working for Paper products Ltd. later renamed Huhtamaki PPL Limited after acquisition by multinational Huhtamaki Oyj, so packaging is what they knew best. Wanting to be more futuristic, ecofriendly and wishing to initiate a small boutique business of their own, they made the choice to setup their maiden startup venture in Noida NCR Delhi. Selecting a strong digital print partner that time, HP was the best choice. The technology has helped them grow, giving the desired results from producing variable and short run of labels. Says Honey,” The turnaround times, print runs of 100-200 meters, variable printing…all the capabilities that attracted us to digital are still clear advantages.” Further she  adds, “Overall it has been good experience. However, it is not as trouble free as one would expect it to be. Also, the costs and pricing need to be handled effectively but unfortunately the downstream conversion for labels (post digital printing) is not as well developed as it should be to support short runs”

Harish Gupta, Sai Digistik: Harish Gupta led Sai Digistik has invested in two digital label presses HP with liquid toner & Konica Minolta with dry toner technology. According to Harish, the dry toner technology has limitations of only CMYK printing, no white and printing on limited substrates, so we have both liquid toner and dry toner printing capabilities to have the best of both. Cost of digital printing is high, it was very good working with digital during pandemic phase-1 when manpower was short, and requirements were instant. Short runs are easy to handle, and we got focused to help startups for their smaller needs with our motto “Startup for Startups.” With no need of plates and make ready etc., the turnaround time is less, yet it is not a simple technology, one needs to study thoroughly before investing. Cost of producing labels is higher as compared to flexo, but it is felt that, as we grow in volumes the costs of consumables will reduce. However, as we see the trends globally, with manpower becoming a challenge and reducing length of jobs, digital is bound to grow and find preference.

Surendra Shriyan, Maa Flexi-label: An offset printer who realised that volume-based production has decreased with more variables and short runs, in the given scenario digital is the future for good printability and  fast turnaround time. They opted for HP Indigo label press. Being new entrants, they are exploring exciting possibilities but feel pricing in digital is a challenge. After observing the changes in the western world regarding the digital label printing, even though they are convinced that it is futuristic, yet they say, “It is not all, a bed of roses.”

Nilesh Jain, Mahavir Impex: They opted for a Durst UV Inkjet label press for its print quality output without applying any primer on most substrates. Nilesh expresses that digital has helped to achieve desired results within minimal time and reduction of undesired wastages. They feel it will become the predominant technology , but the results from different digital print technologies (dry toner/liquid toner /UV Inkjet etc.) would not give a uniform and similar print result on various substrates. The advantage of digital for them is outstanding quality achieved at good speed and reduction of waste with no investment on plates and other expenses.

Manish Hansoti, S Kumar: Narrating his experience with digital label printing, Manish Hansoti says; “Looking to cater to demand of small quantity, variable printing multiple S K U’s and label on demand, we have invested in a Screen digital label printing press. We had assessed all technologies and found Screen ink jet printing technology was a better fit for us as we wanted to print labels with less ink coverage for specific customers. The cost of the ink in this process was found lower as against dry toner FASMA/click charges. We consider digital technology as part of customer service because in small volume there is no chance of making topline but can get customer satisfaction. The technology will grow if the capex goes down and ink price or click charges drop, then there will be big changes in global printing scenario. Short run or variable printing is profitable but there is limitation in getting many such orders, so we always have spare capacity. We do not see another investment in digital until costs of inputs come down.”

Priyank Vasa from Unick Fix A Form: “The Domino N610i digital label press was acquired by us in 2018. Wanting to free up our flexo capacity to improve turnaround time and job throughput, we started exploring options. We narrowed down to the Domino N610i because of Domino's strong presence in India and its service network.

Evaluating its media compatibility, color matching, accuracy of pantone reproduction, ink cost analysis, it looked the right press for us. The press was commissioned in the beginning of 2020. Dealing with a modern technology we knew there lies a learning curve ahead. In the present-day scenario, we have been able to take up new business both for flexo and digital. Digital has added to our sales where we are able to completely leverage the opportunity cost which could not happen in flexo. We do not limit use of the digital press to small runs. It has also opened new avenues for us in respect to products like IML, Shrink sleeves, Cartons and VDP.”

 

Vinod Vazhapuli, Skanem IndiaHaving run a very innovative campaign for the FMCG company Reckitt Benckiser(RB) Vinod Vazhapuli Managing Director of Skanem India is very optimistic about including more digital printing capabilities in his company’s expansion plans. Skanem  had been a part of Dettol’s unique packaging commemorating Covid warriors. Please see my blogpost titled Dettol Labels used to salute "Covid Warriors"! Skanem India, a part of Norway headquartered Skanem AS was one of the two approved vendor of RB who were roped in to execute this special campaign of Dettol customized labels. The deliberations for this campaign started when Reckitt approached Skanem in second week of May 2021 and discussed the possibility of creating one hundred variably printed unique labels. Having an HP Indigo press, the capability was there. They were given an order for two million labels. It was a gigantic task as there were one hundred artworks. RB wanted the right pantone shade of Dettol and the job had to be done in speed, so Skanem requested RB to give them the artworks also in CMYK because to match the green Dettol shade as close as possible to the required shade it is necessary to have the prepress right. The approvals were done online and the material delivered in time. That is the power of digital, the rest is history.

 

Rajeev Chhatwal, Kwality Offset: Rajeev sums it all well, he says he sees a good future for digital label converting. Printers need to look at this technology positively and separately without drawing a comparison with analogue or current capabilities even though it is a business that needs to run parallel with your current profile of business. One of the biggest advantage of digital is that it helps one to increase customer base. A larger customer base, if attended well, ensures continued growth. To find success in digital arena one needs to accept that there is a definite learning phase and one must provide for contingencies while planning and be prepared for them. Rajeev says, “It is a business that has a bright future in which the fittest, the one with guts and endurance, will survive and excel. It is a business that provides impetus to your present business and when you do short, variable and personalized run for a customer, you have a happy customer! In a young Indian population becoming spenders, ecommerce is looking up, does it not ensure positive growth of Digital which permits variable and personalized printing? Are we not looking at the numbers of startups on rise? My next investment, maybe a year down the line,  will be digital, I invested in a Xeikon with dry toner technology, which I am happy with, I will probably go for a UV Inkjet next to expand my capabilities”.

 

The author is grateful to the people without whose help and inputs this compilation may not have been possible. Those whose support I got, include Umesh Kagade and entire team of HP, Shayak Mukherjee of Konica Minolta, Ajay RaoRane of Domino Printech, Vikram Saxena of Xeikon, Jimit Mittal of Monotech and Ajay Agarwal of Insight Print Communication for Screen and Venkatesh Selveraj of Printronics for Durst.

Note: Printing magazine and portals can republish the above ONLY after giving credit to the author Harveer Sahni and mentioning blog https://harveersahni.blogspot.com 

 

Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi India April 2022

  • The operations will ramp up to full scale over the next few months
  • The company earlier had announced a Rs 250 cr investment for setting up its new manufacturing plant
  • The expansion is part of the company’s overall strategy to reinforce its commitment towards India’s growth and better serve its markets and customers

Gurgaon, 19 April, 2022— Avery Dennison, a leader in global materials science and manufacturing, is to commence operations in its new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Greater Noida. Through this new facility, the company will be consolidating its manufacturing operations in order to better serve customer demands while optimizing the new technology and leveraging the improved efficiencies. A phased transition will take place for the facility and employees based out of Gurgaon plant over a period of time, as per business requirements.

However, the corporate office of the company continues to be in Gurgaon.

Spread over an area of 12 acres, the new state-of-the-art plant will produce

technologically-advanced, pressure-sensitive materials for the labeling and packaging industry and would incorporate best practices available across Avery Dennison globally. The new facility, whose land has been allotted by Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA), will be equipped with the latest high speed coating technology and will have

state-of-the-art coating and lamination lines, along with high speed sliters and sheeters.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Saurabh Agarwal, senior director and general manager, Label and Packaging Materials, South Asia for Avery Dennison said, “U.P. has emerged as a strategic business location, offering better connectivity and opportunities to serve key customers and markets. The new facility not only enhances our production capacity, but it further strengthens our company’s position in the industry. This move is the culmination of the customer’s increased demand as well as the potential India holds as a region. I’m extremely pleased that this achievement has taken place in the same year Avery Dennison is celebrating 25 years of doing business in India.”

Speaking on this move, Mr. Mahesh Pathak, senior director, Operations, Label and Graphic Materials, South Asia Pacific and Sub Saharan Africa for Avery Dennison said, “This expansion is part of our long-term commitment to the Indian market, and our deep belief that it will offer enormous opportunities for the company and its ecosystem partners. The addition of this new greenfield facility in the North further strengthens our presence in the Indian market as well as in the Asia Pacific region.”

Mr. Pathak further added, “The new plant is equipped with next-generation technology in line with industry 4.0 and has one of the latest and fastest coating and laminating machines in this space globally. Additionally, this facility was designed and constructed as per Green building standards and we have also installed solar power for green energy.”

With this key business milestone, Avery Dennison celebrates 25 years of business operations in India. Having a presence in India for over two decades, the company has consistently led the way in transforming the Indian label industry.

Avery Dennisonhas always had a keen focus on strengthening the industry by providing reliable products and driving innovation across its ecosystem through active collaboration with its partners. The company started its first plant operation in Gurgaon in 1997 with a hot melt coating line. Since then, it has expanded its operations across India in major cities like Pune, Bangalore, and Kolkata.

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Avery Dennison Corporation (NYSE: AVY) is a global materials science company specializing in the design and manufacture of a wide variety of labeling and functional materials. The company’s products, which are used in nearly every major industry, include pressure-sensitive materials for labels and graphic applications; tapes and other bonding solutions for industrial, medical, and retail applications; tags, labels and embellishments for apparel; and radio frequency identification (RFID) solutions serving retail apparel and other markets.

Headquartered in Mentor, Ohio, the company employs more than 35,000 employees in more than 50 countries. Reported sales in 2021 were $8.4 billion. Learn more at www.averydennison.com.

For Media Queries:

Media Contact:Prabhsharan.kaur@ap.averydennison.com

The Agfa-Gevaert Group announced today that it will acquire Inca Digital Printers, subject to meeting and obtaining customary conditions and approvals. The acquisition strengthens Agfa’s position in high speed digital printing and brings an additional focus on packaging printing markets.

“The Inca acquisition is a major step in Agfa’s transformation. Digital printing is a profitable growth engine for the Group with a tremendous potential that will be further accelerated by the addition of Inca,” said Pascal Juéry, President and CEO of the Agfa-Gevaert Group.

Inca Digital Printers is a Cambridge UK based leading developer and manufacturer of advanced high speed printing and production technologies for sign and display applications as well as for the rapidly growing digital printing market for packaging. Inca is an ideal partner for Agfa, bringing a complementary portfolio of printing solutions of the highest standard and a strong technological platform to launch robust single pass printing presses for the packaging market.

The acquisition encompasses the portfolio of existing high speed multi pass printers, including a strong service organization; a newly designed line of single pass printers for several packaging applications as well as a joint development of a customized in-line Print Engine in collaboration with leading corrugator manufacturer BHS Corrugated.

Stephen Tunnicliffe-Wilson, CEO/CTO of Inca Digital Printers Ltd.: “The acquisition by Agfa allows us to combine our technological knowhow and will enable us to become a leading digital packaging press manufacturer worldwide. Our new parent has shown long term commitment to the digital printing market and we are extremely proud and look forward to becoming part of the Agfa family.”

Vincent Wille, President of Agfa’s Digital Print & Chemicals division, comments:  “The combination of Inca Digital’s manufacturing knowhow and Agfa’s technical expertise, worldwide presence and excellent service networks will allow us to bring unparalleled printing solutions to our customers and to adapt seamlessly to their needs in this rapidly evolving space. This investment leverages and strengthens our position in the high-end and high speed wide format market as a whole and specifically in the promising packaging segment.”