The continuous wailing of ambulance sirens, send a chill down one’s spine, another loved one from somebody’s family, suffering from the impact of second edition of covid-19, is on the lookout for a hospital bed and the much-needed evasive supply of oxygen as life support. It is ironic that in today’s time of technological advancement many unsuspecting innocent human beings are losing a desperately fought battle for survival against a more vicious and fast spreading variants of corona virus. Medical infrastructures are crumbling under the huge volume of patients reporting infections. Vaccination program is struggling to meet targets that keep becoming difficult by the day, the government has opened registration of people for vaccination, but it is a gigantic task which presently at the very outset, means reaching out to over 50% of the total population of almost 1.4 billion people which would be about 70 million people spread across a large geographical terrain in 29 states and 7 Union territories. Recently a newspaper reported the registrations for vaccinations coming at the rate of 55000 per second! A bigger danger is that much of rural India which accounts for almost 65% of the total population (90million) was largely unaffected and now the virus seems to be creeping there as well. The problem is not only India, as in today’s time given the travel mobility of people from all walks of life and with their relatives spread around the globe with different natural and adopted nationalities, the present dangerous second phase of the pandemic is a global problem and unless checked, it may reach very scary levels impacting the world at large. The second wave is so vicious that it has impacted every other home. It is heart-warming to see that governments around the world understand the problem and are coming forward to cooperate with each other in combatting this menace. On the domestic front we see religious bodies, NGOs, industry and many others doing their bit to defuse the pain and anguish due to the impact of the pandemic. The Indian label industry is also taking steps to contribute towards the safety and wellbeing of their workforce and wherever possible contributing to the society as well.

 

 

Kuldip Goel
The author reached out to many leading label manufacturers to assess the level of infections in the two phases of covid and their reactions to combat the menace.  The author, his most family members including both sons K D Sahni and Pawandeep Sahni, MD of Omet India Pvt. Ltd. and 4 employees in his company Weldon Celloplast Ltd. tested positive. Kuldip Goel president LMAI (Label Manufacturers Association of India) and Chairman/MD of Any Graphics NOIDA  reported 25 of his team including 14 of top management along with his son Naveen went through the ordeal. He restricts himself from saying he helped his people during the hard time but prefers to use the word support instead. Besides ensuring the job security of his people, providing financial and medical support they even arranged counselling to almost 100+ people in bringing them out from depression. Kuldip along with his colleagues in board of directors of LMAI are already planning to import Oxygen concentrators for the needy. Abhay Datta Director UV Graphic Technologies where 4 people were infected including himself and his son, has prepared guidelines and implemented them for awareness and safe working within the business. He has developed UVC disinfection devices for articles to contain spread of corona. He is unhappy on how the government has dealt with the outbreak, he says, “It is a bad situation, really sad that the government has failed to control it.” Twelve persons including himself and his plant head in Anuj Bharagava lead Kumar Labels suffered infection, but Anuj went ahead and made a makeshift clinic with Oxygen & IV facility at his NOIDA factory. As also helping communities by enabling concentrators and oxygen cylinders. He too is concerned about the handling of the spread, “It is a terrible period for India, and humanity. We wish things were better anticipated and planned by the authorities. However still, we are all doing our best to help each other. Sad to see some people trying to profiteer by selling drugs and services in black” he says.

 

 

Nirav Shah
In central and west India there is a bigger concentration of label companies and there too most are impacted though some have succeeded in limiting the impact of the pandemic.  LMAI honorary secretary and Director of Indore headquartered Pragati Graphics and Packaging has been deeply involved in arranging hospital beds, medicines, oxygen, oxygen cylinders, etc. for a lot of people from and around Indore. He has also arranged two oxygen concentrators which are being given to needy people. Commenting on the 25 people infected in his company he said, “To me the picture looks gloomy. The industry was slowly picking up as the demand was growing. This wave of pandemic has again brought the industry to its knees and the situation will become very bad if the wave of Covid does not recede soon.” Nirav Shah heading Letragraphix in Ahmedabad had to re-engineer his production plans to meet timelines and service his customers efficiently since 20-25% of his workforce got infected. He has stood by his employees in full even during lockdown and providing whatever support was needed. On the social front Nirav finds satisfaction from the fact that they have donated sanitisers, ration kits and food packets besides supporting an NGO called Karma Foundation on regular basis. He states that these are unpredictable times which have taught many lessons to everyone to get adjusted to a new normal of work culture and pray for the world to heal soon.

 

 

 

Vinod Vazhapulli of Skanem
Mumbai based Skanem India Pvt. Ltd. (Formerly Skanem Interlabels) a subsidiary of Skanem AS headquartered in Norway with presence in 8 countries also reported 15% to 20% of workforce as infected in its 4 sites within India. Vinod Vazhapulli Managing Director informed that the company has taken care of their employees by paying before time in full without any deductions whatsoever ever since the start of pandemic and supporting wherever help was needed. The company had them covered under the Insurance scheme with a coverage of Sum insured of Rs. 2 Lakhs especially for Covid by Skanem India, thereby ensuring that all their Medical and treatment expenses are taken care of under Cash less transaction schemes. Online counselling sessions / Yoga classes etc. were organized ensuring that any kind of anxiety or mental dis-order that would have developed due to the pandemic or extended lock downs are handled by experts, taking care of the mental wellbeing of their employees. As a social endeavor They have provided Medical aid , Food & PPEs to the Maljipada village where the Mumbai plant is, during the peak of Lock downs last year. Vinod says, “ there has been an impact of this outbreak on our Industry, the recovery had commenced but with this 2nd wave it is again pushed back to uncertain times”.

 

 

Raveendran
South India based Rajeev Nair CMD of Stallion Group informed that 25 % of their team including 5% from management were impacted, he is worried that the business that went down in the first phase of covid had started to recover is now again adversely impacted in the second phase. Raveendran of Seljegat in Sivakasi is thankful that they have been cautious with their workforce, so the infections were minimal, just two employees and his younger brother were impacted mildly and recovered. They have in place a strict protocol of checking temperature, oxygen levels and providing sanitisers. They also provide herbal immunity boosting tea to all workforce who must maintain safe distance and are divided into two shifts. Except for a week of lock down, they have been working right through and in fact are in 100% production. They provide separate buses for women and other workers making several trips to maintain distance and transport them to and fro safely. They have even invited government officials to study their systems that have helped in curtailing the infection. We see similar situation in J K Fine Prints Mumbai, Director Himanshu Kapur who is son of Surender Kapur the founder president of LMAI says, “We had just one infection between the two phases, we have given full financial support to our workers as also provided them and their families with masks, sanitisers and other needs” he further adds, “After the initial jolt, I now feel that label industry will not be so drastically impacted. We  will see  growth coming from Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities who will patronise organised retail for their needs”.

 

 

Sandeep Zaveri of Total Print
 
The best response came from LMAI past president Sandeep Zaveri heading Total Print Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Mumbai, he says, “Between the two phases none in our company got infected due to strict norms maintained by us and supporting our team with full salaries and food needs” he adds, “I think God has created this for us all human beings to go slow, spend quality time with our near and dear ones”.

 

 

 

 

Many NGOs(Non-Government Organisations), religious bodies, companies and individuals are contributing in whichever way they can reduce the sufferings of people. Donations and help from these groups keep pouring in and exhibits the caring that emanates from these groups. However, in contrast we have reached a situation when politicians continue to play the blame game accusing each other for the sufferings of population, with their eyes on the next election and access to country’s coffers they are insensitive to the pain people are going through. Allowing election rallies and religious gatherings of hundreds of thousand people not following covid norms has contributed to the massive spread. The central government says state government is wrong and vice-versa while the innocent citizens gasp for that breadth which will come loaded with some oxygen so that they may still survive to be with their loved ones another day. It is so unfortunate that we talk of financial outlay of billions in our budgets yet a commodity like oxygen that is an imperative for survival has become a political point for our leaders blaming it on logistics. The pain and suffering do not end for the relatives of those who have lost their fight against covid and passed away, there is neither the means to take the bodies to cremation grounds nor the space to cremate them. Will residents of another developed country understand this kind of situation?  All this while the needy yearn for that breadth which will decide if they exist the next day or not. Added to this the unscrupulous citizens who look at this as an opportunity to make more money, they make the Shylock in Shakespeare’s story “Merchent of Venice” appear as a reasonable person, he may have just asked for a pound of flesh from just one borrower, here these black marketeers are trading in oxygen, essential medicines and life support equipment to draw unreasonable profit from the lives of a suffering generation. 

 

 

History will not and should not pardon such unethical persons who have no feelings that a grandparent, a parent, a spouse, a sibling or an offspring are so  precious part that one yearns for them to be there always and losing them is not imaginable. Courts in India appear to be understanding the gravity of the situation but who will teach the politicians who are the executive running the country. It is not just watching on TV that people are suffering and dying, but it is now being felt and being experienced by all households largely. A friend, a relative, a business associate, a colleague or a loved one just vanishes losing out to the pandemic leaving a void and a hollow feeling whereby the tears have no place to go.

 

 

Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi May 2021

Reproduction permitted by giving credit to author and link to blog http://harveersahni.blogspot.com 

 

In my early years when I worked for my parental company Weldon Sales Corporation established in 1939, manufacturing stationary products like Weldon Fountain pen inks and office glues besides a range of stationary products, I remember that we used to affix paper labels on glass bottles using water-based adhesives. Initially these were solutions of gum Arabic and later we switched over to starch based adhesives produced by us captively. These worked well on glass bottles or paper-based packaging, the only challenge was that we had to wait for the adhesive to dry before putting these into secondary or tertiary packs as the labels would shift if packed wet compromising the appearance of the product. The same issue was encountered by the beer industry which continues to face it, at least for some brands that still rely on adhesives that do not address this problem. Since glass packaging was heavy and was susceptible to breakages in transit the introduction of plastic HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) bottles came as a big relief at that time. HDPE that was invented in 1953, started being initially imported and later produced in India by Polyolefin Industries Ltd. a Mafatlal Group Company under license from Hoechst Germany, in the late 1960s. HDPE plastic bottles came as a big innovative development for the liquid packaging industry. When we at Weldon started using outsourced Plastic bottles, later manufacturing them in-house, labeling them brought fresh problems.

The labels affixed with water-based adhesives, on drying would fall off in transit or get wrinkled. This was because of the reason that HDPE is a low-energy polymer and for normal water-based adhesives to form a permanent bond is a problem.  For some round bottles, we started using wrap-around labels as then the label would come around and get pasted paper to paper. It was during this period after 1965 that the earliest self-adhesive labels started being produced in India and in the 1970s their usage in the packaging of products started to increase. These labels would bond instantly, would not need drying and would not shift in packaging , also aiding the aesthetics so their usage spread quickly and widely. It was that time we at Weldon also shifted to self-adhesive labels or pressure-sensitive labels. The rest of the evolution of Self-Adhesive labels is history and is still an ongoing process.

Adhesives: Pressure-sensitive adhesive(PSA) labels is now one of the fastest growing segments in a world of diverse labeling technologies. It provides accuracy of clean labeling and options to use a variety of adhesives for  application on different surfaces in most environments, including temperature, humidity, exposure to UV, etc. Advancements in products and their packaging require labels to perform in extreme and demanding parameters.

Some food and pharma products require the labels to perform at very low temperatures, typical are for ice cream, pharma and vaccines that require extremely low temperature for storage. Synthetic adhesives that are in use nowadays harden at very low temperatures and tend to fall off so must be formulated to withstand the application and storage conditions. These adhesive soften at high temperatures therefore signages and labels that must be used for outdoor in diverse environments, withstand UV light and heat build up due continuous exposure to sun also need adhesives specially formulated to perform for the duration of their lifetime. Direct PSA labels application on food products like fresh fruits and vegetables is now in use and labels must be certified safe for direct food contact and that they should not have adhesive or inks from which plasticizer may migrate into the product. Coming to labeling on low energy surfaces like HDPE bottles mentioned above, though the label sticks well but in these days of increased incidence of anti-counterfeiting, pilferage and tampering, the label with standard general purpose adhesive can be pulled off cleanly by an experienced hacker or counterfeiter. So, the adhesives are an important and integral part of evolving trends in self-adhesive labels. A lot of development has been done on these lines and continue to be taken up to produce special formulations that conform to the specific requirements.

Substrates and embellishments: As customers grow in numbers, segments, literacy, urbanisation and geographical spread, the packaging development managers are attempting to create innovations in partnership with label printers to woo the consumers, increase the shelf appeal of products and increase brand recalls.

Moving from simple label substrates like uncoated maplitho or uncoated woodfree paper, now the selection of substrate is as per the imagination or creative ideas of the label developers. The label face materials can be selected from a wide range of options available like semigloss paper, metallised papers or films, textured paper, various clear or opaque films, fabric, cork, lenticular films, holographic paper or films and anything that emanates out of a creative designer’s mind. As for embellishments, there was a time when either using a cast coated paper or a good varnish were the only options, but now a whole world of new ways to embellish labels has erupted. Using multiple printing technologies to get the best of every printing process, adding value to win customers and beat competition is becoming a necessity for printers. Today we see labels being made in-line in a single pass employing a combination of flexographic printing for spot colours or pantones, offset to create vignettes or skin tones, screen for higher deposition of ink, rotogravure to get the best results of metallic inks, cold foil, hot foil, using a variety of varnishes to create effects like textures, high gloss, matt, silk finish or just spot varnish, embossing and debossing to bring amazing results in the finished labels. We see printers create labels with raised effects like dew drops, print that seems to give the look and feel of wood and fruits with pulp, giving a natural effect. Adding further to the capabilities, now printers are employing digital printing either in combination as mentioned or as repass to do variable printing and or personalization. The options are getting to be limitless.

Security Labelling: Increasing number of instances of duplication, counterfeiting and pilferage has created a need for security to be made an important part of labeling.

Counterfeiting products is a problem not only limited to pharmaceuticals industry, but it also affects 5 to 7 percent of global trade. It has impacted other industries as well, such as electronics, automotive parts, spirits, consumer products and high-end cosmetics. Earlier security labels were only with security cuts incorporated at the time of die cutting, then specialized stocks with overt and covert features like the Void labels started being used followed by destructible labels. Holograms also have been largely employed and is now hologram production is a large segment of label industry. With development in pre-press and printing technologies printers use micro printing which is not visible to naked human eyes and other such printing methods used in printing currency to inbuild security in labels. Barcodes are also being largely employed to play an important role in security in labels besides aiding variable statutory information, track n trace information, inventory and logistical data. A very important development in recent times has been Intelligent labels that include near field communication (NFC) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to perform a wide variety of tasks. Integrating these capabilities with traditional labels is one of the most dramatic development in labeling.

Printing Equipment: The narrow web self-adhesive label manufacturing commenced in India in the first half of 1970s on small, about 4-5inches label presses imported from far eastern countries mostly from Japan at that time. These small narrow web presses that did block printing were extremely slow about 5 meters per minute but still did the printing and die cutting inline in a single pass, that was its USP.

It may appear strange to the younger printers of today that there were no drying arrangements in these presses. Printers would print and then hang the printed rolls of labels on a clothesline for drying before rerolling them on a core and sending to customers. Shop floors of narrow web label printers would look like washing yards referred to in India as “Dhobhi ghat”. The printing technologies with time went through continuous changes. The flatbed block printing made way for semi-rotary intermittent letterpress using polymer plates. With improvement in Flexo ink and plate technology, rotary label presses with central impression drum (CI Label Presses) found their way into print shops. These provided faster speeds at increased widths of 7 inches(180mm)-10inches(250mm) and as the buyers became more demanding on colours, speeds and performance, together with further evolution of prepress, advancements in plate making and registration controls, the CI narrow web label presses moved out making way for modular presses using water-based inks with hot air dryers. However, CI presses continued to be used for other applications like lami-tubes and mid-web flexible packaging. Label presses have over the years evolved to print wider web widths of 330mm, 430mm, 530mm and at last Labelexpo presses over 650mm were displayed. Printing speeds have also escalated to over 200meters per minute. In an evolving scenario of rising demands for perfection in print and printers facing challenges in reproducibility, colour variations due to viscosity changes in ink trays and set up wastage, were releived when UV inks, UV lamps for drying and short web path became a standard part of presses. The UV printing also enabled printing and converting filmic labels after addition of corona treaters inline to enhance print adhesion. Some label companies have of now reverted to include a combination of hot air and UV as some food products have witnessed migration of photo initiators in UV inks migrating into the food causing contamination, so the option to print with water-based inks comes in handy to service such requirements. LED UV also is being seen as replacement as there is energy cost saving and better as regards migration issues. Ideal solution maybe Electron Beam curing which is costly but that has still to be accepted by Indian label industry. There is hardly any installation with EB curing for production of narrow web labels in India.

Other evolutions that happened include label presses designed for quick change overs to enable a large number of jobs per day, servo drives to eliminate gears coupled with advanced vision camera systems to achieve perfect registrations in both machine and cross direction without human intervention, better matrix removal, web cleaners to eliminate pinholes and print aberrations, web turn bars to print both sides of the web along with the delam-relam function for enabling printing on back or the adhesive coated side of the web. Movable lamination stations and embellishing stations like foiling add value to the printed labels. Multiple die-stations to enable functions like embossing, debossing, slitting besides simple die cutting or sheeting have become a standard function demanded by high-end printing companies. Change of heavy magnetic cylinders was a cumbersome and time-consuming job requiring manpower and lifting arrangements. Now in a couple of minutes one can slide-out and slide-in a magnetic cylinder.

The pandemic that surfaced in end of 2019 and drastically impacted the whole world and made businesses suffer for all of 2020 and when we are hoping for it to taper off in 2021 providing relief to mankind, it has started to resurface. It has prompted the industry to re-engineer their working. The aim now is to work with less. Workflow management, increased automation, clean room manufacturing, inventory controls, effective management systems, etc.  are the buzzwords that even smaller entrepreneurs understand and are making efforts to implement them.  Automatic butt slicers/reel changing systems to achieve continuous 24X7 production when needed, waste management equipment sucking waste matrix right from the die cutting stage and shredding and inline inspection/colour management systems to reduce rejections which were earlier a preference of only a selected few, but these are now a part of standard equipment configurations envisaged commonly by Label printing  companies planning expansion or planning new setup. The evolution and shifting of trends in self-adhesive labels have been an ongoing process and printers need to adapt the changes as they originate to stay fit, competitive and innovative.

Author’s footnote: Each parameter listed above and many other parameter’s like inks, special adhesives, coatings and machine design are subjects that are to lengthy to be accommodated into one article and need separate coverage. 

Written by Harveer Sahni, Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-India April 2021

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 thehindubusinessline.com 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

Ashok Jaipuria
Ashok Jaipuria led Cosmo Films Limited, headquartered in New Delhi, is one of the largest manufacturers of BOPP (Biaxially Oriented Poly Propylene) films in the world. According to Wikipedia they are in fact the largest manufacturer of thermal lamination films in the world. Ashok Jaipuria is prided with his lineage from an elite Marwari family (people from the Marwar region of Rajasthan).   Ashok is the only son of his father Late Sri Sitaram Jaipuria, who was an Industrialist and Promoter of Swadeshi Polytex Limited,  Swadeshi Cotton Mills Limited and was a member of the Upper House of the Parliament of India. Ashok started his own firm Cosmo Films in 1976 with an objective to manufacture and market BOPP films. He qualified in Business Administration and Marketing Science in the year 1973. BOPP film was a licensed item those days, visualizing growth and opportunity in this nascent area; he applied for and acquired the license to manufacture it. He setup and commissioned his first BOPP production line in 1981 at Chikalthana, Aurangabad. Being one of the first entrants to produce BOPP in India, the initial years were very tough, more so because customer awareness did not exist and educating them on the product was a challenge. Print lamination and self adhesive packaging tapes were the first target segments for this product. Once settled, there was no looking back, they commissioned their second production line at Waluj, Aurangabad in 1988 and third line also at Waluj in 1996.
 
Entering the new millennium, Cosmo Films was steadily growing, so was the market for 
Cosmo Films Vadodara Unit
BOPP and also the market share of Cosmo for BOPP films. With a positive situation prevailing, they became bullish and registered unprecedented growth in this decade.  In 2001 they commissioned their fourth line and a year later in 2002 they acquired Gujarat Propack Limited, the Karjan Vadodara based BOPP manufacturer which became their fifth BOPP line. In 2003 the sixth line was commissioned and in the very next year in 2004 they decided to go for specialties in BOPP by adding a metalizer, an extrusion coating plant and yet another BOPP line taking their total count to seven. Expanding on coated products, they commissioned their second extrusion coating line in 2005. Encouraged by the success, Cosmo added five more extrusion coating lines. Two were added in 2006, one in 2007 and two more in 2008. Extending their footprint globally, in 2009 they acquired USA headquartered GBC’s Print Finishing Business from Acco Brands Corporation USA. Also in 2009 they enhanced their BOPP production capacity with yet another line at Vadodara, taking the total to 8 lines. 
 
 
Cosmo Films Hagerstown USA
They wrapped up the decade by installing their 2nd metalizer at Karjan, Vadodara. In the second decade of the millennium Cosmo continued on their growth path. Pankaj Poddar also of Marwari descent, a qualified Chartered Accountant, took charge as the CEO of Cosmo Films in 2011. In the ensuing years a new plant was commissioned with their existing eighth extrusion thermal coating line in South Korea. Two more BOPP lines in Aurangabad SEZ and Karjan Baroda were added in subsequent years taking the total BOPP production lines to ten. In addition, they have five coating lines, three metalizers and one CPP (Cast Polypropylene) line. When the first line was commissioned Cosmo’s capacity was only 850 tons per annum, which now has reached 2,00,000 tons from five different locations that include three in India, one in Korea and one in USA, the biggest facility being the one in Vadodara. The production in India spreads over 100 acres of land with 850 permanent employees. Even though volume growth of BOPP was coming from packaging and lamination yet the business had sometime along the way started to get competitive. To maintain their leadership and profitability, they had in the 1990s, shifted focus to specialties in films and label films for wrap around labels, IML (that had started evolving) along with limited presence in self adhesive labels.  Out of their initial endeavours, white film for Parle and production of synthetic paper was vital in their rapid growth. 
 
With Pankaj Poddar at helm, the company became more aggressive especially in the label segment. The label segment comprising of self-adhesive labels, wrap around labels and IML is continuously growing in volumes. They supply these films worldwide with some sales also in China. Today leading Indian Labelstock and other label producers use Cosmo’s products for labels. Label films continue to become a substantial part of the company’s product offerings these are now around 15% of their total production. Cosmo has invested in creating the right products to facilitate top of the line decorative packaging. Their offerings include films that are white opaque pearlised, transparent, solid white, gloss/matt metalized, etc. Their films have a clean surface, have excellent gloss, high clarity and can be printed by different print technologies that include printing by using Water based inks, UV inks, Gravure inks, Thermal transfer ribbon printing and some Digital print processes. According to Pankaj, while the domestic BOPP market is growing at around 10 % per annum, the growth is slightly more in self adhesive labels and IML, yet Cosmo is registering a growth rate above this due to their increasing exports. They are committed to diversify more and more into the specialty segments due to depressed margins of commodity products in a competitive scenario. They will soon be launching direct thermal printable film and paper. Being firmly committed to maintain their leadership, for them delivery of quality and innovative products is a priority. They have invested more than 1.50 Million US$ in their new Research and Development/Innovation centre. The centre has capability to analyse the entire film’s chemistry viz. surface, polymer and chemical analysis.  The centre is also capable of testing all properties of the film right from its concept stage way upto its end applications.  Centre can also conduct in house  printing tests with diverse processes like Screen, UV flexo, Gravure printing, Direct Thermal and Thermal Transfer Printing.
 
Pankaj is emphatic that BOPP consumption will continue to grow at a fast pace, but he wishes to see Cosmo diversify more into specialty segments. They will also be adding a Cast Poly Propylene film (CPP) and metalized CPP film line in 2018; they will also be installing a PET film line. Both product lines will be packaging and label centric. PET will be majorly offered as label face or later for release liner applications. PET liners can reduce the adverse impact of liner waste on the environment by bringing down the tonnage of liners using thinner liners. While most of the present paper siliconised liners go to landfills, PET liners can be recycled. Capacity enhancement for synthetic paper is also on cards. Their biggest competition at global level comes from Jindal Poly films subsequent to their acquisition of Exxon Mobil’s BOPP films division and from Innovia films. However still, Pankaj says, “We will be enhancing capacities. As for specialties, we have no real competition”. Pensively and hesitantly he does agree that digital printing direct on product that will eliminate the substrate maybe a challenge but he is confident it will not affect Cosmo’s growth plans.
 
Pankaj Poddar
Pankaj Poddar is an alumnus of Delhi’s Shri Ram College of commerce (SRCC). After finishing his B.Com at SRCC, he completed his articles to be a qualified CA and then completed his degree in MBA from IMT Ghaziabad. He worked with Ernst and Young for 7 years, for automotive parts company Delphi for 5 years two years each with Reckitt Benckiser and Avon Beauty Products. He comes from a traditional Marwari business family, his father dealt with heavy earthmoving machinery spare parts, brother traded in air-dryers and chilling plants and sister’s husband supplies alloy metal to auto parts companies. Moving away from the tradition Pankaj preferred to be a professional executive. His wife is a dietician and they are blessed with two school going children, a son and a daughter. When he joined Cosmo, the turnover of the company was Rupees 850 Crores (130Million USD) and it has now reached Rupees 1900 Crores (300 Million USD). He was awarded as “Indian CEO of the year” by ABCI, Association of Business Communicators of India at their “Brand India Summit” in 2016.  When Pankaj took charge, Cosmo Film’s share was trading at Rs.80-90 and now it has reached Rs.350-400.
 
Cosmo Films is an environmentally conscious company and continues to make strides in implementing eco friendly measures.  All coatings on their films are water based and they support water based ink printing for conversion of their films. They are an ISO: 14001 certified company. The waste water in all their plants, after effluent treatment, is used for gardening. All plant sites have water harvesting. Natural lighting is used wherever possible. They plan to initiate a solar power plant at their Vadodara site as a first experiment and if found successful, they will replicate in other sites as well. Every employee in their organization has to undergo training. As a part of their corporate social responsibility, they work on supplementing basic education provided to young children in government schools in and around their plants through various sustainable programs like Computer Literacy, basic English Learning, basic reading, writing, and arithmetic skills. They have trained about 150 rural youth as qualified teachers to be able to execute this and till date more than 25000 students have benefitted from these programs.
 
Pankaj feels in 5 years Cosmo’s turnover will more than double up from the present 300 million US Dollars to 600-700 US Dollars. This he states will be just from the ongoing organic growth. However if they install more projects and happen to acquire some businesses, the turnover may reach USD 1 billion. The present share of specialty films in the company portfolio is around 40%, he hopes and wishes to increase this share to 60% so as to keep adding value to its bottom line.

 

 

 

Written for Packaging South Asia magazine by Harveer Sahni Chairman, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi, December 2017.
 
Print Publications wanting to reproduce may do so by giving credit to the author Harveer Sahni and by mentioning that it is published in arrangement with "Packaging South Asia"
 
 
 
Add caption
Labelexpo Europe 2017 at Brussels has been the biggest ever edition in the event's history so far. The show that is primarily dedicated to self adhesive labels industry has now evolved to  different segments of labels and into the larger world of print packaging. Evidently the show will continue to become bigger in the years that follow. As per information from Tarsus, the show occupied nine exhibition halls to be 12 percent bigger than the previous edition in 2015. It hosted 679 exhibitors, including 198 new participants. There was 25 percent more working machinery demonstrated at the show, including a number of product launches. Labelexpo Europe attracted large delegations from Brazil, China, India and Japan, the show reported 37,724 visitors; an increase of 5.6 percent on 35,739 visitors to Labelexpo Europe 2015. There were a number of sales recorded on the show floor.

I reproduce here images from my pictorial walk through this amazing show and the events organised on the sides and attended by me.

 





 
The Omet Agents Dinner one day prior to Labelexpo






 




Harveer Sahni and Amit Sheth as Judges at World Label Awards





Judging in progress for World Label awards













Chinese Press Manufacturers Weigang, stand








With Mike Russel International Sales Director Mark Andy











 
Mark Andy/Rotoflex Stand  




 
With Dirk Schroder, Sales Manager E+L displaying their intelligent inspection system






 






 
With Pankaj Bhardwaj Vice President and General Manager, South Asia Pacific and Sub Saharan Africa of Avery Dennison, India at their stand.







 






 
At the The Label Industry Global Awards Night and Gala Dinner, Tony White announcing the "Best of the Best" in World Label awards heldon the sidelines of Labelexpo Europe!







 






 
LMAI (India's label association) President Kuldip Goel and Vice President Rajesh Nema with Labelexpo Managing Director Lisa Milburn.







 







Professor Tan Junqiao receiving the receiving the Stanton Avery Lifetime achievement award from Georges Gravanis, President, Label and Graphic Materials, Avery Dennison and Mike Fairley





 
With Douglas Emslie, Tarsus Group Managing Director  


 







With FINAT President Chris Ellison, FINAT events and communication manager Jakovina and LMAI Vice President Rajesh Nema





 





With Jules Lejuene, Managing Director FINAT







 






FINAT President in meeting with Mike Fairley at the "Label Academy" Stand

 








Networking at Dinner hosted by Lisa Milburn for Industry friends and colleagues around the world

 








Jakob Landsberg Sales Director of Nilpeter with Niklas Olsson Global Brand Manager of Flintgroup








 
With Lisa and Mike Fairley at the dinner        
SMI Team at their Stand



















 
 
Amit Ahuja Multitec            














 
 





 
The Gallus Stand
 
With Lars and Peter Eriksen of Nilpeter
 
Kocher + Beck Stand
 
Karan Reddy of SticOn papers Hyderabad
 
Tapan Patel of BST Eltromat















 
 
 
 
 
John of Orthotec  
Bobst Stand  


















 
Gavin Rittmeyer of Martin Automatic
MPS Stand


















 
Kapil Anand of Cosmo Films
Marco Calcagni of OMET


















 
 
Spilker Team














 
The Sahnis with Paolo Grasso, Omet













 






 
No Labelexpo at Brussels is complete without having spent a casual fun evening at the Grand Place!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


Compiled By Harveer Sahni, Chairman, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi October 2017
Dhiresh Gosalia
As a young boy in school I had heard my school principal speaking about the American people. He had spent long time in the United States before returning to India to become the principal of our school. He said, the Americans when talking about their country, business or otherwise would like to hear, tell and experience words like Largest, Biggest, Tallest, Deepest, Longest, Costliest and so on. The habit was promptly adopted by the north Indian Punjabis, and with time, people across India have adopted the habit. They love it and wish to hear, tell and try hard to achieve this benchmark. Dhiresh Gosalia is one such achiever. He is the undisputed largest manufacturer of pressure sensitive adhesives (PSA) in India. His company Jesons Industries Limited commands over 70% of the market share for these products. It is a unique feat that few people aspire and achieve in their life time. Dhiresh Gosalia Managing Director of Jesons, is an approachable, realistic and straightforward individual. A dreamer and achiever packed in one. I remember once some 10 years ago when I approached him for a supply problem (He has been a star supplier for my label stock manufacturing company), his reply was clear cut and straightforward, “I have always wanted my company to be system driven and not person driven” he further added, “if there is an anomaly, I need to correct it. Else the customers need to understand the system we have”. Dhiresh has built a strong company on sheer hard work, commitment and delegation. He firmly believes in the mantra, “Think big and be innovative”.
 
Self Adhesive Stickers/Labels

Shashikant Gosalia, a Mumbai based trader in textile chemicals saw future in industry and manufacturing. In 1981, he setup his startup enterprise, Jesons Corporation to manufacture wood adhesive and binders. By 1985 he saw potential in the growing self adhesive label and tape market and started producing pressure sensitive adhesives (PSA’s). The initial plant consisted of two reaction vessels, one of 1 ton capacity and the second of 500 KG. The total installed production capacity was 300 tons per annum. Those days they were producing just 5 tons per month. In 1992 Shashikant saw growth in the market and decided to move his manufacturing to a bigger 3000 square feet factory in Palghar near Mumbai. Unfortunately that year he passed away due to a lung ailment, leaving the reigns of his startup venture in the hands of his son Dhiresh, who had been in the business with him for four years. Dhiresh was used to the fact that his father was the boss and handling the company but when responsibility came to rest on him due to this tragedy, he took hold of himself and indulged in the right earnest. He took stock of the situation and reviewed the ground realities prevailing at that point of time. The size of operations in his company was rather small for a huge debt of Rs. 85 lakhs. This did not deter his determination to think big. He was a dreamer, which he still is, as he self confesses. A dreamer who works hard to make his dreams a reality. He saw a whole lot of future in the PSA industry. He fondly remembers the day in 1985 when they produced and sold the “Sticker adhesive” to their first customer, Gunvantbhai of Excel inks, a trader of screen printing materials. He carried the 100kg lot in his car to deliver it. Dhiresh decided to indulge vigorously in this product segment and studied the business very intricately. He came to a decision that they were using a wrong chemistry for the PSA segment in which they wanted to excel. He immediately decided to switch over from VAM (Vinyl acetate Monomer) based chemistry to Acrylate based chemistry. It was a tough call but he took it boldly and emphatically, proving his resolve to lead the company to success.
PSA Tapes
As a young boy Dhiresh had dreamt of meeting the challenge of excelling against the multinational giants like Rohm & Haas and BASF who are world leaders in PSA’s. The task was gigantic yet the resolve was firm. He sold his Mumbai factory, home and office to raise working capital for his manufacturing. It was time to shift gears and move his business to a higher level. The process thereafter has been historical. In 1994 the second unit at Palghar was commissioned to produce Polyurethane based adhesive for flexible packaging and PSA’s. In 1996 when incentives and tax benefits were offered, they shifted to a small 2000 square feet unit in Daman. A year later the facility at Daman had swelled to be a 20,000 square feet manufacturing unit. Another year down the line in 1998, Dhiresh bought a 60,000 square feet plot opposite the existing factory at Daman and built a 45000 square feet plant creating additional capacity.  At this time Jesons collaborated with Anchor adhesive to produce Polygrip brand rubber resin based adhesives. This Polygrip part of business was later in 2010 sold along with brand to Atul Ltd.

 
Jesons Daman Factory
Dhiresh’s resolve to think big, lead him to plan manufacturing globally at locations outside India. In 2003 he setup a 120,000 square feet factory in China and in 2004 a 60,000 square feet unit in Nepal to produce PSA’s and Paint emulsions. Unfortunately both these units had to be closed. The China unit was sold off in 2011 as it was not sustainable due to language problems and difficult work culture. The Nepal unit had to be closed in 2009 due to Maoist terrorist problems. Two of their security guards were shot dead. However now, the process for restarting the Nepal unit has been initiated. Production is expected to commence soon. In 2008, Jesons moved northwards in India and setup and additional manufacturing capacity at a 100,000 square feet facility in Roorkee to produce PSA, Paint emulsion, Construction chemicals and Leather chemicals. This year in 2012, Jesons has taken a very futuristic step by setting up a 5000 square feet state of art technology centre at Navi Mumbai, with an over Rupees 3.00 Crore investment in testing instruments. The centre is headed by a senior scientist specializing in polymer chemistry. With an overwhelming 70% marketshare in the self adhesive label and tape market, Dhiresh is confident there is scope for more. He, in his stride has taken on, on established players in the trade like Pidilite and Jubilant and has left them far behind in the number game, when we talk of PSA’s. He however laments that the pressure sensitive adhesive products industry lacks visionaries and companies who can take on multinational competitors like Avery and Raflatac. He feels, if he has succeeded in presence of world leaders like Rohm & Haas and BASF, others can also do it. All it needs is the ability to think big and innovate. Labels and tapes is a highly fragmented segment of the industry. It took 15 years for our coaters to achieve a speed of 50 meters per minute, there may be hardly one unit coating at 100 meters per minute. Big investment in state of art coating equipment is needed, he reiterates the need is to think big and innovate! Money is available for those who Endeavour.

Dhiresh is an avid reader and finds books as ideal motivators while his parents have been the teachers, the teachers who are the influence on every person’s persona. Being the only son, he joined his father’s business after graduating from Jai Hind College Mumbai. His only sister is married to a gold medalist eye surgeon now settled in Mumbai. Extremely interesting; In between his busy schedule and intense involvement in business, he found time to complete a three year executive Management programm from Harvard Business School!
Jesons Parel Office
His company Jesons Industries Limited is headquartered in an impressive 6500 square feet 9th floor corporate office in prestigious Peninsula Towers in Lower Parel, Mumbai. Jesons’ manufacturing emanates out of a total working space of over 1,85,000 square feet. 250 employees work tirelessly to produce 60000 tons per annum out of the installed capacity of 86000 tons per annum. It really is an achievement considering the initial installed capacity of 300 tons per annum. More or less close to what the capacity that was per year is now per day! PSA’s are 55-60% of their business with sales in 23 countries. Sale in last year was Rupees 450 Crores and is targeted at 550 Crores in the current financial year. 5 years hence Dhiresh feels they will be over Rs.1200 Crores. While talking about these figures he still remembers his first big break in the PSA industry when he sold a fifty thousand Rupees consignment to Hindustan Adhesives Limited, considered the most important PSA user at that time. It was a morale booster. The most difficult time came not long ago when in 2008, the Indian Rupee started to depreciate continuously. Raw material prices were falling and customers were expecting and getting lower prices. The buying was expensive while sales were being made at lower prices. First time in his life, Dhiresh made a massive loss! Jesons was not able to service their loans. Firm resolve, power to think and hard work is what it is all about, Dhiresh drove-in, the highest profit for Jesons in the year that followed.

Madhavi, Dhiresh’s wife is a masters in philosophy. Intelligent, smart, business woman and yet a home maker! She has been supporting Dhiresh by being at his side throughout. In the last two decades that I have known them I have seen Madhavi coming to office each morning after sending children to school and returning home in the afternoons to be with them. She has provided the perfect support. Her influence on this business is evident, just look around in the Jesons corporate office and you will see women manning all the important desks! Dhiresh has to agree women deliver! Honestly, even I believe. After seeing Jesons’ progress, I confirm, YES they do. Dhiresh and Madhavi have two wonderful daughters, Jhelum and Raveena. Jhelum has completed her BBA from London and followed it up with Masters in Theater production also from London. She is now in Mumbai and from earlier in June 2012 (Last month) she has started to work in Jesons. The reigns in her hand appear to be not far away. Raveena is still studying for graduation at Jaihind College, Mumbai.
In three years Dhiresh plans to completely professionalise the company, step down as CEO and hand over charge to a professional CEO. He will perhaps have more time for himself and his hobbies that include reading, walking and playing tennis. He is not sure what he will do after handing over charge of Jesons. He will still be working and that is sure.  “It could be a foray into entertainment, another venture or a completely different enterprise.” However still the mantra will remain, “Think big and innovate”.
Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 1st July, 2012.
When Shakespeare said, “Frailty, thy name is woman” he probably did not realize the strength that women generate when in a seat of power, cannot be matched by men. The level of mental endurance women have has made many a strong men in an otherwise male dominated society, lean on their feminine and delicate shoulders in hours of distress. Women have risen from being mere homemakers to world leaders. Margaret Thatcher and Indira Gandhi lead their countries and made the world realize that women can lead from the front with an iron hand. Over the ages women around the world have been given lesser opportunities to literacy and technical education as compared to men. It is a fact that countries that have invested in educating their women and have promoted their empowerment have seen their economies and rate of development grow faster. Across the world more and more women are now acquiring expertise and capabilities similar to their men folk. They strive hard to excel in their selected areas of work. We are seeing that change happening in India as well. A society that insisted on restricting their women to household chores is gradually transforming. With government spending heavily in bringing public awareness on the need to also educate the girl child and empower women, the results are evident. Walk into any big company’s office and you see a lot of young and bright women carrying on their work with confidence and crisp efficiency. Women are now more educated and capable of involving themselves in more and more arenas that were earlier the mainstay of men only. Whether it is police or army, flying aircrafts or travelling into space, heading businesses or governments, they are not restricting themselves. Our Indian label industry did not have active business women managers till not very long ago. All that is changing now, Indian women are acquiring technical and management skills to lead high levels of investments in the label industry that is in a growth path. It is thus that I felt it is time to recognize the contribution of these women.
 
Honey Vazirani
In 1989 my friend Sushil Bhatia, who used to work for Avery Dennison before he started his own business, introduced me to a young and vibrant Honey Vazirani, working at Paper Products Limited, Thane. That was almost the beginning of this wonderful girls’ journey into the world of labels. From being a management trainee in1989, she rose to be the head of the labeling division of this 700 Crore company which is heavily into flexible packaging. It is truly a decorative and colorful travel. Ever since then Honey has been at the forefront of PPL’s foray into production of labels which began in 1991. Her job involved client servicing, marketing, product development and leading the labels team at PPL. She has handled key customers who are a virtual who is who of the fmcg sector. Servicing demanding customers like HUL and Dabur and bringing to them the most premium and modern labeling technologies has been a passion for her. In words of Torsten Jung Lenz, who in those days worked for Jacstadt Germany, “Honey is married to labels!” Her ambition is to excel in everything she does. Having spent 21 years in the industry she took a sabbatical in 2009. She spent a whole year consolidating herself by travelling, reading, spending time with friends and relatives and enjoying good food. Yes, she is a self confessed foodie! In 2010 she returned to PPL, which has four plants and 1500 employees, to head the company’s HR department. While she is contented and enjoying her new role in HR, yet you can see the twinkle in her eyes when you ask about her future in the labels industry. Her advice to others in the label printing and packaging industry is that it is a pity that for most in the industry, “Good enough is enough” She motivates people in her company by her mantra, “ Good enough is not enough”.
In the late eighties, I had the chance to meet a very talented screen printer Kartar Singh Dunglay of Goodwork Co. which had started to print in 1955. He is one of the elders in our industry from an era and class of people who were in love with their work as the youngsters are today with their girlfriends. They would think work and dream work. It was during that time I met his dynamic wife Kusum Dunglay. Kusum is an MBA from London University and lead Goodwork's entry into label printing. She first bought a Mark Andy press and followed it up with a fully loaded Gallus for specialized and decorative labels. She now heads sister concern Reydunn Label Printing Pvt. Ltd. With a work force of 80, she is handling clients like ITC, L’Oreal and other leading FMCG groups in India. Given the experience and innovative heritage that her husband mentored, she was one of the earliest ones to invest in a combination press. Kusum Dunglay is quite excited at the prospects of tapping the growth emanating out of the Indian indulgences in retail marketing. In 2002 at one of the roadshows at New Delhi for promoting the India Label Show, in my presentation, I talked about the two women who were heading successful label printing companies at that time. Both are like sisters to me. One is of course is Kusum Dunglay, while the other is Amila Singhvi. Amila Singhvi heads the large IPP at Noida. Since her print packaging business is growing multifold at a fast pace, she has decided to gradually exit from the label business and concentrate in the packaging business.
 
Soft spoken gentleman of the label industry Bharat Mehta is both, the history and present of the Indian label industry. He is one of the first label printers in India. I could sit with him and chat for hours about our time spent in this industry which has evolved like a family for him and me. Bharat Mehta’s Super Labels is one of the leading and respected label printing companies in Mumbai. His two sons have joined business in recent times after completing their management studies. Silently but emphatically, providing vital inputs and support is Bharat Mehta’s wife Meena Mehta, a B.Sc in Chemistry. For over 20 years she has been driving the organization through motivation, enthusiasm and participating in all decision making.
Renuka Raj, an MBA from IIFT Delhi, spent the first three years of her career in a paints company. Later she moved on to promote and run a pharmaceuticals business. A friend proposed for them to join in starting a label printing business, Renuka found it interesting as it was a backward integration for her pharmaceuticals business. That was the beginning for her labels venture Ra Labels at Hyderabad. She has been heading that business for the last 10 years. According to Renuka it was the first flexographic label printing company in Andhra Pradesh. Renuka has ambition to increase investment and grow in this industry to become leaders in Andhra Pradesh.
Divya Keshav
 Delhi based Shaikher Kaishiv of Krishna Halftone Pvt. Ltd. Is also one of the earliest entrants into the label industry in the decade of 1980’s. In recent times he has handed over the reigns of this company to his daughter Divya Keshav, the present Managing Director. Divya works hard in this male dominated industry to carry forward the good work done by her father. She is post graduate in marketing and an alumnus of the India School of business, Hyderabad. She is recipient of “Rising Talent 2010” award given to 25 women entrepreneurs below the age of 40 across the globe by the “Women Forum for Economy & Society” France. Her company operates from two locations in New Delhi and Noida with multiple label presses.  There are other women entrepreneurs who I am aware of but have not responded to my emails requesting information to cover them in this article. Shweta Sheth, an alumnus of Amherst, Massachusetts USA, is actively involved in the working of Primark labels as a director. Primark is a part of the General Metallisers Group.  Anjali Deshpande, wife of LMAI General Secretary, Ramesh Deshpande has been the driving force behind the success of Renu Prints, Aurangabad. She has been honored for her work by the ministry of MSME (Micro Small and Medium Enterprises). Then there is the enterprising Ramesh at S K Labels in Chennai, who has also put his daughter in command.
 
 
 
Priyata Raghavan
After completing her post graduation course from IIM Lucknow, Priyata Raghavan joined the FMCG division of ITC Limited, before moving over to Sai Security Printers, a company owned by her father, Vijay Raghavan. Sai had invested in an imported press for producing scratch lotteries but a sudden ban on lotteries made them to sit up and rethink. The growing label segment presented the opportunity and they decided to enter this field. At that point of time Priyata took over the complete operations of the company in North India. The company has another unit in Bangalore. Priyata has lead the company’s label printing operations to profitability and an emphatic presence in the high quality label segment. Sai security printers surprised all at the last Labelexpo in New Delhi by announcing purchase of two Gallus Label Presses, one for their unit at Faridabad and the second one for Bangalore. Priyata sees tremendous scope in the growing label industry. She says, “There is a lot of scope for well managed vendors of high-end labels and packagings”. She is leading Sai Security Printers to be a leader, by offering well defined levels of services and technical competence.
 
 

 

 

Sandhya Shetty and Santosh Shetty
At the end of an industry meeting called by Roger Pellow, Managing Director of the UK based Labelexpo group in early 2008, to promote the next India Label Show, as I came down to the lobby of Hotel Grand Hyatt in Mumbai, I saw Manish Kapoor of Nilpeter in a serious discussion with a young man whom I did not recognize. Manish introduced him as Santosh Shetty Managing Director of Surface Graphics, a company founded by his father H G Shetty and involved in manufacture of cartons. Santosh was considering purchase of a Nilpeter press to expand into the label production. The venture was to be headed by his sister Sandhya Shetty. Sandhya is a graduate in Chemistry and Masters in management Studies (Marketing). On completing studies she had spent 8 years in the field of business research and analysis. She worked on projects involving Government contracts, Defence sector in the US and in the hospitality sector in India. When her brother Santosh brought the idea of producing labels to Sandhya, her feminine instincts went to work. The yearning to create products that would be decorative, add to aesthetics, have scope of innovation in design came to the fore. She called it a day for her research and analysis job and decided to be a “labels girl” from day one. Labelexpo 2008 was held in very traumatic times. Mumbai had suffered a dastardly terror attack and the global economies were in crisis mode and nose-diving. Sandhya’s new Nilpeter was being showcased at the show in New Delhi’s Exhibition Center Pragati Maidan. A confident brother sister team of Santosh and Sandhya were at the Nilpeter stand all the time meeting fellow printers, prospective suppliers, and other colleagues in the label industry. The industry found an instant friend in the ever smiling Sandhya. Despite the difficult economic scenario, she was determined to do justice to the MD’s chair that she was occupying in her company, Synergy Packaging Pvt. Ltd. and lead the company to its vision of success. In just two years of starting, Sandhya and her team produced their first award winning label. She aspires to take her company to global standards and global presence.

 

 

It was extremely difficult for me to write on so many women in one go. When I decided to do this article, I assumed that it would be a relatively simple job for me, given the knowledge and experience in the industry. Once I started to gather more and more information on these women and their capabilities, I was confused. I was wondering how short sighted Shakespeare may have been while calling women as frail. Well, that was his personal opinion and may have been true at that point of time. These are intelligent women with amazing capabilities and their craving to excel is unique. They are all educated and technically capable to talk the language their customers and their team will understand. Silently and efficiently they have worked their way to a position of strength. I wonder if I have done justice to their work. I could have written a separate article on each one of them and their achievements. These women are homemakers, mothers, sisters, and friends besides being the successful business persons they are. The more I tried to discover the more there was to learn. Maybe another time I will try to write on them separately but at this time it was necessary for me to write on them collectively, because it is my tribute to these women in the label industry, “The women who endeavored!”
Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 6th March, 2011.

The following article was written in 2006, The second part written in July 2019 is published in a series of four parts. the first part 2A is available at http://bit.ly/2xOxY1P

Years ago in 1981, I came across a book on the house of Tata’s. The book written by Russi Lala was named, “Creation Of Wealth” and it chronicled the events that led to Tata’s becoming the biggest Industrial group in India at that time.

After reading the book I was overwhelmed and wished that some day I will write something like this. Maybe track the roots of my own large extended family. Somehow I never got down to seriously working on this. I guess the opportunity came around again when I was invited by Roger Pellow of Tarsus to make two presentations at the first India Label Summit in 2006. I decided that in the first presentation where we take an overview of the India Label Market, I will chronicle the events that led to the establishment of the narrow web label printing industry in India. I am sure that this topic is of prime interest to all the label printers in India. Though it is extremely difficult to put all those interesting historical happenings, bottlenecks or interesting landmarks into this presentation yet I have tried to put together in whatever best way I could. I feel less then writing a book, there cannot be proper justice done to the subject. Maybe one day if I can find time, I will attempt it. Meanwhile getting data on this has been a very interesting job and I thank my senior colleagues in the Industry, without whose inputs and help, I could not have put together this presentation.

The very beginning

The credit of bringing self adhesive labels, in their present form, to India goes to a US multi national, Johnson and Johnson. It was in the turbulent post independence time in 1947 that Johnson & Johnson came to India.

In 1957 they established Johnson & Johnson India Ltd. A couple of years later they started the permacell division to make self adhesive tapes. It was around 1965 that they entered into the manufacture of self adhesive labels. They installed a rotary label press. They sold only converted labels and did not offer any labelstock to others in the market. So there was no real scope at that time for others to setup label presses or any other sticker manufacturing facility.

The Decade of sixties.

The first self adhesive label produced by an Indian printer also started around the same time in 1965, almost thirty years after Stanton Avery produced the first self adhesive label in Los Angeles, California.

Manohar Lal Bhatia, a screen printer, producing water transfers in his company, Sharat Industries, did pioneering work and produced what was the first self adhesive sticker in India. Using a PVC face stock with pressure sensitive adhesive supplied by Calico and a Polyethylene sheet as a release liner they manufactured their stickers. The reason they did not use paper as face material is that silicon release liners were not available and Polyethylene provided for a very tight release due to which the paper would tear off. Manohar Das Bhatia was later joined by his two sons Shyam and Rattan. They worked hard to make self adhesive stickers under their brand “Sharastick” popular in those days. While Manohar Bhatia is no more, my efforts to trace his son Shyam who probably still produces labels have been futile. I tried to reconfirm if Manohar Bhatia really was the first and got the reply from Badal Hasija, a screen printer with over 45 years of experience. “101 %, he was the first” says Badal and added “I even remember the first label he made was for Gabriel shock absorbers and it left me wondering for days, what Manohar Bhatia had produced”.

Jagdish Zaveri of Preeti Arts has also been one of the earliest of screen printers who produced self adhesive stickers and started around the same time. Other prominent screen printers who did pioneering work in stickers include, Hamid Vasi of Triace, Dinesh Gogari of Diamond Stickers, Vasu Rawal of Prachi Graphics and the list goes on. Their contributions however were more in the early seventies.

As the decade of sixties was coming to an end, a young Suresh Doshi from a family of textile merchants, who had drifted into distribution of PVC and decorative laminates, decided to try his hands at manufacturing of self adhesive Wall Papers. In 1969 he traveled to Germany to visit various machinery producing companies and he finally settled to buy a Kroenert coater for his new venture.

This machine had the capabilities to siliconise and produce self adhesive labelstocks. Little did Suresh Doshi realize that this plant would be the mother equipment for the Indian narrow web label industry.

The Decade of Seventies.

In 1971 the Kroenert coater/ laminator landed in Mumbai. The company Shanti Lal Doshi & Co, the maiden manufacturing venture of the Doshi family was in place to take off. This was a landmark year and I see it as a step that would lead to the birth of the self adhesive label in roll form, made by Indians. In a couple of year’s time the Doshi’s were ready to try producing labelsocks. Metroark Ltd. , which is now Wacker Metroark, was already there to provide the silicone release coatings for making release papers. Solvent based adhesive was provided by BASF and it was time to produce the first labelstock made in India by Indians.

In 1972-73 the commercial production of Labelstock had started.Around the same time that Suresh Doshi left for Germany in 1969, another young man, Jeetubhai Shah, visited the offices of Standard type foundry in Himalaya house in South Mumbai. He was surprised to see a die cut paper label that did not need to be remoistened to make it tacky. It would stick to glass with slight pressure. It was sticky to touch and would remain so even after having touched and peeled off from the hand many times. He kept playing with it for a while. Sticking the label to his hand and removing it. He was so fascinated with the label  that he started to make further enquiries. He also got from Standard Type foundry, a catalogue of Iwasaki machine that would make these die cut labels. A few trips later he came to know that Suresh Doshi was about to produce material for this machine. Jeetubhai decided do buy this machine. He joined hands with his income tax consultant and friend P P Bhagat to form a Company called International Trading Company at Kalyandas Industrial Estate in Worli. They applied for grant of an import license, and in those days of difficult foreign exchange regime, getting an import license was a nightmare. With a lot of effort they did manage the license and imported the machine. 
Jeetubhai fondly remembers that Japan had floated their currency that year and due to this, his machine became cheaper by at least 15%.. The timing of installing the machine was perfect. By the time it was installed, Shantilal Doshi & Co. was ready with labelstocks. There were numerous hurdles that these pioneers faced when they endeavoured on these path breaking efforts, like a whole night he spent at a workshop in the middle of Mumbai’s red light area to get his first Flat bed Die made. With deep sense of nostalgia he remembers the full page advertisement they gave in news papers, “First time in India Self Adhesive Labels, die-cut in any shape.” This was their USP over Johnson and Johnson, who were using expensive rotary dies whereas International Trading Co. had perfected their indigenous flat bed die making process. This advertisement brought in the first big label customer for them, which was Siemens.  International Trading company and later along with their sister co. Global graphics were the first roll form customers for Shantilal Doshi and Co., while Sharat Industries was their first sheet form customers. International Trading Co. still exists and is run by Kishore Parekh. The original partners had left the company. Jeetubhai later started a label company called Finearts.

I had asked Suresh Doshi to cite any interesting incident of those days and spontaneously he cited one. Sharat  Industries had made full die-cut labels for J K Helene Curtis from their stock and supplied. The users came up with a strange complaint.

The stickers were sticking well during the day but would fall off during the production at night. Not being able to find an answer to this one Mr. Doshi suggested that they use the labels during the day only. The production people at J K Helen Curtis did not agree as they had to run the night shift also. So Suresh Doshi was compelled to visit them during the night. He was shocked to see that the workers were not removing the release paper and thinking these to be remoistenable labels were using only water to stick the labels to the bottles. No wonder the labels were falling off !

The label industry was extended to other parts of India by the shear sincere efforts of the Doshi’s. By 1976, they had already suggested, encouraged and convinced close relatives Bharat Mehta and his brother to setup a label press.

Bharat Mehta bought his first Siki Label press from Ahmedabad where it was being used to produce unsupported wet glue labels. Shifting over from a business in agricultural pumps at the age of 26, Bharat Mehta, settled down perfectly in to his label printing business. He and his company Super Labels is one of the most respected label printers. From a single siki he went on to add  a fully loaded Gallus, an EM 280 8 colours, EM 280 6 colours, and an Acquaflex. In the earlier part of  the decade of 2000-2010 he lost heavily in a major fire but firm resolve brought him right back in what he liked best,  “Producing self adhesive labels”. Other early entrants into the industry in the west  during the seventies were, Vidya Mehta of Pressure Tags, The Kapoors of R K Papers, etc.

By end of the decade, the Doshi’s went southwards and encourage yet another relative, Dilip Sutaria to become a label printer. He setup Better Labels to lead the march of self adhesive labels in the south. In North, the Doshi’s appointed an ex-partner of  Dilip Sutaria, Mr. P D Khanna and his son Vinod Khanna as their agents in New Delhi. Around the same time in late seventies, Vinayak Sood of Liddles had installed a Norprint from UK and went on to add the first Mark Andy in 1983. The year 1979 saw Narula of Rikki Sales start his label printing operations.

In East the Doshi’s found their first customer in the former national  tennis champion and a celebrated player, Premjit Lal. The Doshi’s had completed their reach all over the country and by end of the decade self adhesive label industry was an established fact. According to Suresh Doshi, the biggest boost to the self adhesive label industry was in the year 1975. Starting with the controversial Rae Bareily election of Indira Gandhi, when congress introduced their self adhesive bindis, to the imposition of the law to make minimum retail price marking on consumer packages, compulsory, these decision brought a surge in demand for self adhesive labels . By 1975 another young Gujarati entrepreneur Pravin Patel had setup a polytype coater in Ahmedabad to produce silicone papers and labelstocks. 1978 saw Hari Gupta start his H P Lablette in Delhi with his Japanese coater, and towards the end of the decade PCI in Kolkata, IPW, Veekay papers and Geva in Mumbai and Weldon in Delhi had either started or were about to begin commercial siliconizing operations.

The decade of Eighties

With the start of a new decade more developments came into the self adhesive label industry. Shantilal Doshi had started operations with solvent based adhesive but environment friendly Acrylic emulsion adhesive were now in use for labelstock production. In 1982 Kilaru Prasad of Prasad Accumeter had brought in hotmelt coater from Accumeter in the US where he worked as a Sales Director. Ananth Rao of Stayon paper followed suit with another accumeter coater and Interlabels now perhaps the largest Indian printer also installed their accumeter hot melt coater to support their entry into the label printing industry around that time.

The decade of 80’s saw label printing companies being set up at various places in India. The eastern sector growth was extremely slow due to the lack of industrial infrastructure there. According to Bharat Mehta, the biggest boost to the industry this decade came in 1987 when many pharma companies started their shift rom wet glue labels to automatically dispensed self adhesive labels. This step helped establish a constant growth mode for this industry.

The Decade of NinetiesThe decade of nineties was perhaps the most eventful one. For me personally it was a memorable  one as during this time we took the landmark decision to switch over from being a mere commercial siliconizer to a prominent labelstock manufacturer. However for the industry, the biggest event I rate as the entry of the multinational Co, whom I refer to as our big brothers in the industry. Avery Dennison had setup production facilities in India. I have always felt their entry has changed the way people look at this industry. From being a mere sticker maker, the narrow web label printer became a specialty label producer. In the same decade we saw printers grow in stature and capabilities. Seljagat, Wintek, S K Labels in south. Interlabels, Webtech, R K Papers, Mudrika, Icon, Tayabi, etc in the west. Update, Syndicate, Jain transfer, Great Eastern, Prakash Labels, etc in the North. The three brothers at Prakash Labels worked hard in the price marking labels  segment to drive in volumes that were unheard of in the industry. Syndicate Printers went Global with operations in The UAE.The new millennium, the first decade of a new centuryAs we crossed the middle of this decade and the world’s eyes were on us. The label summit in early 2006 was a proof. The big time presses started coming in all over the country. You name them they were here, Gallus, Nilpeter, Iwasaki, Gidue, Mark Andy, Rotatek, Focus, Orthotec, the list is endless. The local press manufacturers have also reasons to be proud of. Multiflex, Jandu, RK Machine, webtech and a host of others  are reporting installations constantly. The two dyanamic ladies in our industry also emerged as highly successful narrow web label printers in this decade. Amila Singhvi at IPP and Kusum Dunglay at Goodwork. Goodwork took a legendary step by signing up a joint venture with Reynders. Unfortunately they parted ways the following year in 2008. Reyenders continued their operations as an individual entity. Our Industry Leaders Interlabels setup a unit in Africa on one hand and adding more state of art presses at a new and bigger facility. Webtech also expanding with new machines moved to bigger premises. In the earlier part of this decade, over thirty years after making a historical start the Kroenert coater of Shanti Lal Doshi and Company was sold to Gloss Holdings.A proud event for us at Weldon was being the first Indian Labelstock manufacturer ever to have exhibited at Labelexpo Brussels. We are happy to report our exports to Iran, UAE, Ukraine, Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Bahrain, UK, France, Italy, Germany, New Caledonia, New Zealand, etc. Another feather in our cap was that my presentation on the Indian market, became a part of the International Cham Symposium at St. Moritz, Switzerland in the year 2003.The India Label show in 2002 opened to a resounding success and repeating the success in 2004 in cooperation with Tarsus at New Delhi. It was also in 2002 that we saw another historic step, the formation of LMAI. This happened due to sincere efforts of Amit Sheth and Industry stalwarts like Surinder Kapoor of R K Papers, Bhavin Kothari of Interlabels,  Rajesh Chadha of Update Prints, Kuldeep Goel of Any Graphics, Vivek Kapoor of Creative Prints( At that time he was with Icon Prints), etc.Halfway through the decade we were expecting many more exciting things to happen. More International Companies were waiting to enter, looking for oppurtune time or the right partners. The Industry was on a definite growth path and it was just a matter of time when it became a major market in labels in this part of the world. The years afterThe preceding part of this article I wrote in early 2006 and  towards the end of the year I looked back and saw changes coming in  rapidly. I would start by adding here that immediately after having made the above presentation at the label summit organised by Tarsus, the owners of Labelexpo,  I had a pleasant surprise. Shyam Bhatia, the son of the first label printer was standing in front of me at our stand during the summit. I had tried to trace him without success. I was excited, I gave him a chair, since he had missed the presentation, I gave it to him and asked him to read it and tell me if there was any thing wrong in what I wrote. As he finished reading his eyes were moist and shining, he just kept saying, “it is so true…it is so true” and then he was gone…
Rapid developments and changes are happening in the Indian market. More international companies have become extremely active. The Indians are also investing across the country. At least dozens of Chinese hot melt coater laminators have been installed. Label stock manufacturing is going wider, there are a few 1.5 meters coater laminators that have been installed or are in the process of being installed. A whole new set of Offset printers are investing in high-end label presses, indicating a firm shift from wet glue to self adhesive labels. Narrow web label printers are coming up in smaller cities and towns rather then being restricted only to metros. Installations have been reported at Nagpur, Pune, Indore, Hyderabad, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Baroda, Baddi, Uttranchal etc.
A host of international label Co.s like CCL, Brady’s, etc are already in the process of setting up shop in India. The successful Finat and LMAI sponsored, Euro-India label exchange, held on the sidelines of India Label Show 2006, indicated to setting up of a whole new set of joint ventures in the field of narrow web labels. It surely was interesting to see more and more of European companies registering on the show website. If registrations on the India Label Show website were any indication then surely India is the happening destination for the narrow web label industry. As per my information visitors from over 35 countries had registered. The 2006 India label show happened and it was a great success. So much so that by September 2007 it was taken over by Tarsus. The announcement of India Label show having become a part of the global labelexpo group came at the Labelexpo 2007 at Brussels. The two years following the 2006 show have seen unprecedented growth. The flock of marketing agents of most of the international press manufacturers, had shifted gears and were in an aggressive selling mode. The credit of expanding this market goes to the likes of Gaurav Roy selling all those Mark Andy’s, Ranesh Bajaj selling Rotateks, Lintec, Omega, etc. Amit Sheth selling Focus and Orthotec, Heidelberg selling Gallus machine, Vijay Pareekh offering MPS, Autoprint offering Omet, Riefenhauser selling Gidue and the list could go on. The biggest surprise came from the industry leader worldwide, Nilpeter. In 7 preceeding years they sold just one press and in the last two years they not only sold four new presses but also announced setting up of facility to produce Nilpeter presses in Chennai, India. The credit goes to the forward thinking of Dilip Shah and hard working of Manish Kapoor. The Indian press manufacturers also have made their mark, with R K Machines of Ahmedabad reporting 150 installations and Jandu reporting 26 installations in 2-3 years. There are a whole lot others but the list would become too exhaustive.Two very important happenings that took place in these two years after 2006 were first, the entry of Raflatac with setting up of their slitting facility near Mumbai and second, the expansion of Avery Dennison, with them setting up another coating laminating facilty near Pune. The competition in the labelstock segment became extremely intense. Many local stock producers suffered due to to erosion of margins and unviable credit terms. With raw material prices climbing and wafer thin profits, the time for shakeout and restructuring had arrived. Many have started looking out towards global markets or venturing into new and profitable products with synergy. During these two last years a multitude of presses have arrived in India. The likes of young Chandan Khanna, who diversified from being a sheetfed offset printer to a narrow web label printer has surprised many. In just a few years from his first one waterless offset Iwasaki press, it became three presses and then at the Labelexpo 2006 he surprised all by announcing that he had bought a Nilpeter and an MPS in one go. Prakash labels also reported unprecedented growth with their multi location manufacturing and stock facility in the UAE. Interlabels, the market leader continued to grow not only in India but also in their international operations. In south Gururaj of Wintek in Bangalore and Raveendran of Seljegat in Sivakasi were on a roll reporting fresh investments in the label business.  As the inflationary pressure came to hit USA and found its way also to India, label printers who have made huge capital investments in state of art Label presses started to feel the pinch of competition coming from not only international printers but also from their local counterparts, with their relatively cheaper investments in Chinese Label presses.
This period also becomes significant because of recognition of Indians in the label industry on a global scale. It was a matter of pride for me for having been chosen as the only Asian to be a member of the Finat committees. At the Finat congress 2008 in Paris, it was heartening to see many Indian faces and creditable that Bharat Mehta of Superlabels of Mumbai and Kamlesh Shah of Letragrafix were recipients of Finat awards for excellence in printing. With LMAI now becoming more active and interactive they are once again parternering Finat for yet another Indo European label exchange hopefully along with the next India Label Show 2008. LMAI is also in the advance stages of conducting a fare and competitive label awards competition, professionally. It is heartwarming that printers from surrounding countries have become or have expressed the desire to be a part of LMAI. As a young India continues to grow at a fast pace, more and more young Indians earn more and spend more, giving a big fillip to the retail industry. As the retail grows, so does the requirement of labels. There may be bad patch or a small pause but for a long time this industry has still to grow, set many landmarks and create history.

The second part written in July 2019 is published in a series of four parts. the first part 2A is available at http://bit.ly/2xOxY1P
Written by Harveer Sahni, Managing Director, Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi, leading manufacturers and exporters of self Adhesive Labelstocks. (first written in November-2006 and last updated in September 2008)  http://www.weldoncelloplast.com/