The history of Rajesh Chadha, Managing Director of Update Prints Pvt. Ltd., which owes its inception and inheritance to P C Chadha & Co. started by his grandfather, is an interesting one. The first thoughts on letterpress, managing waste problems and family support were all highlights along the way that came on a journey from Kobe in Japan to New Delhi in India, following is the Indian Label converter’s history and thoughts for the future.

Update Factory
Update Factory

The very beginning

In the late 1970s and early 1980s driving on the western part of New Delhi’s Ring Road, many factories could be seen from far away. One such tall building was the factory of P C Chadha & Co. in the Naraina Industrial Area with a signboard on top visible from far. Around the mid-1980s when I was a commercial siliconiser selling release papers, I came to know that P C Chadha & Co. manufactured stickers and was a prospective customer. It was then a matter of time before I supplied some reams of release paper to them. During one of my visits to them, I spent two hours discussing why the stickers they were supplying were curling. I was quite naïve then but with time and experience, I have written on my blog a very widely read article on controlling curl. The young man I met was Rajesh Chadha, who was running P C Chadha & Co. and is the present Managing Director of Update Prints Pvt. Ltd. which owes its inception and inheritance to P C Chadha & Co. started by his grandfather.

 Starting up

In 1924, young P C Chadha, living in Kobe, Japan, initiated an enterprise producing paper transfer labels with a vision that branding would be an important tool for sales of any consumer product, label being the face of any product. Sometime in the midst of turbulent times during World War II in 1942–43, P C Chadha decided to return to his homeland in Rawalpindi, then a part of undivided India and now in Pakistan. Little did he realize that in yet another five years he would have to move again! At the time of India’s partition in 1947 he came to Mumbai to set up his production for maintaining continuity in his passion for producing transfers, the labels of that time. Chadha soon came to recognise that the weather in Mumbai was not suitable for his product, and he moved operations to Pune. Before long he was still restless at the location and travelled up North in India to Patel Nagar in New Delhi where he set up his factory on a 150 square yards plot. He initially worked from home and later from his small factory.

As an entrepreneur’s son, the author had seen his father get advertisement boards hand painted by artists for advertising their stationery products. There was no alternative then. When one saw the transfer labels one used to wonder how they could achieve such exquisite printing direct on sewing machines, postal vans, crockery etc. Years later as the label industry was evolving into screen printing, I saw the same exquisite type of printing, which was different from screen printing, in my cousin’s factory making automotive filters. I realised they were using transfer labels like the ones P C Chadha & Co. produced. I was amazed to learn that the process employed by Chadha for printing was lithography. Based on the principle that oil and water do not mix, printing is done using stone blocks. In 1950 P C Chadha was joined in the business by his son Tilak Raj Chadha. They bought a used lithographic printing machine from England to expand their paper transfers business. Evolving further they later shifted to printing on cylinder type printing press using Zinc blocks mounted on wooden bases.

Major changes

Major changes started to happen when P C Chadha’s grandson Rajesh Chadha joined the business in 1976. The same year they moved factory from Patel Nagar to a 600 square yards plot in the nearby Naraina Industrial Area. With Rajesh at the helm, in 1978 he started to produce stickers by the manual screen-printing process. For the next ten years screen printing business became the mainstay for Chadhas. One of the first major decisions taken by Rajesh Chadha was to buy a European automatic Svecia Screen printing machine to print a full 20” x 30” sheet, quite big for that time. The 1990s was a very eventful decade for the Indian label industry. It was the time when many of today’s stalwarts in the Indian label industry became visible. For Rajesh Chadha also, it was time to shed the conventional image and adopt a modern look. It was during this period that the conventional sticker became an engineered label. Rajesh set up Update Prints in 1994 as his flagship venture thereon, gradually taking over all the business of P C Chadha & Co, which was eventually wound up later in 2009. Sensing the need to modernize with faster machines at Update Prints; he bought his first rotary flexo label press, a ”Focus“. There was no looking back after this.

Investments

In 2001 he bought an Orthotec intermittent letterpress at Labelexpo Asia held in Singapore. Two years later he impulsively bought a Rotatek label press displayed at a New Delhi print exhibition, on an immediate payment basis in full, taking his industry colleagues by surprise. Update Prints under his leadership has been acquiring new state-of-the-art equipment at regular intervals. From the single 600 square yards factory the company was soon operating from three different plots, one of 1000 square yards and two of 600 square yards. It was now time to consolidate for a few years. In another strategic move in 2013, Update Prints moved all their manufacturing operations under one roof to a facility admeasuring almost 25,000 square yards in land area and 50,000 square feet shop floor. This exercise required the involvement of a huge amount of money, time, effort and commitment. The land was designated agricultural land. Setting up an industrial project on it was illegal. Many people in the area have done it but Rajesh Chadha is committed to tread the straight path. He got the land use changed to industrial. Any Indian will know the kind of effort and time this takes. Infrastructure was another problem; the nearest power feeder was far away and to expedite the matter of bringing power to the unit, Update Prints had to install 50 electricity poles at their own expense. The approach road to the unit was in shambles, it had to be re-laid at their own expense. Update Prints now employs over 100 workforce and has a total of eight label presses.

Diverse technologies

Reminiscing about his work in the initial days in labels he says, ”The first label that I created was for Yardley Cosmetics“ he further adds that in those days he had bought two Newfoil three station hot-foiling presses. He used to love working with them creating innovative products. It was the most satisfying part for him because he could imagine and then create labels that would get appreciation from buyers. He has over the years equipped Update Prints with diverse technologies in label printing, decorating and finishing. Whether it is offset printed labels printed on his Rotatek Brava or labels created on flexo, letterpress, hot or cold foiling, screen printing, etc. his company is never left wanting for the ability to create. He is proud to say that  “I deliver quality, service and satisfaction to my customers and for this reason work comes to me automatically. I do not have to waste time running after work.” While discussing digital printing I was not surprised that his reaction was similar to that of a larger part of the Indian label fraternity, ”It does not make sense to me at this point of time. I can print good quality short runs cost effectively on offset and letterpress“. A very interesting change that I noted in Rajesh during my talks with him is that he has started to encourage Indian entrepreneurs who have excelled. While most of his equipment is imported yet in recent times he saw the potential in an Indian manufacturer of label presses, Multitec. He was not hesitant and bought the equipment. In fact, he has followed it up by acquiring two more.

Family life

Rajesh Chadha being the elder son in his family, like in most migrant Punjabi families of that time in New Delhi, joined the business while he was still studying. He is an alumnus of New Delhi’s Salwan Public School and later studied commerce in Dayal Singh College for B.Com and finished with a master’s in commerce. His wife Anju is a master’s degree holder in English and takes an active interest in the business. Rajesh and Anju have two children who are both now married. Their daughter Upasna studied at the prestigious London School of Economics and spent time at Oxford University. Son Aditya, like his father, studied commerce from Delhi’s Shri Ram College of Commerce and later completed his MBA in marketing from ”Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA“. Then after a one-and-a-half-year work experience in AT&T in the US, he returned to India to join his father at Update Prints as director. Rajesh fondly mentored him to take charge of this company.

Update Prints’ business has transformed over the years. They do very little transfer labels business now and largely produce self-adhesive labels. Their customers are mostly leading FMCG companies. Ten percent of their produce goes into export. While in Patel Nagar, waste management was a big problem for them. With the company growing continuously, disposal was becoming a gigantic issue. It was one of the reasons besides expansion that they moved to this present location some 35 Kilometers from Delhi. Here they have developed collectors who take the waste and convert it for various usages and applications. He strongly feels someone needs to work in the direction of managing or recycling this waste effectively and believes a solution will evolve. He also feels going linerless is also a good direction but like digital printing it will be some time before this technology becomes adaptable extensively.

 Rajesh Chadha is satisfied about the time he has spent in the label industry, he says, ”It is an interesting industry. There is lot of work and room for creativity and innovation“. He is proud of his achievements. He has led the company to consistently achieve an almost 20% per annum growth rate, which is above the perceived industry rate. He is beaming when he says, ”Growth comes naturally to my company because of the quality of our work. It is not fueled by huge borrowings from banks“. No wonder he heads a fully family owned successful and growing zero debt company!

 Written in May 2014 and updated in April 2024.

Prabhjot Singh Jandu is the third generation of Jandus! His grandfather Baldev Singh Jandu set up his maiden venture Jandu Engineering Works from humble beginnings in 1972, operating from a 100 square foot rented premises with just one lathe machine that he was operating himself and grew it to become the most prominent supplier of coating and laminating plants in India. His son Gurdev Singh later joined him in business to help his father to further the growth. Their story written by the author in 2013 and also carried by leading print magazine Printweek India,  is already there on the blog https://harveersahni.blogspot.com/2013/01/baldev-singh-jandujandu-coaters-create.html This was at a time when his grandson Prabhjot was still in school. With time, it was felt that there is a need to upgrade equipment in terms of technology and automation, together with expanding the business in terms of size, planning, service and administration. When Prabhjot finished his studies, he joined the enterprise and spent a year or so in training before starting to take decisions, it was like a dose of fresh youthful energy in the company. He is the 3rd generation Jandu to be inducted who is now initiating a complete makeover!

Prabhjot Singh Jandu completed his education with a B.Tech. Mechanical engineering from Amity University followed by business training at the same institution. As a part of that training, he was sent to Adelphi University New York for six months and then to Birkbeck, University of London, England for another six months. On return in 2020, at the young age of 22 years, he joined the family enterprise Jandu Engineering Works and was handed over the responsibility of uplifting the company branding and to take up marketing aggressively. Once he got settled, in order to make component inputs consistent to standard specifications, he moved on to look after purchasing and improving infrastructure to build plants with improved performance of their coating and laminating equipment.

He is now taking it upon himself to create plants that were not only great in terms of aesthetics but also excelled in running at higher speeds with increased automation. Prabhjot endeavors to gradually move away from the basic market that they were catering to and transform his company to cater to the higher end of customers for coating and laminating plants that can make specialty coatings and curing with precision under controlled conditions. He plans to launch coaters for new and innovative products. To make their plants more sustainable they have managed to design and supply equipment that has reduced wastages, with lower manpower and less dependence on operators. For better after sales service, he is introducing remote access so that production downtime of customers is substantially reduced. They now have the capability to access the plant at customer’s premises through internet and diagnose the problem and provide solutions. This has helped them with providing service to their export customers as when they provide internet connectivity, the Jandu service team can troubleshoot and support. They are already implementing real time data access from the plant in production for better and more accurate coatings. Servo drives with software support from Siemens are incorporated for demanding customers. Better tension controls provide uniformity of coatings and smoother run ability. As for providing inline inspection and precision control for silicone coatings starting at 0.30 GSM (gram per square meter) they are ready with the technology but await the right customer who will invest in such a high-end system for their silicone coater. Jandu Engineering Works under Prabhjot’s guidance have started to follow industry 4.0 guidelines.

Earlier, to increase their outreach in the industry, almost all business came to them by reference from existing customers or friends. Prabhjot is making changes and has indulged in extensive marketing and brand promotion. Jandu’s emails are not plain text now and have transformed to well-designed ones and are informative. Their website is up there on the first page when a prospective customer is looking for coaters and laminators. They regularly exhibit at label and packaging exhibitions; in fact, their last international presence was at Labelexpo Europe 2023 in Brussels where it was seen, all three generations manning the booth.

Jandu’s initial growth in the label industry was due to the earliest label printing press that they produced, narrow web CI flexo, but they have now found immense success in building coaters and laminators for the self-adhesive label and other converting industries. Their label printing press manufacturing business is now a very small part of their operations, they are in the process of contemplating either to improve and upgrade their presses or just keep concentrating on coating equipment. There present range has expanded to offer multiple types of converting equipment besides label presses which include coating and laminating machines for; silicone coating and self-adhesive labelstock, specialized coated products, thermal paper, sublimation paper, solar coatings, medical tape coatings, Barrier coatings, PLA coatings, pattern coatings and car wrapping, etc. They also have strong demand for slitting machines as it is necessary equipment for the coating and laminating lines. With experience, Jandu Engineering Works can help new entrants in the coating industry for specialized products with technology, sourcing and other details. They keep acquiring the latest information from suppliers of chemicals and specialized coatings in contact with them who are promoting their technical coatings and advise the processes to be followed. Jandu believes in sharing information with their existing customers.

Prabhjot is happy that the company has grown  60% to 70% since his joining. When he joined their silicone coating line was running at 250 meters per minute and adhesive coating at 100 meters per minute. Now after upgradation the silicone coating runs at 350 meters per minute and after more design changes it is expected to increase to 500 meters per minute and adhesive coating can now run at 180 meters per minute with much improved drying system. Proudly he says, “their earlier customers used to look for basic machines at low prices and now after I explain to them the benefits of the newer technological changes in our equipment, they are ready to invest in the expensive advanced versions of our equipment.” Ninety percent of their customers repeat their orders as proof of their acceptability. Their penetration into the market segment they operate in is more than 80%. While the number of coaters being sold now may be a little less but in terms of value it is much more, almost doubling their turnover because of the sale of advanced equipment to a higher market segment.

Prabhjot is ambitious and with active mentoring and support from his grandfather Baldev Singh Jandu and father Gurdev Singh, he wants to grow the company at a faster pace and endeavors’ a 50% growth in revenue per year. When he joined the company in 2020 Jandu Engineering Works was already operating from a 25000 square feet shopfloor, which has now expanded 60,000 square feet despite the pandemic slowdown. The Jandu family is now looking for about 3 to 4 acres of land for further expansion. The total workforce employed when Prabhjot joined was 70 and has now increased to 120 people. In the last 3 years they have sold around 40 coating lines up to 2-meter width for various applications employing diverse coating methods like air knife coating, 5 roll silicone coating, bar coating, gravure, adhesive coating, etc. These lines have the capability to coat at a speed up to 350 meters per minute. Jandu coaters have been exported to 17 countries so far.

Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast New Delhi January 2024

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While the Indian labels industry keeps evolving, adapting different printing and converting technologies, there is also a generational change happening in the leadership. Most of the founders, while still active as mentors, have passed on substantial decision making to their next generation who are now in the lower middle age group of 40 years, plus or minus 3 years. All those who I have covered belong to family managed companies. Though largely these young inheritors are the influencers or drivers of growth in their respective companies, yet, complying to the cultural heritage passed on in the Indian families, they give the credit to their parents or their mentors who founded the company. This is so heartwarming! These young men are professionally trained, well-educated and are always ready to adopt new managing systems. They do not hesitate to invest in new and innovative capital equipment to stay ahead of competition and drive expansion. They have come to establish themselves as the young czars of Indian label Industry.

Pragati Pack Pvt. Ltd., part of the Pragati Offset Printers group Hyderabad, founded by the legendary Paruchuri Hanumantha Rao in 1962, is led by his 37-year-old grandson Hemanth Paruchuri who is taking care of the packaging business in the group. The commercial printing business is taken care of by his brother Harsha Paruchuri. Hemanth is qualified Mechanical Engineer, an Alumnus of Purdue University Indiana USA, he has been mentored by his father Narendra Paruchuri who is an industry stalwart. Joining the company in 2007, he learnt the business hands-on practically, while working within Pragati. Presently, designated as director with responsibilities that include development, production, marketing and selecting areas of further expansion as well as identifying appropriate capex investment.

When Hemanth joined Pragati, packaging was just a small part of their business, which has now become 75% of the company’s overall business. Pragati is one of the highest awarded printing companies in India. Their annual calendar created by great teamwork at their commercial printing division is a piece of art that people preserve as prized collections.

Talking of future, Hemanth says, “Plan is to keep growing in packaging and in labels by doing more specialized labels predominantly self-adhesive.” 

For labels and packaging they operate at multiple locations in Hyderabad and in Noida. As for roll  labels they have three flexo presses and one HP Indigo label press, for sheetfed they have a small Konica Minolta digital press. For digital sheetfed packaging they may invest in larger sheetfed press in digital. Total manufacturing area for labels and packaging is spread over 440,000 square feet in Hyderabad, 120,000 square feet in Noida plus 80,000 square feet for commercial printing. The workforce for labels and packaging is  700, and 300 is for commercial printing.

Alumnus of Harvard Business School, UCLA Anderson and IIM-A 42-year-old Ankit Gupta, Joint Managing Director of Holostik India Limited, had pursued higher education after completing his BE in computer science. He along with his brother Shobhit Gupta took over the reigns of Holostik, a company founded in 1991 by their illustrious father Umendra Kumar Gupta who was leading personality in the Hologram and anti-counterfeiting label and packaging industry and passed away due to Covid in 2021. After a stint at A V Birla group as an IT engineer, he joined Holostik in 2005 as head of its real estate and chemical verticals. Thereafter, from 2007- 2020 headed the MarCom, HR, and Strategy followed by heading the Sales department. After taking over as Joint MD in 2021, he launched NaturTrust, the bio-degradable and compostable packaging business in the year 2022.

Ankit’s achievements include winning the prestigious Larry Wolfen Award for Entrepreneurial Spirit in 2006. Investing in multiple start-ups including Edukart – India’s leading education marketplace that was later acquired by Paytm and Bedrock Ventures and Mentoring and angel-investing in more than 15 successful startups across India.

For future he plans to keep working on innovation and integration of innovative technologies to fight the cause of counterfeiting, explore new markets and geographies both in India and globally and increase the use of sustainable technologies as their commitment to a green earth. Holostik India Ltd. is headquartered at Noida producing  Anti-counterfeit security OVDs (Holograms), Security Labels, 3D Labels, Holographic Packaging Films, Induction Liners, Digital Supply Chain Solutions among many others. They operate with 450 employees out of the 100,000 square feet shop floor with three European Flexo label presses and 2 Screen Printing Presses besides a host of other equipment.

Thirty-eight-year-old Naveen Goel is the Managing Director of Noida based Any Graphics, founded in 1987 by his father Kuldip Goel, past President of LMAI. After completing his MBA, Naveen joined Any Graphics in 2009, beginning his career in printing and packaging as Director marketing, responsible for business development, client acquisition, customer relations and direct sales for the company. 14 years on, now as Managing Director, he is committed and focused to providing solutions to customers across all sectors providing innovations, value engineering or cost engineering. Naveen says. ”Leading the company from 60 people to 800 people over the last decade has been a satisfying journey. Being second generation, it was very important for me to sustain the founder’s vision to consistently innovate and handcraft solutions to diverse needs of the customers.”

Any Graphics has achieved exceptional growth through sharp focus on award-winning products and solutions that include Rigid Boxes, Labels, Mono Cartons, Dome Stickers, Panel Overlays and Decals. They employ an 800 strong workforce operating with 6 label presses and many sheet fed, screen, digital presses and a lot of other allied equipment from 250,000 square feet shopfloor in 15500 square meters of land.

Prakash Printers and Coaters Pvt. Ltd., established in 1975 by Thakurdas J Shivlani in Ahmedabad, is now led by his 40-year-old son Prakash Shivlani as Director. Prakash joined the family business while still in school as a salesperson. Those days they used to print on sheet Offset and were amongst the first ones in the Gujarat region for printing sticker labels exclusively. Transforming the sticker business to labels in roll form, they initially installed some smaller Flatbed and Letterpress narrow web presses machines Onda and Iwasaki. Later at the start of a new millennium, as business grew, they installed a CI Flexo from Etirama, Brazil.

After completing his undergraduate studies, Prakash joined the family business in 1997 sharing responsibilities along with his father, specialising in sales, however he now also takes care of production. Their production profile now includes Labels, Shrink Sleeves, Flexible laminates. They also produce silicone liners, Hotmelt adhesive label stock with diverse face stocks like Holographic/Metalized paper, Aluminum Foil , 2/3-layer substrates for In-house consumption. Prakash endeavors to expand into packaging in the near future. Presently they operate with seven European flexo presses besides other equipment from a 355,000 square foot shop floor with 150 employees.

29-year-old Krish Chhatwal is the grandson of late Narendra Chhatwal who migrated to New Delhi after partition of India in 1947 and worked for the famous Kwality Restaurant. In 1962 he set up his maiden venture, a printing press and nostalgically named it Kwality Carton manufacturing company. Later, the name was changed to Kwality labels unit of Kwality Offset Printers. Krish Chhatwal, a BBA in Finance and Marketing has been the director of Kwality Labels since 2017. He initially worked as a trainee in all departments of the company learning the nuances of printing. As for sales, he made cold calls, met potential clients and gained new ones for the company. Accompanying his mentor, his father Rajeev Chhatwal, visiting expos around the world, he realised the growth potential of labels industry.

After his active involvement, Kwality invested in a Xeikon digital toner label press, implemented ERP systems, Inspection systems, hybrid Xrite colorcert software for Density control of colours and software for pre-press. They have won awards for excellence from Printweek, NAEP, LMAI, Finat, Asian print excellence and many more. Krish plans to make continuous investments in equipment to produce highly embellished and security labels. They operate with 110 employees and seven label presses complementing their offset presses and allied equipment in a shopfloor admeasuring 35000 square feet, producing Self-adhesive labels, Anti counterfeit security labels, Wet glue labels, Variable data labels, Customized and Personalised labels, consuming more than 800,000 square meters of label stock.

Founded in 1992 by Hemen Vasa and Bhupen Vasa, Unick fix-a-form & Printers Ltd. Ahmedabad is a specialized producer of functional Labels, multilayer leaflet/booklet labels, piggyback dual labels, tri layer labels, scratch off labels, hanger labels, special peel and seal labels for pharma applications, shrink sleeves, etc. Heman Vasa’s 31-year-old son Priyank Vasa, a BE in Printing Technology from Manipal Institute of Technology, is now the youthful leader at Unick fix-a-form. He is designated as development & strategy director. Priyank specialized in Financial Modelling and Analysis. Before joining the company in 2014, he had spent his summer break as a trainee in the company while still pursuing his engineering. After joining, Priyank supported the sales team with new developments and innovations to venture into segments outside their comfort zone of pharma. He later also became part of the QA team to standardise inputs, ensuring error-free products.

Priyank has been instrumental in implementing ERP systems for smooth operations. Since their specialized labels lacked in aesthetics, he led the implementation of value additions like screen printing, embellishments, using special inks varnishes foils, metallics, touch and feel effects etc. The company has further undertaken projects to curb expenses, reduce wastage and optimise production processes. Unick operates from a 30,000 square feet shopfloor with 5 label presses and 250 strong workforce consuming 400,000 square meters of label stocks per month for their specialty labels.

41-year-old Aditya Kashyap is himself the founder and Managing Director of Baddi based Marks Emballage Private Limited and Marks group, that he established in 2011. An alumnus of the famous Ruia College Mumbai, he worked briefly in an international bank and later got trained in family-owned large Pharma companies for packaging development and purchase, followed by interning as a trainee in a label manufacturing unit before initiating his maiden venture. With Two Gallus label presses that he bought in one go, one Bobst Label press, AVT inspection system, Prati finishing machine, Pantec embellishing equipment, Xrite and much more, the company shopfloor is spread across 30,000 square feet having 60 employees. On his journey so far Aaditya says, “The journey has just begun, after setting the unit from scratch to what it is now.” He further adds,” “though we are setting up professional management, yet I am still involved to implement my vision of creating a world class company.”

As a part of its CSR initiative, Marks group has invested in sponsoring the annual “Printweek Student of the year” award to backup educational initiatives for encouraging young people to take up print as a career. Aaditya aims to grow the company multifold in coming years with his latest ideas. He aspires to roll out at least one new project every year for the next five years. He is pensive in his thoughts, ”this is the time for us to spread our wings before getting into a consolidation mode. “

A relatively new entrant in the self-adhesive labels industry 35-year-old Vatsal Vora Director of Asean Pack Ahmedabad, has achieved amazing success in just 5 years including the 2 years passed in covid. Asean Pack was founded by Vatsal in 2018 after completing his MBA. In a short span of time the company is producing Pressure Sensitive Adhesive labels, Shrink Sleeves and In-Mold Labels (IML) in a 40,000 square feet shop floor with 2 Bobst label presses and one HP Indigo Digital label press working with 115 employees.

He plans to add one more press in 2024 followed by yet another in 2025. Thereafter  he aspires to make continuous growth to increase their product range to include flexible packaging focused in producing pouch packaging coming from the short run customized and personalized packaging by adding more flexo and digital printing equipment.

Tejas Tanna aged 42 years, had in 2005, joined Printmann Offset Pvt. Ltd. after getting a Diploma in printing technology and B.S. (Bachelor of Science) degree from Rochester Institute of Technology New York USA. Printmann was founded in 1987 by his father Bipin Tanna the Chairman and Managing Director of the company. While working in the company Tejas parallelly pursued studies for getting an MBA from NMIMS (Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies) followed by a crash course in packaging from the Indian Institute of Packaging. Tejas and his 36-year-old brother Ankit Tanna are directors at Printmann with Tejas looking after sales and marketing, quality assurance and new product development and Ankit taking care of supply chain and operations. Ankit is an MS in finance from Manchester. Printmann started with commercial printing but by 1991 they felt the need of diversification for future growth and since they were into marketing collaterals for FMCG sector they opted to concentrate on packaging focused on the pharma and health care segment.

Now, 80-90% of their business comes from this sector. They supply whatever these companies require in the printed packaging space, which includes cartons, labels, leaflets and foil. Tejas says ,”We are perhaps the only company to offer all the four verticals from just one source.” With European Pharma companies making tamper evident labels mandatory, Printmann is now producing these as well. They are three times winner of Printweek packaging company of the year award, including one that they got this year. For  making capex decisions, the brothers become influencers and since their father is controlling finance the final decision is a joint call that is made by all three.

Printmann’s main factory is in Navi Mumbai, for expansion, they were looking for land outside Mumbai and fortunately the adjoining plot became available which they acquired, constructed during covid years and shifted their carton division there. They have another unit for blister foil manufacturing in Vasai. Between the three locations, they work out of 160,000 square feet shopfloor with over 300 employees clocking a turnover of Rupees 160 Crores last year which is expected to rise to 180 crores in this fiscal year. Summing up, Tejas emphasizes, “We understand our responsibility to remain sustainable and thus we have commenced our journey towards sustainability. We are implementing safety measures, EHS (Environment, Health, and Safety) systems and are tracking carbon footprints. We have hired PWC to advise and hand hold us in our endeavours on EHS.”

Janus International  led by brothers Denver Annunciation 43 years and Janus Annunciation 36 years is a producer of a wide range of print and packaging products like PSA Labels, In-mold labels, Shrink sleeves, folding cartons, rigid boxes, eflute mono cartons, etc. The company was founded by their father Joe Annunciation in 1999. Both brothers are MBAs and alumnus of S P Jain Institute of Management and Research. Denver joined the company in 2001 and Janus joined five years later in 2006. “It has been an exhilarating experience running and growing the company so far, I am looking at much more” says Denver. He had joined the company when they had just 9 employees in a 500 square feet shopfloor. This has grown to 202 employees in three buildings at the same location in Thane spread over 55,000 square feet. Janus International has 7 flexo presses, one HP Indigo digital press and 3 offset presses.

Talking of the future, Denver mentions firmly that they endeavour to create a World class manufacturing company with ongoing stable growth. The company registered a sale of Rupees 83 Crores in the last financial year and they are confident to double it in 3 years.

Alpine containers Pvt. Ltd. Jammu is a company producing labels and packaging, at the northern most location in India for labels,  founded by Harish Gulati who mentored his 40-year-old son Vipul Gulati from starting as a trainee to taking up a leadership role in expanding the company. Though Harish had set up the printing business manufacturing mono cartons in 1978 in an 800 square foot premises, but Vipul joined in 2003. The present company Alpine was established in 2008 when they expanded into corrugated board cartons. In 2012 they installed an automatic corrugation plant, the first one to be setup in entire region of Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. Vipul Gulati did his schooling from Prestigious Maharaja Hari Singh School Nagbani and BBA degree from Lovely University. Vipul led Alpine’s venturing into label manufacturing in 2015 with installation of a Gallus ECS 340 label press then a Mark Andy P 7 in 2019 and another Label press in 2022 along with 3 inspection machines and screen-printing machine. As Executive Director of the company, Vipul is responsible for purchases, new developments, expansion and day-to-day operations. He is  expanding label business beyond Jammu, setting up a manufacturing plant in Gujarat.

The company is now operating from two locations in a shop floor admeasuring 200,000 square feet employing more than 250 people. As for labels, they consume in excess of 400,000 square meters of self adhesive labelstock which is likely to increase exponentially once the expansions being undertaken are completed.

Written by Harveer Sahni Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited, New Delhi-110008 December 2023

Absence makes the heart grow fonder! There was a general perception that the impact of a fierce pandemic, the Finnish Paper Mills strike, Ukraine war, shortages and rising raw material prices, difficult logistics and increased travel costs have left the market sentiments bruised. There was strong narrative doing the rounds in the labels industry that Labelexpo Europe 2023 at Brussels will lose its sheen and may not deliver the desired results. Contrary to all perceptions the show was a huge success. The numbers may have been slightly lower than the previous years, but the quality of turnout brought cheer to the faces of exhibitors. The proof of that is given by the reported rebook rate for the next edition of this important event by Tarsus, announced at a whopping 96%! Labelexpo Europe 2023 was spread over 9 halls covering 35889 square meters. 36588 visitors flocked to the show, coming from 138 countries. Most stands reported robust enquiries or sales from established and serious printers from around the world. Though the aisles were not as crowded as in previous shows, the stands were busy. That is exactly what exhibitors expect from a globally renowned show. I cite a personal experience, I had to conduct an important meeting with one of our company’s several principals. Despite visiting their stand on all days at various times, the concerned person was busy with clients, finally I had to ask him to come to another meeting point other than his stand, so that we could discuss our project in peace. Such was the deliverance of Labelexpo 2023.

The Indian presence; The Indian labels and packaging industry has been continuously growing at steady pace to reach a position of stability and strength. The Indian visitors to labelexpo have also transformed. Earlier we saw many of those who mixed their visit with tourism, so the interest was diluted, and the enquiries lacked seriousness. This trend is seen as changing, given the increased travel costs and technologies evolving in different packaging segments, the smaller printers prefer to visit the domestic editions of Labelexpo. 

In 2005, my company was the only one from India to exhibit at Labelexpo Europe in Brussels, over years the number of Indian exhibitors has been growing. Indian producers of materials, machines and tooling have improved in quality to match global levels and offer their products in the international marketplace. 

From just the one exhibitor from India displaying labelstock in 2005 they reached 14 exhibitors in 2017, and in 2023 the number of Indian exhibitors grew to 26. This number included several label press manufacturers, manufacturers of coaters and laminators, raw material suppliers, tooling manufacturers, etc. In fact, registering their presence in all segments of label manufacturing. As for the visitors, it is an even more interesting result. In 2019 2% of the total of 37903 visitors were from India.

This works out to over 750 visitors. This figure has swelled! In Labelexpo Europe 2023. Indian visitors were 3.9% of the total of 36588 visitors and this works out to over 1400 visitors, almost double the number. We can imagine the dynamism and steady growth of “make in India” concept. The Indians are now quick learners who visit these shows and become adapters of global technologies to produce and offer to the world.

Diverse technologies displayed: Labelexpo global series was in the initial stages aimed at growth of stickers that had evolved as self-adhesive labels. The earliest web label presses were largely coming from eastern part of the World as 4 or 5-inch-wide flatbed letterpress machines for printing labels in roll form to eventually transform with development of label applicators, it led to automation in packaging lines.

Development and introduction of rotary flexographic label presses brought a paradigm shift as it provided better speed of printing.

Since the web width in the earliest stages was small, the industry eventually started being referred to as narrow web label industry. The rest is history. With evolution and development of prepress printing speeds and quality also improved making the technology widely acceptable. Printing widths increased to 10 inches or 250 mm and had for quite some time settled at 330mm.

Speeds that were just 5 or 6 meters per minute in the beginning with the flatbed presses, have reached up to 200 meters per minute and more. The narrow web label industry flourished and kept growing. With time label technologies have undergone a sea change. What was wet glue labels, transformed into self-adhesive labels but later the label grew towards various tangents. The label users started adopting a wide variety that includes wraparound labels, shrink sleeves, Inmold labels, heat transfer labels and many more. In the initial stages of transformation large multinational FMCG companies became users of wrap-around labels and shrink sleeves, because of the large volume they required, these became the product of the wide web rotogravure printing industry. With market changes happening, the need of smaller manufacturers and demand for short runs by marketing professionals, these diverse segments also became evident in the offerings of narrow web industry. 

The narrow started growing wider still, printing and converting evolved exponentially and became suppliers of not only to wide spectrum of labels but also flexible packaging, Lami-tubes and folding cartons. The flexo presses also transformed to be hybrid ones  employing combination of flexo, offset, gravure, screen and digital, etc.

At Labelexpo Europe 2023, one could witness displayed, a merger and combination of different printing technologies to produce excellence in print of labels and packaging. This was substantially exhibited by industry stalwarts like Gallus, Omet, Nilpeter, Mark Andy, Bobst, Weigang, Lombardy, etc. who displayed their finest web printing and converting equipment. It is interesting that waste reduction and sustainable manufacturing practices to reduce carbon footprint are becoming imperative for all responsible machine builders.

Overview: Material suppliers like Avery Dennison, UPM Raflatac and Fedrigoni displayed their vast ranges of labelstocks with an evident effort towards sustainability. Many did talk of linerless and the initial developments they have made but the actual linerless self-adhesive label for mass usage is still a far cry. 

As mentioned before, from the just one Indian Labelstock producer in 2005, there were five Indian labelstock producers at the show, Jindal SMI, SticOn papers, MLJ, Shree Lamipack and Varshil. Looking at the number of visitors on stands it was clear that the focus of label fraternity is shifting from commodities to creativity, innovation and sustainability. While all labelstock companies had a steady flow of visitors, the Fedrigoni stand that offered specialty textured and decorative materials was extremely busy. 

A similar situation was observed at the Cartes stand whose displayed equipment offered amazing embellishments with various combinations of digital jet screen varnishing and printing, screen printing, laser die-cutting etc. The electronic integration in labels is another field that attracted the attention of forward-thinking printing companies. RFID insertion options for labels and packaging were displayed by many, some of whom include  Avery Dennison, Beontag, Muhlbauer, Delta Modtech, etc. Another aspect witnessed is the growing number of finishing equipment manufacturers, which clearly indicates the need for printing companies to produce more with less. The concept of printing at full machine speeds on their expensive presses and finishing offline makes available more time on their main printing presses. The futuristic digital printing equipment continues to evolve indicating it to become a dominant label printing technology in future, given the wider widths and faster speeds.

The hall number 8 with exhibitors led by HP, offered a vast variety of digital printing equipment. The increased display of finishing or digital finishing machines is also indicative of the increasing importance of digital printing, which in recent times has become a necessity for prosperous label printers. Running short runs needs offline finishing. else the digital presses with inline finishing will not only be expensive but will not be able to deliver production to their full capacity due to short runs and quick changeovers.

One thing that has become evident at Labelexpo Europe 2023 is that the narrow web label industry continues to go wider and evolve, increasing its footprints in other segments of packaging and it would not be out of place to mention that soon it  will be referred to as “Web label and package converting industry.”

The end of show was a nostalgic moment, people bidding farewell to Labelexpo in Brussel where so many wonderful memories, stories of success and friendships had been scripted. The label fraternity now looks forward to making another beginning with Labelexpo Europe 2025 in Barcelona, Spain.

Pictures of my walk through Labelexpo 2023 and some of the events on the sidelines;

World Label Awards Judging:

One day before Labelexpo opened, the judging for label awards was held.

Same afternoon, L9 meeting was held, followed by L9-Dinner

The global Label awards evening!

On Wednesday 13th September 2023, fairwell dinner for Label Guru Mike Fairley was held

My Walk through!

Written by Harveer Sahni, Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi India September 2023

Sustainability in its simplest terms means, giving back to Mother-Earth or environment, society, or economy, whatever you draw from it. It ultimately delivers a message for us to leave a safer planet with minimum or no depletion of resources, for generations that follow, after meeting your own imperative needs. Let us for example consider just paper. Long years ago, with development of paper, there was  a lot of promotions to increase its usage, but then it was realized that paper production was hugely dependent on wood and increased usage meant deforestation.

It is an accepted fact that forests are very important for a healthy environment and climate. It was on this realization that a lot of emphasis started to be put on avoiding unnecessary paper usage. Even now responsible company emails have a footnote advising not to print unless absolutely necessary. On the other hand, there are statutory directives to paper mills to aid afforestation so as to increase the forest cover and replenish the amount of wood extracted. However still, usage of paper is sustainable when produced with implementation of replenishing the inputs used. Moreover, the paper waste is re-pulpable to again produce paper or paper board aiding circular economy. Production of all manufactured goods and services should avoid or reduce using resources that cannot be replaced and whose depletion will adversely impact the environment. As mentioned above, paper is mostly produced from wood whose extended use in paper production leads to deforestation. For this reason, a lot of manufacturers do a life cycle analysis of products to achieve a level of sustainability.

Brand owners and large label user companies have now started insisting on FSC certified paper usage. Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a globally recognized certification system that ensures that the forests are managed sustainably. Products that are manufactured from responsibly harvested forests are identified with the FSC logo, which is considered the “gold standard” of forest certification by major environmental groups.

Circular economy

Circular economy also referred to as circularity and CE, refers to a type of process for  production and consumption, which conforms to reusing, repairing, refurbishing or recycling materials and products. Since CE helps in reducing raw material requirement, carbon footprint and aids sustainability, it has gained popularity. It also helps in conservation of important resources. For an example of CE, milk pouches are made of mono polymers like LDPE for packaging which is easily recycled or reprocessed to again convert to plastic granules that can be remolded into usable plastic products. On the flip side, multi-polymer multi-layered film pouches are not recyclable and end up in landfills impacting environment adversely as they also do not biodegrade.

However, there is work being done to develop processes that will enable these also to be recycled. The government of India is actively formulating policies and promoting projects that will drive the country towards a circular economy system. It is estimated that a circular economy path adopted by India could bring in annual benefits of 40 lakh crores or approximately US$ 624 billion in 2050.

Labels

The material for labelstock consists of many elements and sustainability cannot be in the total laminate, each component must be sustainable and contribute. The self-adhesive label laminate primarily consists of face stock with or without a primer or lamination, pressure sensitive adhesive and siliconized release paper or film. To be sustainable each element must be dwelled upon separately. The life cycle of each of these is different and an analysis needs to be done in-depth to make decisions towards achieving sustainability goals.

Climate change and environmental concerns have now become issues that cannot be ignored and need to be attended to, at national and global levels. With increased statutory government directives to reduce carbon footprint and make sustainability an imperative, manufacturers are under pressure to re-engineer their products and their packaging. Leading brands have committed themselves to sustainability and circular economy to reduce their carbon footprint. Labels also being  a part of packaging must be designed to achieve maximum level of sustainability and circular economy. FMCG brand owners are now preferring packaging solutions that will enable them to achieve decrease in their carbon footprint ensuring recycling of packaging material which is environment friendly. It is thus necessary to dwell on the different components of self-adhesive labels and their diverse usage. In India Avery Dennison has launched a matrix and liner recycling program to aid these needs. The liner collected from converters is sent to a company who repulps the liner mixed with wastepaper to produce tissue for shoe industry or other paper board items. The matrix is converted to briquettes and used as fuel.

Face materials

The label face material is the actual performing part of the label that after application stays with the product during its entire lifecycle. Variety of substrates are used to be the label depending on its performance and aesthetics. These can be papers that are either coated or uncoated, plastic films or other materials. Even paper labels laminated with films are in use. Unlaminated paper is, as such, largely re-pulpable and converted to become recycled paper or paperboard to be reused but here we need to understand that in case of self-adhesive labels, paper alone does not get affixed to the product, it has an adhesive with it. The final label with the adhesive goes on to the product while the waste matrix after die-cutting in converting is waste that often goes to landfills impacting the environment adversely. It can also be shredded and molded as pellets or bricks to be used as fuel.

To that extent we can consider the waste matrix sustainable as it is put to constructive use.  However still, the label that is affixed on the product has to be disposed along with the adhesive and the package it is on. So, we need to use special adhesives for the label to be re-pulpable in case of use on paper based packaging, or removable or washed off for recycling, when applied on reusable glass containers. We dwell on adhesives later in this article. Going backwards label buyers also have started insisting for their vendors to use FSC certified papers. FSC® or Forest Stewardship Council® certified paper is paper that has been harvested in a responsible manner. FSC stands for sustainable sourcing that puts forests and people first.

In case of filmic labels besides adhesive, it is another issue with worldwide movement against use of plastics wherever avoidable. The reason for this is that plastics are largely not biodegradable or non-compostable, so they are not ecofriendly. With EPR becoming mandatory in India, companies are constantly trying to use materials that can be recycled or reused. According to EPR or Extended Producers Responsibility,  which is the responsibility of Producers, Importers and Brand-owners to ensure processing of their plastic packaging waste through recycling, re-use or end of life disposal (such as co-processing/Waste-to-energy/Plastic to-oil/roadmaking/industrial-composting).

The impact is evident from the fact that most companies are shifting towards paper based packaging or even paper based self-adhesive tapes. Many filmic labels are based on mono polymer PE, PP or PET so if they are used on bottles made with same polymer these can be recycled provided the adhesive is compatible. Some companies have been making changes in manufacturing to improve the recyclability of product packaging and look at ways of reducing carbon footprint.  New films, made with 30-50% post-consumer recycled material or made with biobased materials, are offered that aid the circular economy and reduce the use of fossil based packaging while reducing carbon footprint. Some of these films available are fully compostable. Specially designed thinner films that are converted to  be used for highspeed labeling are being preferred as using less material, is a good step toward sustainability.

Adhesives

Often when assessing the sustainability of a packaging, people tend to overlook the impact of adhesives that are an inherent part of the package. An adhesive that may hinder the recyclability or maybe non compostable will become a setback for the efforts to make labels and stickers sustainable. An adhesive must be chosen, such that it will comply with end-of-life process to recycle and reuse or be compostable.

With advancements in technology, adhesives are derived from either natural or synthetic raw materials. A general perception, that adhesives formulated with natural inputs may be sustainable and those made from synthetics are not sustainable, is not true as a rule. Both types of adhesives can be developed and formulated to perform and yet conform to sustainability. It is important to study and select adhesive for labels based on your need. Let us for example consider self-adhesive beer labels in returnable glass bottles. In this case the adhesive should be compostable and easily washable to separate from the glass bottle for the bottle to be washed and reused while the label in the water can also be separated, recycled or dispose without adversely impacting environment. In case of PE bottles with PE labels, the adhesive should be compatible, such that it can be shredded granulated along with the bottle for remolding.  For each application the selection of adhesive is important.

Release liners

Over fifty percent of self-adhesive labelstock used for manufacturing labels or stickers  is generated as waste in converting. This is a known and accepted fact. The waste, more often than not, goes to landfills impacting environment. The release liner that protects the adhesive until the label is dispensed and applied, forms a major part of the waste generated. Since many years companies have been looking at options to either do away with the liner or reducing the waste generated by the liner.

Paper based liners form more than 80% release liners used for self-adhesive labels. The paper-based liners include Glassine, SCK, CCK and Poly coated papers. Linerless labels have been considered and used for some years now but due to growing need for better aesthetics, die-cutting complex shapes and embellishments, they have limited use. To reduce the tonnage of liner waste going to landfills as a sustainability endeavor, there has been talk of reducing the caliper/grammage of liner used but not much headway has been made in this direction.

In India and Europe, glassine is largely used as the preferred release liner and accounts to over 70% of all paper liners used. For long, release papers were not considered recyclable due to the silicone coating which after crosslinking becomes inert. However with development in technology, some companies in Europe and USA  developed a de-siliconization process after which the paper can be processed to reproduce base papers for siliconizing. In the process, siliconized liner is repulped in water containing chemicals to release the silicone and remove the small silicone particles like in the process used for deinking of repulped printed papers. The de-siliconized pulp can then be used to produce new products, such as fine and specialty papers like release liner, label face, writing and printing papers. Thereby achieving circularity.

There has been substantial growth in use of filmic liners that are thinner and can take more labels per roll. The residual filmic liner can be recycled, enabling circularity. To achieve an elevated level of circular economy and sustainability, “CELAB” (Circular Economy for Labels),  was set up by 50 industry-leading companies representing the entire value chain that have come together to create a sustainable pressure sensitive labeling industry by offering solutions and providing education to enable matrix and liner recycling.

It is an ad-hoc coalition empowered to reach across the entire supply chain and leverage the expertise of industry participants to promote a circular economy for self-adhesive label materials. CELAB’s members comprise industry members both large and small, and with both global and regional market presence. It also includes companies up and down the value chain of the matrix and liner industry. According to CELAB, “Like many other grades of film, silicone coated filmic release liners are recycled by regrinding the film into chips/pellets which can then be mixed with ‘virgin’ polymer and re-introduced to a film extrusion line for production of new polymeric film.”

Self-adhesive or pressure sensitive labels industry was at one time considered to be generating waste that was polluting the environment but gradually all-around efforts are driving in sustainability and recyclability. It is a matter of time the processes will evolve and the industry will shed the waste generating tag and grow.

Written by Harveer Sahni, Chairman Weldon Celloplast Limited New Delhi-India January 2023

Marks Emballage factory at Baddi

 

In May 2018, the Indian label fraternity was amazed to read the news of an upcoming relatively young label company Marks Emballage announcing the confirmation to buy two Gallus Labelmaster presses in one go. This one step would take this nondescript label manufacturing company into the big league. The author has been in the Indian label industry for over four decades. As far as memory recollects, there have been instances when two presses have been ordered by printers to be delivered one after the other with a gap of time, but the unique instance of two presses to be delivered and installed in just one go is a first one such occurrence so far, this is history for the Indian label industry! By rough estimates, a 4 billion Dollar labels industry (not label stock but finished labels) growing at an average of 10-15% per annum surely needs such investments regularly to meet the 400-500 million Dollar growth in demands of labels. Leading Mark Emballage, Aadtiya Kashyap, a former international banker, is the courageous one who made his foray into the Indian label industry and announced his first significant expansion investment with a bang.

 

 

Aaditya and Khushboo

Aaditya was born and brought up in Mumbai, an Alumnus of St. Xavier’s School Mumbai (He prefers to call the city Bombay as he has called it all his life). Later he finished his graduation from the prestigious Ruia College, Mumbai, in Mathematics. He had considered a career in computers and did a couple of courses in that, but he graduated in the subject since he was good in mathematics. While in Ruia college, he fell in love with Khushboo Singh, who was pursuing BA in the same college. After a courtship lasting almost five years, they decided to tie the knot and got married in 2008. After graduation, Aaditya got his first job in the international bank J P Morgan, where he worked for the next seven years. This job was a good learning experience in how systems in business work and how different departments work. He was the only one in the organization at that time who got four promotions in seven years. Those were many learning years that added to his experience. Looking back, he is happy that he worked there, as the experience has been helping him when in business. 

 

 

 

Aaditya’s wife Khushboo belongs to a successful business family involved in pharmaceuticals, so it was a matter of time that his In-Laws prompted him to consider entrepreneurial options. The suggestions ranged from indulging in pharmaceutical products to items connected to pharma. Khushboo’s grandfather Samprada Singh took it upon himself to mentor Aaditya. Samprada Singh, the founder of Alkem Laboratories, had a significant influence on Aaditya. He was a true visionary and an impactful leader whose life was full of beautiful lessons of courage, resolve, hard work and indomitable willpower. His journey from a tiny village in Bihar to establishing India’s largest pharma company is just an extraordinary one. His life story portrays the old English adage, “From tiny acorns grow mighty oaks.”

 

 

 

Initially, Aaditya spent time in Alkem Laboratories to learn various aspects of the pharma business. First, he spent time with the purchasing team before moving on to “Doctor’s gifting”, a concept that was a contact-building and promotional cum marketing exercise undertaken by pharma companies to stay connected with doctors. A year down the line, he moved to Galpha laboratories owned by his Father-in-law N K Singh taking care of the same portfolio of doctor gifting until a government notification limited the scope of “doctor giftings”. At this time, he faced another change of job profile or considered another line. In his time spent with the purchasing team at Alkem & Galpha, he had gained much knowledge about packaging and its nuances. Khushboo, being born into the pharma business family, was a natural fit to take up professional responsibilities. As business was in her blood, she joined her father’s company, GALPHA which she had joined immediately after college in 2004-2005, primarily taking care of production planning, purchase of packaging and raw materials. The circumstances, as they evolved, led Aaditya to consider making a foray into packaging.

 

 

Meanwhile, Aaditya and Khushboo decided to move to Baddi to set up a pharma unit extension of GALPHA, manufacturing formulations. Aaditya’s experience as a banker kept bringing to him the realization that if two people are doing the same thing, then the output is restricted. He started looking at some other venture. His brother-in-law Dr J P N SINGH (Khushboo’s sister’s husband), who also is looked upon as a mentor by Aaditya, was making pet bottles, suggested label manufacturing and that, eventually led him to decide on labels. JPN had prompted, “all the bottles I make will have labels made by you on them”. His father-in-law NK Singh and grandfather Samprada Singh all agreed that labels were good business. So, in 2011 the decision was taken to set up a label manufacturing unit. The initial two and half years were spent trading in labels, outsourcing them from different vendors and supplying to group companies. During this period, he spent much time with the printers at their factories, getting the right kind of labels and in the process learnt the basics of label manufacturing from prepress to plate making and finally converting. He is indebted to Datta Ram Fulsundar of Aarya Printpack – Mumbai, with whom he had confided about setting up his unit, yet the printer agreed to teach and train him all about manufacturing labels.

 

Since Aaditya had made up his mind to invest in a label press and print labels himself, JPN mentoring him on, suggested; that to test the heat, one should check with just a finger touch before putting your hand in, meaning start the operation at a tiny stage and go thereon. In November 2013, Aaditya, with his wife Khushboo as a partner, launched their maiden startup venture, Marks Fine Printers in Baddi Himachal Pradesh, in a 2000 square feet industrial shed with just one Chinese stack type flexo label press. While Khushboo continued to look after GALPHA Laboratories Baddi, Aaditya got full time into setting up the label unit. The first order, even though it came from a family-owned company GALPHA laboratories, the experience was, as Aaditya says, “Exhilarating! It was like scoring a maiden cricket century.” For the next two years, they catered to family-owned pharma companies. The biggest challenge was getting the suitable operators and people to run the press but then time elapsed, which has taught him to manage that. 2 years after initiation, Aaditya seemed to have tested the heat and confidence, invested in a Bobst label press. Once the operations were well set, it was time to get customers beyond the family companies. The natural step was to rope in companies that were contract manufacturers to the group. Subsequently, they ventured out to service customers outside the family reach, initially it was all pharma as they had much experience in the segment, but later, they got into all segments like Food, FMCG, Liquor and others. He remains indebted to the four mentors that including his father. It is their advice that made this possible. Aaditya always wanted to be like his father, who taught him; “The name that you earn, always has more value than the money earned”.  Walking on his father’s footsteps, Aaditya has ensured a good name for himself along with setting up a successful business. Once established, it was time to get experienced professionals in and systemize the whole operations. They looked around and slowly got their team together.

 

 

 

C K, Aaditya with Ferdi and Sameer of Gallus 

In packaging requirements for pharmaceuticals, the size of labels is relatively small, but when Aaditya started to look at other segments, the label size was much bigger, which meant that with the same inputs and infrastructure, the costing would be different, turnover would grow bigger. This was an exciting realization, and the vision to expand started getting more precise. Initially, Aaditya had planned to add a press every three years, but this new realization prompted him to grow exponentially. He established the new company Marks Emballage Pvt. Ltd. in 2018 to invest in two Gallus label presses in one go. Hoping to make a substantial impact in the Indian label industry with their big move, however, as luck would have it, they started printing on these two presses in April 2020 when the pandemic hit across. Covid has been a difficult time for Marks Emballage. The first few days were a mixture of too many different feelings inside, from the fear of the unknown, concern for employee’s safety, responsibilities to serve the customers. Despite the uncertainties, they gathered themselves and planned to navigate through the difficult time. This was possible only with the total dedication of their team, who put up great courage and kept the business going and growing. They realize that going into the future, leaner companies and more automation will be the way forward. Cloud technologies, robotics, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality combined will reduce human physical contact and dependence. This will be the biggest shift for all businesses and Marks is no exception. This goes on to validate their investment in the right equipment, processes, certifications, and team.

 

 

 
Besides having residence in Mumbai, Aaditya and Khushboo now stay in Chandigarh with their 8-year-old daughter Kiara. While they complement each other in work yet look after different businesses. Marks Emballage Pvt. Ltd. is a fast-growing company headquartered at Chandigarh and operates out of factories at two locations in Baddi. The plant is spread over 30,000 square feet and equipped with some of the finest equipment like print kits from Gallus, Bobst, AVT, Prati , Pantec and Xrite. A team of 60 people is creating a work culture of excellence. Talking of new ideas and projects and the vision for the next five years, Aaditya says, “We have too many ideas to implement. I am working on many exciting new projects in technology, consumer products, packaging, and pharma. We aspire to roll out at least one new project every year for the next five years. This is the time for us to spread our wings before getting into a consolidation mode in 5 years. 
 
CK Gadhia of Marks giving student of year awards
 
 
 
The journey has just begun”. Marks Emballage has, as a part of its CSR initiative, invested in sponsoring the annual “Printweek Student of the year” award. They are very keen to backup educational initiatives for encouraging the new generation to take up print as a career. 

 

 


As he plans his way forward in the label and packaging field, Aaditya makes a fervent appeal to peers, “I would like to appeal to all the fellow label printers that we should all work with better collaboration and work with each other rather than work against each other. Together we can have great strength to backup print education to ease our recruitment needs, have complimentary print technologies to avoid idle capacities, and have a better say in purchase or sales negotiations. The advantages are just many. It is time to team up and grow the industry together. We need to increase the overall pie. While we are all doing the basics of waste management today, the need of the hour is to attack the problem from the very base. We are studying and closely following linerless labels and believe that they can be a game-changer for our industry. As per industry reports, only 5% of the laminates and self-adhesive label stock is reused or recycled. This area demands our closest attention. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Marks Emballage is a company to watch, as an ambitious team aspires to grow 10-fold by the end next five years. With a young, dynamic leader like Aaditya Kashyap at the helm, hoping the pandemic’s after-effects soon end, this company will be moving fast to achieve targets and move tangentially, investing in technologies in synergy.

 

 

 

 

 

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