The VK Global Digital plant in Manesar

Consolidation and growth of a large print and carton packaging plant

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VK
VK Global Digital's metallic effect films are used by carton converters around the world. It also produces some of the cartons in its own plant in Manesar. Photo VK Global Digital

Faridabad-based VK Global Publications’ associated company – VK Global Digital, an established manufacturer and supplier of holographic metallic effects, acquired RaveScan in 2018 in the NCLAT. We recently visited the plant in Manesar where VK Global Digital has consolidated all the assets from the RaveScan plants in Manesar and the Naraina industrial area in West Delhi.

The assets acquired by VK Global Digital are considerable, comprising nine Heidelberg offset presses, including seven multicolor presses ranging from a 4-color to an 8-color perfector in addition to a double color and a single color press. Several of the presses are accompanied by coaters and the 6-color with coater UV press has an in-line cold foil unit installed on top of the first two units. 

Top-notch bookbinding 

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Text book covers of VK Global Publications use the holographic metallic effects produced at the VK Global Digital plant in Manesar for dramatic visual effects and also for anti-counterfeiting and anti-piracy. Photo VK Global Digital

For the finishing, coating, lamination, binding and converting lines there are separate floors dedicated to commercial printing and bookbinding, and the packaging converting for monocartons and luxury box making. In the commercial printing and finishing domain, VK Global is committed for more than half the year for the printing of school and college textbooks. However, it is just as keen to fill up this comprehensive binding capacity with general books going forward. The equipment is top-notch, ranging from an extensive battery of folding machines, an Aster section-sewing machine, automated gathering and stitching machines from Muller Martini, to multi-clamp perfect binders and 3-knife trimmers.  

VK’s commercial printing division in Manesar has extended book printing capacity with the full complement of single-color, double color, 4-color, 5-color, and 8-color perfecting Heidelberg presses and the extensive automated binding equipment. It is highly invested in the textbook season with the VK group’s school and university textbooks. For the rest of the year, it is seeking to generate more demand from the general book publishers and advertising collateral, particularly from its current clients for whom it already provides monocartons and hard box luxury packaging. 

Turning an acquisition around   

Namit Jain, director of VK Global, tells us that the packaging division at the Manesar plant is driven by the Heidelberg 6-color coater UV press with foiler as well as the other multicolor coater presses with converting equipment including a precision register laminator and the Bobst Novacut diecutter and two Bobst folder-gluers. Jain, explains, “We spent the first fifteen months after taking over the plant in simply re-organizing the plant and moving all the equipment including the Italian hard box making machines into the single large premises that we occupy today in Manesar. One can say this was a time of healthy learning and consolidation and then the pandemic struck.

Nevertheless, we have been fortunate during the past eighteen months to be able to build a strong association with our clients for whom consistency and timeliness do matter. But we had to increase our productivity to match their demands and did so by improving our die-cutting efficiencies and procuring another folder-gluer from Bobst. However, even after optimizing our Novacut diecutter productivity, we need more capacity for balancing and increasing our carton throughput and thus, have ordered another Bobst Novacut and are eagerly awaiting the delivery of the same.”  

Admittedly, it is a considerable challenge to turn a large printing and packaging plant around in less than three years with a global pandemic raging. Namit Jain modestly admits that the plant is now at an operational break-even and undergoing the even more formidable task of ramping up operations and systems for expansion, growth, and healthy profits. 

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Naresh Khanna interviews Namit Jain, director VK Global Digital in Manesar.

The sustainable holographic metallic effect   

The Manesar commercial and packaging plant’s parent VK Global Digital, manufactures a unique film containing spectacular metallic holographic effects that can be either laminated to board or transferred with the carrier film removed entirely for recycling. While these films have been mainly exported for the last seven years with some global brands and leading converters also showing interest in India, Jain says, “The time has come to grow the Manesar plant and to bring this decoration and anti-counterfeiting technology to the Indian carton packaging market. We have already been applying it extensively for the textbook covers produced by our publication company, and now we want to increasingly introduce these attractive metallic effects to carton production in India.

“Considering our experience in producing the film along with the comprehensive technology and application equipment in our Manesar plant, ours is perhaps the only such capacity in the world for this unique metallic effect films as well as its application on paper and paper board. Already used by leading cosmetic manufacturers in Europe, it should be a sustainable and eye-catching solution for maximizing shelf impact and security against counterfieting for our customer’s products in India also. It can be the easily recyclable answer to laminating metalized polyester film on board known as met-pet by the industry.”

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The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are grown similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy. Elected vice-president of the International Packaging Press Organization in May 2023.

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