Color Flex installs Pelican SoloMark 8-color gravure press

Unscathed by lockdown -- volumes dictate investment

Vicky Jain, group director Color Flex (Right) and Lalith Jain, director - operations (Left) of Color Flex
Vicky Jain, group director Color Flex (Right) and Lalith Jain, director - operations (Left) of Color Flex

Bengaluru-based flexible packaging printer and converter Color Flex has recently installed a brand-new Pelican SoloMark rotogravure press. Established more than a decade ago, Color Flex has established itself among the leading suppliers of flexible packaging.

“It’s twelve years since we laid the foundation of our flexible packaging division, Color Flex. In this time, our technocrats have thrived and are keen to update and upgrade the organization with better technology and modern infrastructure. Hand in hand with the organization’s growth we have invested in the expansion of the infrastructure,” says Vicky Jain, group director of Color Flex.

The new Pelican SoloMark can print with excellent quality at a speed of printing 250 meters a minute with a web width of 1300 mm. The press is driven by a mechanical line shaft and servo motor system. It has a short web path and an integrated register control system for quality reproduction on a wide range of films and laminates. The press is capable of reverse and surface printing on substrates such as BOPET, BOPP, paper, PLA, LDPE/LLDPE, and PVC.

Extensive print, converting and pouch-making capacity

Apart from the Pelican SoloMark, the organization has two 8-color gravure presses and a solvent-based adhesive laminator manufactured by Canara Flex. It also runs a solventless adhesive laminator from Expert, a slitting machine from Kody, and a multi-layer co-extruder from Rajoo. The converting department also has three shrink sleeve machines imported from Taiwan and twenty pre-form pouch-making machines from Galaxy Packtech, XL Plastics. Color Flex also has an imported shaped pouch making machine.

Unscathed during the lockdown

Color Flex, like many flexible packaging suppliers, was relatively unaffected by the Covid-19 pandemic and the ensuing government lockdown from late March. “As we cater to clients such as KMF-Nandini, Tamil Nadu Salt Corporation, and Sriveda Sattva, who are essential commodity producers, our business was not greatly affected. And we were working at full capacity during the lockdown,” says Jain.

After the first stage of easing the lockdown in end-May, the flexible packaging business has seen substantial improvement. The consumption of packaged items has increased as people become more careful about hygiene and the need for hands-free trade and retail.

Pelican SoloMark 8-color rotogravure press Photo Pelican Rotoflex
Pelican SoloMark 8-color rotogravure press Photo Pelican Rotoflex

“There has been a dramatic improvement in business after the relaxation of the lockdown, which is one of the reasons for expanding our print capacity with the new Pelican gravure printing line. We needed it to fulfill customers’ requirements faster with less lead times. We expect the flexible packaging industry’s growth to be on an uptrend, and it is likely to be higher this fiscal year than the previous year,” Jain adds.

More investments planned

With the expectation of robust growth in volumes in the near future, Color Flex is now planning to add additional capacity. Jain affirms, “Yes, we have planned for further investment in infrastructure. The addition of a solventless adhesive laminator, three more pre-form pouch making machines, and a spout pouch extension, which we will import are already in the list.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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