HBD Packaging – 30% growth and investment post-Covid

Continuous investment in technology and market-centric automation

HBD Packaging
Rajiv Bhargava, MD at HBD Packaging with an Outex Flute Laminator (Photo PSA)

HBD Packaging, a family-run business founded in 1985, is a provider of innovative and quality printed packaging materials. At its purpose-built factory in Greater Noida, HBD Packaging is using the latest technology in prepress, printing, post-press, and packaging conversion.

Machinery such as the DGM SmartFold 1100, Eterna Elite Die cutter, Shanhe high-speed Flute has been added in the past several years to complement its extensive battery of multicolor offset presses. Another multicolor press, a 7-color coater RMGT using UV LED for interdeck curing, is on order and likely to be installed in March.

Rajiv and Niraj Bhargava started HBD packaging in 1985. Earlier they worked with Konark Printing and Packagings owned by the firm of Vishnu Kumar and Brothers. HBD’s current operations include a range of packaging processes for producing paperboard monocartons, litho-laminated cartons, leaflets, and three-ply cartons for FMCG brands for food, pharmaceuticals, toothpaste, and mosquito repellents.

In a recent conversation, Rajiv Bhargava, MD at HBD Packaging said, “The FMCG and pharma industries are growing rapidly, and we have several prominent customers in these segments. Paperboard based monocartons and litho-laminated cartons have a lot of potential upside because they are recyclable. Even the trim waste that comes out of the packaging we produce goes to the paper mills for recycling.

“We hardly work with plastic, except for lamination films but the paper mills can recycle that also by separating the paper and plastic film. Our processes involve printing, converting, coating, foiling, dye punching, embossing, and folder gluing and all of these operations are conducted in-house.”

As Bhargav explained to us recently technology investment has to be constant in order to keep up with the industry. The market is demanding many varieties of cartons and finishing techniques including gloss, matte and textured drip off coating which HBD provides. In addition every carton no matter what the product has to stand out on the shelf with metallic effects and embossing and debossing.

A carton for a coffee maker or a pressure cooker has to be as spectacular as a luxury cosmetic or perfume box. In addition for many products to withstand the warehousing and last mile logistics eCommerce, internal fitments have to be provided. HBP provides all these plus special blister cards, and trays and liner cartons for food packaging from its ISO 9001:2025 (QMS), ISO 22000:2018 (FSMS) and HAACP certified plant in Greater Noida.

Bhargava explains that funds, space and manpower constraints are among the major challenges of the packaging industry. He says that the pandemic made a few things clear to all the industry segments – that uncertainty and changing needs and preferences are the greatest challenges. These are a constant in the market, with the only solution being market-centric automation.

“In the past two years, HBD Packaging witnessed quite a number of quitters among its rolls – the delusion that higher pay is equivalent to growth prevents the development of highly skilled and committed individuals. For young employees, especially, the line between learn and earn is a blur. We faced severe challenges due to labor shortage, but patience and perseverance kept us going – resulting in over 30% growth post-Covid,” Bhargav adds.

Speaking from his experience in the industry regarding some of the common problems, he says, “The financial constraints can be really bothersome. At times, during the purchase of bulk raw material or new machinery, one doesn’t have the budget sorted out. However, if the dealers on the other end say that they don’t mind delayed payments because of their trust in us – it becomes a badge of honor. The amount of trust that we receive and the word-of-mouth confidence among our customers and suppliers are what we’ve actually earned over the years.”

Packaging South Asia — resilient, growing and impactful — daily, monthly — always responsive

The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

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.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers. This is a large and complex canvas – the only thing that can work is your agile thinking and innovation together with our continuous learning and persistence.

The coming year looks to be an up year in this region, and this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing communication – in our rich and highly targeted business platform with human resources on the ground. Share your thoughts and plans and to inspire and mobilize our editorial and advertising teams!

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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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