Kumar Labels
The NBG Starflex 430 at Kumar Labels. Photo Kumar Labels

Kumar Labels recently added a 10-color NBG Starflex 430 flexo label press to augment capacity in its Greater Noida plant. “NBG worked closely with us to understand our needs and built this machine for us. We are quite happy with the performance so far,” Anuj Bhargava shared with Packaging South Asia during a recent interaction. The robustness of NBG machines is what caught Kumar’s eye while making the selection. “We are running the machine at over 100 meters a minute during production runs,” he says.

Kumar Labels relies hugely on ‘Navonmesh’ or innovation for its success in the labels industry in India. Smart labels and Single Release with Two Facestocks (SRTF) technology are two of its innovations portfolio that set it apart from other label manufacturers in the country. The SRTF technology leads to 50% waste reduction, 60% carbon emission reduction, and a 20% total applied cost saving, according to Bhargava. AI and VR label solutions provided by the company are intended to engage customers with an interactive experience.

The company is significantly engaged in manufacturing labels for the competitive alcobev industry. It adds value to its luxury liquor labels with embossing effects, which come from the usage of foils and coatings. These are created with UV coatings on its large number of flexo presses and automated silk-screen machines. Along with this, Bhargava employs a graining machine to add unique textures to paper labels for an interesting tactile experience. He devises every new visual and haptic possibility to set apart a luxury brand from its competitors.

The company’s alcobev clients include Beam Suntory India, makers of Jim Beam and Teacher’s whiskey, Caption Morgan, Oaks Smith, Directors Special, B10 Premium, Rampur Single Malt, and several others. 

In our previous visit to Kumar Labels, Bhargava stated, “There is a huge demand for premiumization in this segment as preferences are changing across categories and there is a clear trend towards ‘stand out’ rather than ‘me too.’ With premium packaging, perceptions are changing about a brand and giving a kick to the market.”

At Kumar Labels, they are 360 degrees integrated with our customers because we make raw materials, label stocks, and label applicators, Bhargava told Packaging South Asia. “Therefore, we can offer them a better price. Our focus on innovation, fast and agile presses and ancillary equipment, reliable service, price, and our family history of working in the industry differentiate the company,” he asserted.

Being in the labels industry for over 15 years has given Kumar the advantage of understanding the needs of the competitive alcobev industry, which in turn helps him guide its customers about legal mandatories for approvals, trade requirements for labels, and more.

An engineer by profession, Bhargava loves to tinker with machines to fine-tune them to his manufacturing process. The 16-year-old organization has evolved with a battery of label presses from a variety of manufacturers – from a Multitec narrow web flexo press to a Heidelberg EM280 label press with a rotary screen, which was augmented with an automatic infeed splicer. Another Heidelberg EM280 was added later with a Martin automatic splicer on the infeed side. The company also added several silk-screen printing machines along with slitting, hologram decorating, and inspection machines. It has an Esko CDI digital imaging and processing system for both prepress and flexo and letterpress platemaking in-house, which was added in recent years. 

On the current state of the label industry in India, Bhargava says, “These may be somewhat tough times for the labels segment. Extreme levels of competition and excess capacity seem to be making things very difficult. Consolidation is the need of the hour.” He says the digital labels segment is something the company hasn’t yet ventured into and he is making efforts to understand and explore this new area.

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