Soparkar & Kothari Technologies
Vikas Bajaj, plant head of Soparkar & Kothari Technologies with the Echaar Flexomaster HR 500 high-speed CI Flexo printing press. Photo: Soparkar & Kothari Technologies

Soparkar & Kothari Technologies (S&K), the independently owned company based in Ahmedabad, installed an Echaar Flexomaster HR 500 high-speed CI Flexo printing press in February 2023 for the hygiene film market realizing the growing demand for breathable & non breathable films, outer packaging and speciality films such as MDO films. S&K had invested in a cast line to produce back sheet films in 2022. In the last quarter of 2021, the company installed a W&H Varex II with MDO blown film line for manufacturing breathable and non-breathable back sheet films as earlier reported by Packaging South Asia. All the machines are located at the company’s 50,000-square-meter plant in Changodar on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.

S&K Technologies provides hygiene product manufacturers with comprehensive inputs of high-quality sustainable films under one roof. A turnkey solution provider producing back sheet, and outer packaging in India, the company is established and backed by the all-women power duo of Deval Soparkar, and Vidisha Kothari, mentored by Kaushal Soparkar

Vikas Bajaj, plant head of Soparkar & Kothari Technologies, in a recent interaction with Packaging South Asia, said, “We started operations on the Echaar Flexomaster HR 500 in April 2023. Initially, we had 4-color presses but wanted to go for print jobs on 6-color and 8-color presses for the outer wrapping of hygiene products. From our experience, we got a very good deal with superior quality compared to other machines available in the country, while also supporting the Indian government’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.

“When we came across the machine for the first time, it was running at 550 meters per minute without a single vibration,” said Bajaj, adding that high-speed registration with quality and accuracy are the features that prompted the Ahmedabad-based S&K Technologies to opt for the machine.

“The machine has lived up to our expectations in every context. We have since tried the machine on multiple materials such as breathable films, and non-breathable films as low as 12 gsm and it has given exceptional results each time,” he said.

Breathable films are very delicate and at times we used to face the challenge of film shrinkage or elongation due to which multiple printing problems such as misregistration and spreading of ink, Bajaj explained. “Sometimes, we experienced printing challenges while printing 12 gsm non-breathable films on other machines, but we didn’t face any such challenge with this machine. We also printed 7-color paper and shrink film with good results.”

With persistent efforts to transform the manufacturing and packaging of hygiene products in India, S&K Technologies recently added Emami, Himalaya, Paramount and Piramal Healthcare to its already long list of companies for the outer packaging of feminine hygiene products and baby diapers. Soothe Healthcare, Swara Baby Products, Kangaroo, K Enterprise, PAN Healthcare, Uniclan Healthcare, and MD Hygiene are already using back sheet  and outer packaging films manufactured by the woman-led enterprise.

S&K Technologies had also participated in the Sixth Right Hygiene conference from 20 – 21 March 2024 in New Delhi. Kaushal Soparkar commented that the event mostly dealt with the quality of hygiene products in India, the evolution of the segment and the challenges specific to this niche segment – along with consumer expectations from the Indian hygiene industry.

“The Indian hygiene industry is experiencing double digit growth due to increasing awareness and disposable incomes per capita rising. As far as quality is concerned for hygiene products, India has a long way to go before it reaches the high quality standards set by developed countries. The Indian users demand the highest quality but aren’t really looking at loosening their purse strings,” Soparkar noted. Though we are ready to supply films as low as 12 gsm, many Indian manufacturers’ packaging lines are not ready to handle or process such delicate films, he said, adding that it will take some time to bridge the gap between Indian and foreign manufacturers.

“As a local supplier, we are getting a lot of importance from MNC’s now as a ‘Make in India’ production house,” Soparkar stated, adding that it has definitely helped manufacturers facing supply chain issues with imports. “I believe that the growth in the Indian hygiene industry will remain for the next decade or so,” he concluded.

 

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