R Stanton Avery Global Achievement Award for Harveer Sahni

Labelstock manufacturer, equipment seller, and author recognized

Harveer Sahni has won R Stanton Avery Global Achievement Award Photo: Labelexpo India
Harveer Sahni has won R Stanton Avery Global Achievement Award Photo: Labelexpo India

This year’s R Stanton Avery Global Achievement Award is bestowed on Indian label industry veteran Harveer Sahni. The decision was made by a global panel comprising Lori Campbell, chairman of TLMI, Linnea Keen, president of TLMI, Philippe Voet, Finat president, Greg Hrinya, editor of Label & Narrow Web, James Quirk, content director at Labels & Labeling, and Jean Poncet, editor-in-chief at Etiq+Pack.

Andy Thomas-Emans, Labelexpo Global Series strategic director and chair of the judging panel, commented, “The judges felt Harveer Sahni met all the criteria for excellence demanded by the industry’s most prestigious award for an individual’s global contribution to the growth and development of the labels industry. His history in building a company to manufacture self-adhesive labels in India, his central role in building the Indian label association, and then acting as an influential ambassador on the world stage, all helped the judging panel to come to their decision amongst a field of excellent candidates.”

Sahni started work in 1971 working in his father’s stationery company, Weldon Sales Corporation. In 1978, he set up a 20-inch coater to manufacture self-adhesive BOPP tapes. 

Research and development of new products including inks, adhesives and coatings led him to industrial adhesives, plastic blow molding, and injection molding. In 1978 Sahni invested in a siliconizing line, developing and producing poly-coated release liners and eventually a barrier coating for uncoated woodfree or brown sack kraft papers that could accept silicone release coating.

In the late 1990s, Sahni installed a one-meter coater for both silicone coating and to produce release liners, and in 1997 Weldon started manufacturing self-adhesive labelstock, soon adding another coater to focus on liner manufacture. In 2003 Sahni again was a pioneer setting up the first Nordson Hotmelt adhesive coating line in India.

Equipment, tooling, and consumables

In 2001 Sahni actively helped Anil Arora establish the India Label Show – acquired by Tarsus in 2007. The global recession of 2008 led to Sahni reducing his company’s dependence on manufacturing labelstock and becoming the Indian distributor and agent for leading global manufacturers of print and converting equipment, tooling, and consumables.

Weldon became the first Indian labelstock manufacturer to exhibit at Labelexpo Europe, and Sahni joined a FINAT committee, becoming a judge for the World Label Awards several times. Sahni is on the board of directors of the Label Manufacturers Association of India (LMAI) and was part of the LMAI delegation to meetings of the L9 group of global label associations, with LMAI hosting an L9 meeting in India in 2018. In 2017 the LMAI conferred the award for Lifetime support to the Indian Label Industry on Sahni. Sahni is also the author of an industry-leading blog on the label industry in India.

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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– Naresh Khanna

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