The Association of Label Printers & Suppliers (ALPS) organized the first edition of World of Labeling (WOL) under which a seminar titled ‘Going Digital –When & How?’ was held on 10 August at Sea Princess Hotel in Mumbai. The seminar was attended by a host of personalities from the label industry. The event was sponsored by Avery Dennison, Domino India, Vinsak India and Xeikon. The seminar was inaugurated by Gururaj Ballarwad, president, ALPS; Arunesh Bansal, general secretary, ALPS; Ashish Gupta, treasurer, ALPS; Ajay Aggarwal, vice president, ALPS; and Sudhir Samant of Sudhir Samant & Associates.
Gupta delivered the welcome address while Ballarwad presented the keynote address. Many interesting issues related to the label industry were discussed during the seminar, which generated rave reviews from the audience.
Vikram Saxena of Xeikon during his presentation tried to clear some of the myths related to digital technology and its adoption in the Indian label industry. He said that many label convertors think that if they shift to digital technology, they will need to make a lot of changes in their setup. “This is not true at all,” he said. Saxena stated that another misconception among label printers is that conventional presses offer wider printing options as compared to digital presses. Flexo presses may be able to handle wider range of substrates, but for most label convertors this may not be relevant, he added. Also, digital presses offer features like variable data printing, which is not possible on flexo presses or even if available it is not cost effective. “Digital is not a substitute but complementary to a conventional set-up,” Saxena said. Some other myths about digital printing that Saxena attempted to address were about the quality of the digital press and costs involved.
Ashish Gupta of Rational Business Corporation shed some light of the structural challenges that the Indian label industry is facing. Gupta pointed out that the label industry is suffering from the problem of label being a low-value product. Some other challenges that the industry is facing are: shortage of skilled labor leading to wage inflation, short-term vision, lack of research and absence of scale. Some of the solutions that Gupta offered was that label convertors should stress on capital management, think beyond prices and stay abreast with technology.
Parag Agrawal of Avery Dennison India talked about the future trends in digital printing and growth drivers. Agarwal said that inkjet will become the dominant technology in digital printing and segments such as cartons, rigid boxes, metal and corrugated will take up digital technology. Ajay Rao Rane of Domino India discussed how to minimize the challenges faced by digital label convertors.
Ranesh Bajaj of Vinsak India talked about why digital finishing is crucial in the whole process. “A label is 50% printing and 50% functionality. And due to the functional nature of a label, finishing plays a key part. You can print 100 jobs but to finish those 100 jobs, it is important not to have any bottlenecks,” he said.
The presentations were followed by a panel discussion where experts from the industry touched upon the issue of challenges faced by Indian label companies in adopting digital technology. The panel consisted of Ajay Rao Rane of Domino India, Denver Annuniciation of Janus International, Ranesh Bajaj of Vinsak India, Tejas Tanna of Printmann Group and Vijay Pareek of Genius Flexo Machinery. The session was moderated by Ajay Aggarwal of Syndicate Labels.
The event closed with ALPS office bearers felicitating the sponsors, speakers and panelists.