Bobst gravure in Nigeria
From left to right – Mustafa Khokhawala, vice president Operations, and managing director Nikos Gkanetsos, in front of the Bobst Master RS 6003 gravure printing press in the production plant of Bhojraj Industries Ltd in Nigeria Photo Bobst

Lagos-based Bhojraj Industries supplies flexible packaging to the food industry, printed on a top of the range Bobst Master RS 6003 gravure press. The Nigerian company is now adding a Bobst NOVA RS 5003 to the lineup, as it looks to extend capacity and continue its successful expansion in high-quality printed packaging. First established in the 1960s (as Bhojsons Industries Ltd), the food packaging specialist is part of Bhojraj Chanrai Group (formerly Bhojsons Group of Companies) with other interests in West Africa.

As a full-service provider, Bhojraj Industries offers film extrusion lamination, gravure printing, slitting and converting. A recent increase in demand for flexible packaging coincided with the need to upgrade its older printing equipment and improve output. To facilitate the transition, the company chose to partner with Bobst and invest in its gravure technology to produce added value, top quality packaging for big brands.

“Packaging printing in Nigeria, which is Africa’s largest market, is developing rapidly, and we are determined to retain our position as a leading manufacturer with the best kit, gear, and practices. Gravure printing, in particular, is set for significant growth over the next few years, so we are investing in the best possible printing presses to help us take advantage of this opportunity and serve our customers with the highest quality products,” explained Mahesh Sadhwani chairman of the Bhojraj Chanrai Group.

High speed and high quality

The first step in the process of upgrading production came in the form of a 9-color Bobst Master RS 6003 press, which was installed in 2019 and is the first machine of this specification to be installed in West Africa. As the first of its kind in the country, it is an investment that has given Bhojraj Industries a unique selling proposition in Nigeria. The advanced features have enabled the company to produce food-grade packaging for a wide variety of products, catering to food, pharma, beverages, and agricultural products industries in Nigeria

Running at speeds up to 500 meters a minute, the RS 6003 offers superior web handling of films, laminates, paper, and aluminum substrates, including delicate materials such as very thin LDPE. The press configuration at Bhojraj Industries includes pre-conditioning, an Electrostatic Print Assist (ESA) system, detection and control of solvent concentration levels, an extended double dryer, a web viewer with 100% inspection and in-line heat seal capability.

The extended high duty dryers of this machine drastically result in a substantial reduction of retained solvents up to <5mg/mtr2. This helps produce solvent taint free laminate, which will be food-safe for the industry to the highest specifications.

No other machines can match the capabilities of the MASTER RS 6003. Furthermore, printing thin, unsupported LDPE films at high speeds of 400 meters a minute on a rotogravure press is a unique feature, which means that the company does not require flexo press technology to print such substrates.

“Bobst’s gravure presses produce the best print in the market, while the fast running speed and minimum waste keep the unit cost on long runs low, which helps us compete on both quality and price,” said managing director Nikos Gkanetsos. “And with these new machines, we can make the most out of gravure print and color sharpness in terms of quality, consistency, and repeatability across all substrates, something that the brands we work with demand. It is a real game-changer for us.”

New Bobst Nova RS 5003 on its way

The Master RS 6003 is soon to be joined by a Nova RS 5003, another highly productive press that delivers superior performance on a variety of flexible materials, including new eco-friendly packaging substrates. Both machines will be housed in a brand-new production hall that has been built specifically for this purpose.

Speaking about the experience with the first Bobst press so far, vice president Operations Mustafa Khokhawala said, “I can’t believe how easy it is to work on the RS 6003 press. We have cut down to the time it takes to make a job, ready, and it only needs two operators to get it up and running, plus the production environment is so much safer and nicer for all our staff.” He added, “And the high efficiency of the twin flow dryers means that we experience much lower solvent smell in the production area, as well as low solvent retention on the final product, so our working staff and our customers are happy too.”

Partnering for transformation

Through its future vision for the packaging industry, Bobst drives innovation in technology to enable customers to maximize their packaging production and gain more market share. The experience gained in developing gravure printing technology over more than eight decades is the foundation of its market-leading position.

“Choosing Bobst as our supplier was an easy decision. Their commitment to innovation and excellent reputation in the industry is second to none. They have a global presence that includes local service and support, so we know we are in good hands as we face the future of food packaging printing. I’m very pleased to welcome in this new era for Bhojraj Industries,” concluded Sadhwani.

“There is a huge amount of satisfaction in seeing the transformation at Bhojraj Industries. We are very proud to have played our part this massive step change, which will certainly see the company flourish,” said Angelo Cavallo, Product Sales manager, Bobst Italia. “This is a perfect example of a partnership that benefits both parties, and we look forward to continuing our support for this innovative packaging leader.”

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Naresh Khanna
Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy. Elected vice-president of the International Packaging Press Organization in May 2023.


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