there are now fourteen digital flexo imagers in South Asia. There is one in Colombo
With our latest counting in January 2008, there are now fourteen digital flexo imagers in South Asia. There is one in Colombo, Sri Lanka and three in Pakistan, mostly in Karachi. These are all Esko CDI machines. In India there are ten installations of which six are Esko CDIs and four are Kodak Thermoflex digital imagers. We expect that before March 2009 another two or three digital flexo imagers will be bought in India even if they are not installed by that date.
Several years ago we predicted that eventually every major printing centre in India would have two flexo imagers and calculating on the basis of ten centres we thought twenty was a nice round number. Similarly one can imagine that Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan will absorb another ten to fifteen digital flexo imagers as the label industry grows and even the wide web flexo starts to encroach on the hitherto, mostly gravure market.
We notice in the last couple of years that now these machines are not only going to trade shops but are increasingly bought by larger label printers for in-plant use. The in-plant customers generally have several narrow web label presses and include Wintek in Bangalore, EIH Press in Manesar with only one Gallus, and now WebTech in Mumbai. We had an opportunity to interview Amar Chached of WebTech at the Creed-Kodak stand and at the India Label Show in December 2008 soon after he signed for the Kodak Thermoflex Narrow being displayed at the show.
IPP: How many narrow web flexo presses does WebTech have now?
Amar Chached: We have fourteen label presses of which we added four in the last year — two each from Mark Andy and Gidue.
IPP: What kind of labels, who are your customers?Amar Chached: We used to do a lot of work for the lubrication oil industry but now our work is mainly in pharmaceutical industry. About 75% of our labels now go to the pharma segment. Exports are also an important dimension of our label production. About 50% of our labels are exported.
IPP: Do you do any variable data printing on your labels?
Amar Chached: The pharmaceutical segment requires a great deal of variable data incorporated in their labels. In fact our pharmaceutical customers themselves do all of the variable data printing on the labels.
IPP: What type of software and workflow have you opted for?
Amar Chached: We have gone for Kodak’s Prinergy Powerpack including Maxtone, Hyperflex, and Digicap. For step and repeat we plan to use Pandora. All this will be new for us since we are currently using only Corel and Adobe Photoshop.
IPP: Why did you opt for an in-house flexo imager? Do you plan to do any work for other printers also?
Amar Chached: Basically we have taken this step to save time. We want to explore the possibilities of the technology. We will be trying and experimenting with the technology. However we have no interest in getting into the flexo plate business.