Eagle showcases food safety inspection systems

ProPak Asia 2015 Bangkok 17 – 20 June

Eagle Pack 430 PRO is designed for inspection of mid-sized packaged products and is capable of high-speed imaging up to 120 metres a minute

Amazing Astron does it againAstron Packaging orders South Asia’s first 6-color Bobst FFG 1228Ahmedabad-based Astron Packaging has ordered a 6-color FFG 1228 NT RS flexo printer, folder-gluer line from Bobst. Expected to be commissioned in December 2015, the installation will make Astron the first company to have a 6-color FFG 1228 folder-gluer line in South Asia. Astron is a fast growing company almost totally focused on the pharmaceutical industry in its label and digital carton business. And in its high quality multicolor corrugated carton business, it is focused on fruit and vegetable trays that are used by Indian produce exporters and also exported to fresh produce companies in Africa. Both the produce and the trays are most often sent to Europe and thus need to be able to withstand the stringent requirements of the supply chain and possible refrigeration.Astron’s amazing corrugated fruit boxesThe Bobst FFG 1228 NT RS is capable of printing, slitting, scoring, folding, gluing and rotary diecutting in-line. The 2.8 metre wide machine equipped with the Bobst Rapidset system, is capable of fast flexo makereadies while the machine is running. The rotary diecutting facility enables it to produce custom designed boxes apart from regular slotted container (RSC) boxes. The 60-metre long FFG 1228 is one of the fastest in the Bobst’s FFG series with a speed of 15,000 sheets an hour.

At present, Astron has two 4-color Nantai flexo, cutter slotter and rotary diecutting machines. The company will deploy the new Bobst folder-gluer to produce premium corrugated boxes with heavy graphics on coated or glossy liners for the export market.

Astron Packaging is an exceptional company in every way. Its label business began in 2009 with a Mark Andy 2200 press. By end-December 2009, an HP4500 digital label and carton press was installed. In 2011 the Mark Andy 2200 was replaced by an 8-color Mark Andy P5 Performance Series press, the first to be installed in India although it was not the first to be ordered. Another P5 8-color label press with booklet production capability came in during 2013. While 80% of Astron’s labels are for the pharmaceutical industry, other segments include the FMCG cosmetic segment. Label finishing and inspection is done on Digicon inspection slitter-rewinders and Rotoflex inspection machines.

Eagle showcases food safety inspection systems 1
The Eagle H-Series metal detector focuses on detection of ferrous and non-ferrous metal contaminants within dry and wet products

Although everything about Astron is amazing, it is the corrugated vegetable tray production that is most impressive for their analytical understanding of the problem and its alignment of the appropriate raw materials from diverse suppliers. These materials are then combined in a painstaking way that has been developed into a standard manufacturing process and supplied to farmers as flat multicolor printed corrugated tray blanks. These are folded up and glued into trays by a special machine that Astron sources and supplies from Spain to its large customers such as fruit orchard owners – at a nominal price or even on lease. The fruit orchard owner or farmer glues the blank into a tray, fills it with produce and ships the stackable trays directly to the European supermarket. The trays must last from 45 to 60 days and withstand freight, handling and moisture.

In six years, Astron packaging has experienced astronomical growth. In its label business, it has combined top level narrow web flexo and digital processes by being the first mover in inducting new technology. In the corrugated carton industry too, Astron has been able to come up with a fascinating combination of specialized high quality output by concentrating on fruit and vegetable trays that are meant to withstand both the long distance shipping of fresh produce and its final delivery in air-conditioned and refrigerated environments. With the new Bobst FFG it is taking on new product segments where the high quality print on shipping cartons can speak for the brand.

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.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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