As the Indian label industry has expanded overseas beyond just exporting labels, several players from prepress houses to label printers and labelstock suppliers have set up plants in the Near East, Africa, and the Middle East. Premedia houses and printers who have set up plants overseas include Unique Premedia Services, Ajanta Print Arts, Astron Packaging, and the Manipal Group.
SMI Coated Products, the leading supplier of Indian-manufactured pressure sensitive label stock, set up a warehousing and slitting center in Dubai several years ago to more easily supply its Middle Eastern and African customers. Vinsak, the company and brand that has emerged from the Delhi-based Creed Engineers has emerged as a significant regional supplier in a vast region from Africa to Southeast Asia – its clients spanning a geography from Ghana to Indonesia.
Vinsak has leveraged the Make in India capabilities of its label slitting and finishing equipment in collaboration with AB Graphics and its proprietary inkjet systems at a plant set up in Rabale in Navi Mumbai eight years ago. Its inkjet systems are used for book printing, label imprinting, and security printing in conjunction with security inks and solutions that it provides.
Vinsak has had significant success in its extensive territory selling and servicing the Lombardi flexo presses. Over the past five years, it has sold 80 Lombardi presses. Around forty have been sold to Indian customers, ten to the UAE, and another 30 flexo presses in Africa – mainly Kenya, Ghana, and Nigeria.
Vinsak’s label finishing and inkjet systems manufactured in Navi Mumbai now have a global footprint of about 200 installations. These systems and some of the flexo presses have a high penetration among security printers in India, the Middle East, and Asia Minor, including several government security presses in the region. The Manipal Group and a couple of the government security presses in India are its customers. Printers such as Inkript in Lebanon, Fine Print in Ghana, Umur in Turkey, a state printer in Indonesia, the State Printing Corporation in Sri Lanka, and a government printer in Macedonia have also adopted Vinsak’s print and security solutions.
Pandemic label press sales and constraints
While the packaging and label industry has fared better than other sectors in India during the pandemic, mainstream label printers tell us that they have reached 80% of their pre-Covid-19 production levels by end-November. The reports on the sales and installations of new label presses during the pandemic are sparse. We have reported that Multitec presses have sold well in the past six months. Some of its installations have been done by the customers themselves with Multitec’s engineers’ remote guidance. A customer in Israel was extremely impressed by the detailed know-how of Multitec’s engineers. We believe that other Indian manufactured presses have also made some sales. There have been a few digital label press installations during the lockdown, notably a couple of HP Indigo presses.
Vinsak has been more open about its sales and installations during the pandemic, both in India and other territories. It has sold and installed Lombardi flexo label presses to Aarya Print Pack in Mumbai, Mold-Tek Packaging in Hyderabad, Sreevan Offset Printers in Hyderabad, Aquarius Print Press in Dubai, and Al Hadiqa in Sharjah. Aarya Print Pack, Aquarius Print Press, and Al Hadiqa have also purchased Vinsak’s label finishing equipment.
Vinsak managing director Ranesh Bajaj recently explained that the company has been able to function more normally from its base in Dubai than elsewhere because the UAE has remained open during the pandemic. Nevertheless, it has still been a challenge. It is not easy to install new presses and service many machines and systems in a pandemic. A substantial spare parts inventory and a team of service engineers are needed.
“It is not that simple or easy to look after more than 200 customers in such a large territory,” he says. “What do you do when two machines break down at the same time, and sometimes they are quite far from each other, and remote servicing doesn’t get them going. Spare parts and engineers have to reach, and neither travel nor access is available in every place that we may need to go with the constraints brought on by the pandemic.”
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