IPP XI Conference – Packaging Session

Technology path for small and medium printers

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IPP XI marked the relaunch of the well-known IPP series of annual technical conferences on Printing and Packaging. For the first time it was jointly organised and supported by a major industry association like the MMS. Canon India and Kodak India were the generous sponsors of the IPPXI Conference.
The theme of the Conference was “The Technology Path for Small and Medium Print Businesses” and the focus was on business and technology insights of relevance to small and medium print businesses seeking to grow and diversify. The conference consisted of 4 panel discussion sessions spread over two days with a conference dinner on 17 December.

The keynote address was delivered by BS Kampani, President and Managing Director of Toyo Inks India and Chairman of the Indian Institute of Packaging. He presented an overview of the global and Indian printing and packaging scenario and their potential for growth. He emphasised the need for technological upgradation that would ensure a value growth of 20 to 25 per cent a year over the next 5 years despite a volume growth of only around 12 to 15 per cent annually. This would need going up the value chain from B and C segments to the A segment and benchmarking quality and efficiency to global levels. As consumers demand higher standards, the demand for more sophisticated packaging and its consumables is soaring.

Session 2 of Day 1 discussed the options available in packaging segments for small and medium-sized printers, primarily in the manufacture of labels and cartons, as these were logical extensions of their skills in both printing and handling of various packaging substrates. The session was moderated by S. Chidambar, editor of          , and the panelists were P Dasgupta, General Manager – Packaging Development of Hindustan Unilever, Amar Chajjed of Webtech Industries – Navi Mumbai and Ramesh Kejriwal of Parksons.
Chidambar presented a brief overview of the size and growth potential of India’s packaging industry and pointed out that labels and cartons are two high-growth segments that, given our impending boom in organised retail, represented significant opportunities for small and medium commercial printers seeking to diversify and grow.

Dasgupta presented the end-users’ perspective through a review of packaging trends and explained how labelling applications were going through a process of moving up the value chain to more sophisticated, efficient and aesthetically superior systems. Significant opportunities would also arise in tea bag tags, shelf-ready carton-based packages, variable data printing and board-based disposable cups. Chajjed talked about the opportunities in narrow-web label conversion using flexography and the need for in-line integration of downstream decoration and cutting/stripping/finishing operations.

Kejriwal talked about the growth of the folding carton business; it is now at around 2 million MT per annum and will continue to grow at a healthy rate. This was followed by a lively open-house discussion on suitability of different printing processes for labels – the panel was of the opinion that the best option appeared to be narrow-web conversion using a combination press that could incorporate different print and decoration processes into one in-line operation. It was pointed out that prepress and repro houses could also use their expertise to develop exports since, with the rapid advances in digital processing and digital communications, such operations were no longer constrained by having to be located next door.