Faster and larger flexo digital imagers for India

Labelexpo 2017 Review Part 2

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Mahesh Kode, Siegwerk India with Nalini Jai Chandra and Jai Chandra, Veepee Graphic Solutions at Labelexpo. Photo PSA

The growth of digital flexo imagers in India is being driven primarily by narrow web flexo press for  labels and wide web flexo for flexible packaging. In the 2017-18 financial year ending 31 March 2018, IppStar’s research indicates that the import and installation of digital flexo imagers will be less than ten. Of these, at least one will be a HELL Premium Flexo S1700 technology direct laser engraver for elastomer sleeve plates to be used for a wide range of flexo, embossing and coating  applications by Pinmark in Ahmedabad. We learned at Labelexpo Europe 2017 that the 1.7 meter wide direct engraving laser flexo had been finalized and is expected to be installed by end-December.

logoApart from Esko’s recent installation of an Esko CDI Spark 4260 at Creative-Tanushii in Chennai, we learned at Labelexpo 2017 that Bengaluru-based Veepee signed for an Esko Crystal 5080 imager and complete flexo processing line which will be installed at the company’s new 5,000 square foot plant in Pune. Veepee already supplies flexo plates to wide-web flexo customers such as Parakh Agro and Manikchand in Pune. Veepee’s Jai Chand says his idea is to control the prepress work from the company’s Bengaluru hub in order to send files for output to the newer technology and faster Crystal 5080 in Pune. The high technology, extremely fast and very large format Crystal 5080 in Pune will also service the entire Western India market from Goa to Gujarat for producing flexo plates label, flexible packaging and corrugating applications.

Also finalized at or near the show was Ahmedabad-based Shilp Gravures, which is adding another digital imager, this time a Kodak Flexcel NX Wide 5080 system. Shilp is one of the largest independent trade house gravure cylinder suppliers in India which diversified into flexo plates a few years ago with an acquisition.

The above announcements and installations before and around Labelexpo 2017 in Brussels show some clear trends—the expansion of the major trade houses to larger and faster digital imagers for flexo plates and to some extent the continuous increase in locations. This is a reflection of the influx for more flexo printing machines for labels including in-mold labels, flexible packaging, corrugating and also the rapid conversion of the entire notebook production market to flexography.

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As we present our 2024 publishing plan, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2024 will exceed 6%. The packaging industry growth will match the GDP growth in volume terms and surpass it by at least 3% in terms of nominal growth allowing for price inflation in energy, raw materials, consumables, and capital equipment.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are grown similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

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The coming year looks to be an up year in this region, and this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing communication – in our rich and highly targeted business platform with human resources on the ground. Share your thoughts and plans to inspire and mobilize our editorial and advertising teams!

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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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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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