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.
Apart 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.