Ranesh Bajaj (right), director, Vinsak
Ranesh Bajaj (right), director, Vinsak

On the third day of Labelexpo Europe, footfall has been better than the previous two days, even though we think that fewer visitors made it from India this time. The reason for this is perhaps less the weak economy than the fact that the show takes place between two Labelexpos in India. At any rate, visitors have been on a buying spree these three days, with Gallus alone reporting three sales to India.

Vinsak, Lombardi’s representative to India, Middle East, and Africa, sold four mid-web presses, of which one to Prakash Printers from Ahmedabad, who already has three Lombardi presses installed. Increasingly, narrow-web press manufacturers follow the trend to wider presses that are geared at the wrap-around and flexible packaging markets. The other trend is the combination of flexo and inkjet modules in most presses at this show, and the large array of digital presses, including HP, Konica-Minolta, Domino, Xeikon, Durst, Screen, EFI, Epson, and others.

Most visitors come to this show to look for ancillary equipment, including converting, cleaning, mounting and processing equipment, and to inform about substrate developments. On the third day of Labelexpo, new substrates were presented by Cosmo Films, Avery Dennison, UPM, Taghleef, Innovia, Kurz, Mitsubishi and others, while a panoply of converting equipment has been heating the show, including new developments from Codimag, Cartes, ABG, GM, Kocher+Beck, Grafotronic, SMAG and many companies particularly from Italy, China, and India.

Prati, for instance, launched two new machines, the Digifast20000 converting line geared at the mid-web flexible packaging market developed in a collaboration with HP, and the Saturn Digi coating and die-cutting unit. The Digifast20000 uses cold UV curing technology and can be configured with various printing, varnishing, embellishing and finishing units for a roll or sheet processing, and is typically meant for jobs such as PSL, IML, shrink sleeves and wrap-around labels. The Saturn Digi is also a modular system, to be used for slitting, rewinding, die-cutting and inspection, while allowing the substrate path to bypass any module at any time in the process.

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The multi-channel B2B in print and digital 17-year-old platform matches the industry’s growth trajectory. The Indian, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Middle East packaging industries are looking beyond the resilience of the past three years. They are resuming capacity expansion and diversification, with high technology and automation in new plants and projects.

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 growing 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.

For responsible and sustainable packaging, with its attendant regulations and compliances, there is significant headroom to grow in India and the region. Our coverage includes the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and to waste collection, sorting, and recycling.

We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers. This is a large and complex canvas – the only thing that can work is your agile thinking and innovation together with our continuous learning and persistence.

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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