The fifth Label Manufacturers Association of India conference, ‘Future Next’ took place at the Hyatt Bolgatty in Kochi from 25 to 28 July 2019. The conference began on an exciting note in the evening of 25 July with a traditional lamp lighting by the president and past presidents of the association and other dignitaries. Kuldip Goel, president, LMAI welcomed the guests and sponsors with a warm keynote address.
In his talk, Pankaj Bharadwaj, senior director and general manager of Avery Dennison India, emphasized the changing trends and the need to collaboratively overcome the key issues in the industry. Pradeep Saroha from Tarsus gave an advance idea of next year’s Labelexpo India from 29 October to 1 November 2020. Manish Desai, the LMAI conference chairperson, presented the agenda for the next three days while Ainan Shahidi laid down the guidelines for the presenters. At the end of Day 1, sponsors and committee members were felicitated by the LMAI committee members and other dignitaries who merrily walked the ramp with props in hand. A longish day of travel, arrival and anticipation ended with dinner and a performance by the band, Carnatic.
The second day of the event began with a welcome address by Vivek Kapoor, past president, LMAI. From Avery Dennison India, Manoj KM and Parag Bagade spoke on the emerging trends in the label technology and their company’s 2025 sustainability goals. Olive Liu from Pulisi Technology talked about the importance of vision inspection systems for effective work management, saving cost, time, money and for better accuracy. Ajay Mehta and Rohit Mehta from SMI Coated Products discussed the technical aspects, trends and applications of label stock solutions.
David Ellen from Domino emphasized the need to switch to hybrid label presses given their advantages over digital and traditional presses and the changing customer demands. In line with the theme of the conference, Ranesh Bajaj from Vinsak India discussed future-based label solutions. Spring Xu from Weigang explained how to choose a good flexo machine. Manish Kapoor from Nilpeter India spoke on how the situation of converters has changed in the last four years and the current status of the Indian label industry. According to him, the industry shows growth of 12-15%. Ajay Aggarwal from Insight Print Communications highlighted India’s transition to digital and what the future holds for digital label printing in India.
The first panel discussion, ‘Creating the future vs embracing the future,’ moderated by Harveer Sahni, included label converters such as Priyata Raghvan, Sai Security Printers; Tejas Tanna, Printmann; Aadtya Kashyap, Marksfine; Mahendra Bhai Shah, Renault; Anuraj Mohan, Interact Kolkata; Yudhviram Solanki, Sicon Packs; and Shakti Jain, Great Eastern ID Technology. The discussion touched on the changing customer expectations and how printers can evolve their business models to embrace them.
The second panel of suppliers on ‘Evolving trends in labels manufacturing,’ moderated by Sahni, included Pankaj Bhardwaj, Appadurai of HP; Pawandeep Sahni, Weldon Celloplast; Prasenjit Das of DuPont; Srinivas Goud of Flint, Avery Dennison India; Ranesh Bajaj, Vinsak India; and Sameer Patkar, Heidelberg-Gallus. They generally agreed that the current agenda is of survival, necessitating diversification in technology and product mix. Technology has resulted in the modification of conventional presses to hybrid solutions while digital has evolved in quality from 600 dpi to 1200 dpi resolutions. Artificial Intelligence and data are important, with an increased focus on automation. The speakers concluded that the label industry is suffering for lack of understanding of IT and automation; at the same time, more suppliers are trying to be environmentally conscious.
Patkar from Heidelberg and Gallus compared the pros and cons of digital and conventional printing presses. He explained that the demands of print buyers are changing and neither digital nor conventional presses are capable enough to provide the desired results. He advocated hybrid presses and their capabilities. Shyamal Desai from Dupont Advanced Printing talked about end user benefits of innovations in flexography.
Appadurai of HP India explained the reasons behind shorter product life cycles and the behavior of modern consumers. He further explained that the best time to prepare for the future is now. Ludovico Frati of Bobst spoke about the latest IOD (ink on demand) and HAL (highly automated liquids) technology by Bobst that we are looking forward to seeing at Labelexpo in Brussels. The new ink systems by Bobst save time and cost and allow efficient and fast color management.
Raymond Lu, Dragon Foils – Inter Films India, gave a presentation on the latest cold foil technology of the company including flexo cold foil, cold foil for shrink sleeve labels, offset cold foil and digital enhancement foil. The evening concluded with a motivational talk by Shri Gaur Gopal Das and a musical performance by the National Organisation of the Disabled Artists.
On Day 3 of the event, Rajesh Nema, honorary secretary LMAI, welcomed the visitors and spoke about the student training program for flexo presses that LMAI will host with Avery Dennison. He also announced the winners of L9 World Label Awards – Any Graphics and Mudrika Labels. Carl Brock from Apex Asia Pacific spoke about flexo process standardization. Brock announced the new Apex anilox roller plant in Sinnar, India which will have an innovation and excellence center where the company will demonstrate platemaking, screening and flexo presses. Flexinova is the representative of Apex in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Brock discussed the latest technological innovations at Apex including DMS (digitally modulated screening), Bellisima and GTT 2.0 anilox technology.
Ian Pollock from Flexo Image Graphics talked about the Performance Series E line by Mark Andy for an easy to operate and efficient flexo press. Hannes Rogler from Rogler International presented IIOT process control technology that allows real-time data collection and analysis for better automation, efficiency, productivity, transparency and profit.
The third panel on ‘The Young Printers Perception of the Future of the Label Industry’ included Hemanth Paruchuri, Naveen Goel, Denver Annuciation and Vidhur Agarwal and was moderated by Ajay Mehta and Amit Sheth of Label Planet. The panel discussed the need for customer-oriented solutions, of investing in sustainable solutions including linerless labels, a digital mindset, and for collaboration between suppliers and printers.
After several more presentations by Brotech, GEW, Numex and JN Arora, the evening concluded with a gala dinner with a Great Gatsby theme and musical performances by Nikita Mehta and Nakash Aziz.