Echaar Equipments, headquartered in Thane near Mumbai, recently launched its first entirely made in India CI flexo press, Flexodelight HL 400. The CI drum on its first machine is imported but the plan is to manufacture this critical component in Echaar’s own factories from the second machine onwards. Echaar is a formidable engineering company that also manufactures high precision parts and assemblies for defense as well.
The company displayed the running machine by organizing an open house at its Ambernath plant from 11 to 14 December 2020. Despite the Covid-19 related constraints, many potential customers attended the event during the four-day demonstration event. The company followed all the required safety measures during the open house.
Echaar is planning to organize an online event soon to demonstrate the Flexodelight HL 400 for the potential customers who could not attend the Thane factory’s offline open house.
Echaar has collaborated in the design and manufacture of its CI flexographic press with Italy’s CT Service SRLS, owned by Claudio Maggio, an ex-founder and director of Uteco. One of the flexo industry senior veterans, Maggio, has worked with leading CI flexo press manufacturers in Italy.
“Our journey started three years ago, and the Flexodelight HL 400 is the result of our effort. We have worked with veteran CI flexo press expert Claudio Maggio, and this has helped us in offering the industry a high-quality press,” says Kirti Panchal, managing director, Echaar Equipments.
First Echaar CI flexo press to Kalyani Packaging
The company has signed an agreement to supply its first Flexodelight HL 400 to Kolkata-based Kalyani Packaging. The Flexodelight HL 400 press has a speed of 400 meters a minute and a central impression drum diameter of 1850 mm with Hestalloy coatings. The press has eight printing stations and a maximum web width of 1350 mm. The print width of the Flexodelight HL 400 is 1300 mm, and it can print with either solvent or water-based inks. The CI flexo press can print on a range of substrates from LDPE and HDPE, PET, BOPP, and paper.
“We see huge potential for CI flexo technology in India given the increasing focus on sustainability in the flexible packaging industry. We are pleased to offer this press to the Indian industry. More than 90% of the components have been made in India. And we expect that to reach 100% in another two years,” Panchal adds.
The sustainability of CI flexo
CI flexo technology is seen as more sustainable for several reasons. The first is that by using a central impression drum it allows the printing of thinner flexible substrates, even those that might stretch from color, and keeps them in position around the drum for precise register. The second reason is the use of ink that require solvents that are alcohol-based rather than the more widely volatile organic solvents often used for gravure that are toluene-based. Regulations restricting the use of toluene-based inks and solvents are likely to be implemented in India in the early part of 2021.
The perception is that alcohol-based solvents for inks mean that these inks are more food-friendly and compliant with food safety regulations inks. The possibility of using water-based inks is also a step toward sustainability. Since all the print units surround the central impression cylinder this design of flexo presses permits the use of a single curing or oven system for the entire press and a single and hence more controllable. recirculation and treatable evacuation system for solvents and vapors.
The Flexodelight CI flexo press series offers flexibility to potential Indian customers with three variants at speeds of 300 meters a minute, 400 meters a minute, and 500 meters a minute. Panchal says Echaar offers the Flexodelight series in three variants to cater to the different segments of the flexible packaging industry.
He adds that Echaar is very confident about the Flexodelight HL 400 press’s success in the Indian market. He expects to sell a ‘respectable’ number of presses in the next one year. “We see excellent demand for the press. Currently, we can build ten presses in a year. We are confident of installing about 3 to 5 presses over the next 12 months.”
Flexomaster series launch in February 2021
After the Flexodelight series’s successful launch, Echaar will soon launch the first CI flexo press from its Flexomaster series, the Flexomaster HR 500. According to Panchal, this series is for the premium segment of the flexible packaging converting industry with advanced features. The Flexomastar HR 500 CI flexo press has a rated speed of 500 meters a minute.
“The Flexomaster series has the top-end features and will be for converters who want the highest specifications. The first press in the series is almost ready, and we will launch it in February next year,” Panchal concludes.
The above article was slightly amended by the editor to include more precise information on 28 December 2020.