Mumbai-headquartered and multi-location Parksons Packaging officially commissioned the country’s first HP Indigo 30000 digital press at its Daman plant on 24 July. This is Parksons Packaging’s first digital press and also the first 20 x 30-inch digital press in the Indian monocarton industry.
“The fact that we have today officially commissioned our first digital press does not mean we have not been tracking developments in digital printing technology. In fact, we have been closely watching the evolution of digital technology in the folding carton segment since 2012. I believe the Indian market and the costs involved with the technology did not justify the investment then. It was a little premature. However, today I think the Indian market is ready and we have taken this step,” says Ramesh Kejriwal, chairman of Parksons Packaging.
The idea is to innovate
Parksons Packaging has plants in the North, East, South and Western parts of India and is an acknowledged master of offset printing techniques. Its six plants operate more than 20 highly configured offset press lines. In the last several years, the company has been experienced a greater demand for short run cartons from the pharma and FMCG segments.
“With big volumes of short-run jobs we were facing some challenges in the offset department. We thought if short-run jobs continue to grow at this pace, we will put a lot of strain on our offset presses in spite of their high automation. Nevertheless, I want to clearly say that idea behind getting a digital press was not to merely shift short-run jobs from offset to digital. Nor do we want to make sure the digital press runs at full capacity as soon as possible. Our primary motive is to innovate and provide unique solutions to our customers using digital technology,” explains Kejriwal.
We are in the business of folding cartons, period!
Siddharth Kejriwal, managing director, Parksons Packaging says, “We are in the business of producing folding cartons and not in the business of offset or digital printing. If digital technology can help us in giving some exciting and unique solutions to our customers, why not go for it. The folding carton segment is changing, short-runs are here to stay and much customization is happening and even more is possible. Our aim is to use digital technology to help brand owners to make the consumer connect more interesting and engaging.”
Both father and son, Ramesh and Siddharth Kejriwal believe that offset and digital technologies can play separate and distinct roles in their business. “We have some ideas on how we will take the digital venture forward. It will be slightly different from what we do now. We are planning to have a separate marketing department to handle the digital platform. As we move forward things will evolve. We are still learning,” Siddharth Kejriwal adds modestly.
Parksons Packaging made sure that its operators on the HP Indigo 30000 did not have any offset background. This was in order to ensure the operators do not bring any preconceived notions to the new operation and work with an open mindset attuned to the possibilities of the new platform. “We were clear from the start that no offset printers will work on the HP Indigo. We have taken personnel from our won prepress and added some new personnel but none with an offset background. We did not want any overlap of the two ways of thinking and working,” says Ramesh Kejriwal.
Daman was the ideal choice
Daman about two and a half hours from Mumbai is the company’s oldest plant which came online in 2001 and has an extremely experienced workforce. “We had to start somewhere and given that we have brought many new technologies to Daman first, our team here is extremely adept at handling new ideas and technologies,” says Siddharth Kejriwal.
“Daman was the most appropriate location because the flow of short-run jobs there is already very heavy. Also, being the oldest plant, the workforce is very experienced in color management, converting and ideation,” says Ramesh Kejriwal.
A uniquely configured digital press
The HP Indigo 30000 working at Parksons’ Daman plant is a uniquely and highly configured press with two Tresu iCoat 30000 inline coaters designed for folding carton production and total integration with the HP Indigo 30000 digital press. Water-based and UV varnishes can be used for a wide range of applications.
“We had a choice of going for a single coater or a double coater. The single coater was a must have because every carton job is coated – you do it either online or offline. At Parksons we not only have experience in inline coating on our offset presses, we also have a lot of experience in offering value additions with UV coating, spot coating, matt and gloss and many other such applications. Moreover, we thought that if we are going for a digital press and if we have an offline coater for value addition, it will defeat the purpose of going for digital technology in the first place. That is why we went for two coaters,” says Ramesh Kejriwal.
The 7-color HP Indigo 30000 digital press at Parksons is capable of printing on paperboard, metPET and synthetic materials from 250-600 microns thickness. There are 65 Indigo 30000 presses installed in 22 countries globally. Ramesh Kejriwal says that it was the best possible option available at the moment. “We were looking for certain kind of results and there was nothing other than HP Indigo which could do justice,” says Ramesh Kejriwal.
India’s consumption boom will continue
Consumption as a theme has been a hot topic among stock market analysts and economists. The last five years have seen a massive growth in consumption spending in sectors such as FMCG, food, cosmetics, among others. The demographics are favorable with a huge number of people under the age of 25. Disposable income, although still low compared to developed countries, is rising fast. Being directly geared to the consumption space, Parksons Packaging too is extremely optimistic about the growth of the sector.
“We are very bullish about the Indian consumption story. In the next 10-15 years the growth witnessed by the sector will be much higher than the GDP growth. We have a young population with rising income. I see double digit growth in consumption for the next decade or even more. Our industry is a proxy to consumption growth and parallel to it – we believe that there is a growth opportunity for everyone here,” concluded Siddharth Kejriwal.