Paul Callaghan the organizer of the two day Shift_019 packaging conference at Delhi’s Aerocity was forthright. He encouraged the participants to pay attention to their own benefit, right from the start on the first day of the conference. He rightly assumed that the audience was there to learn and absorb the technical information that can help them make business decisions. The sponsors and speakers comprised of a very strong contingent of technology and equipment suppliers and some of the best packaging and label converters in Asia.
The evening of the second day culminated with the presentation of 2019 Packaging Excellence Awards.
The highlights of the first day included presentations from Flint and Kodak that spoke about the advances in flexo platemaking. Taken together, the two presentations meant that flexo prepress technology is increasingly competitive with gravure both in terms of fine detail and color consistency. It is also moving forward to become a robust industrial process. Robust for flexo means consistency and predictability with stable platemaking processes where a variety of desired results can be designed and achieved by the choice of workflow, technology, equipment and materials.
On the morning of the second day, DuPont added more take-home value for us in the improvement of flexo discussion. Gururaj Kirsur talked about improvements in return on investment and the sustainability angle. In his presentation, he talked about newer ways of printing solid whites on flexible materials that actually decrease the ink consumption while maintaining the same quality. His approach holds flexo up to a high standard both as far as quality and costs. His discussion of sustainability focussed on processing flexo plates without VOC based solvents and the beneficial safety and health implications of the process. He also equated faster digital imaged flexo platemaking with thermal processing with just in time plates, safety and health that ultimately led to better ROI.
The presentations by Bobst, Uteco and W&H on day 1, also spoke of the technical advancements of flexo printing although all three companies are equally adept at gravure and flexo. They each presented developments in automation, and new methods of color quality control that are driving the reliability of flexo and enabling it to continue to encroach on gravure’s territories even in Asia. Without taking sides in this flexo versus gravure discussion which is not really a debate (since each have their appropriate and necessary use at this point) one must say that there are a number of good flexo converters in the audience who have produced excellent reverse printing on CI flexo.
There was also a WOW presentation on day 1 by Lindsay Nutley of QLM, a label converter who is based in Vietnam. He spoke about the new culture of communication and marketing one’s services by actually using these to implement both customer and employee engagement. Nutley made clear that it’s the company’s leadership that needs to create the message and a branding eco-system and then to use the marketing people and the entire company to communicate this message.
The speakers and sponsors comprised of a veritable list of some of the best suppliers to the packaging industry. A partial list included Alphasonics, ALPS, Baldwin Vision, Bobst, CGS, DIC, DuPont, Flint, HP, IPAMA, Kornit, Koenig-Bauer, MPS, Martin Automatic, Memjet, Milacron-Kodak, Monotech, Uteco, W&H and Xeikon. As far as quality information, the conference was good and one was looking forward to the panel discussion and awards dinner on day 2.
Corrections made to this article by the author on 14 May 2019