Ahmedabad’s Knack Packaging plans third expansion phase

Gujarat-based manufacturer of woven sacks

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Ahmedabad-based Knack Packaging is one of India’s biggest manufacturers and exporters of HDPE/PP woven sacks and printed BOPP laminated PP woven sacks. With its plant located in Mehsana, about an hour’s drive from Ahmedabad city, the company is embarking on its third expansion phase which is expected to be complete by Diwali this year. The first expansion was initiated in 2013 while the second one took place two years later in 2015.

“In the current expansion phase, we are focusing on strengthening our converting department so that we can produce very high-end niche products. A new building will be coming up in the plant premises, which will house a variety of converting equipment. We plan to cater to our overseas customers and high-end Indian customers with these niche and premium products,” says Alpesh Patel, director, Knack Packaging. The company will be investing about Rs 25 crore in the infrastructure, which includes the new building and various converting equipment. Once this phase is complete, the total area of Knack’s shop floor will be about 400,000 square foot. The total area of the plant is about 700,000 square foot.

A Pelican rotogravure press at Knack packaging’s Mehsana plant
A Pelican rotogravure press at Knack packaging’s Mehsana plant

The company manufactures products like grain and pulses bags, foods and spices bags, animal food bags, fertilizers and chemical bags, cement and wall finish bags, powder and granule bags, mineral bags, detergent bags, mehndi bags and promotional shopping bags, among others. Knack’s Mehsana plant has a converting capacity of 1,500 tons per month. The bags range from 5 kg to 75 kg and the plant can produce an average of about 700,000 bags per day of various sizes.

Impressive infrastructure
The Knack Packaging plant is an impressive structure and houses a variety of machinery in the printing and converting sections. The plant houses two woven tape lines (extruders) from Lohia Group, three laminators and four rotogravure printing presses – three from Pelican and one from C Trivedi. The plant also has circular and flat woven looms, coating and lamination machines, back seam unit, gusseting machines, cutting and stitching machines, and bales pressing machines.

Knack Packaging has an extremely streamlined manufacturing process. PP resins are extruded into PP fibers that help in controlling the tensile strength of the fabrics. The extruded PP fibers are woven into body fabrics through the use of circular looms. The printing process is carried out using gravures reverse printing technology on BOPP films, which are then laminated on the PP woven fabrics in roll forms. The coating thickness is then calculated and delivered on the fabrics, which is cut to length as per the size of the bags defined by the clients. Then the stitching of bags happens, which are bound into bundles and sent for dispatch.

A sample of woven sack made by Knack Packaging
A sample of woven sack made by Knack Packaging

When asked what kind of equipment will be deployed in the new converting unit, Patel declined to provide details. “I do not want to comment on these details at this moment. But I can assure you these machines will be world class.”

Exports a major area
A large proportion of Knack’s business is derived from exports. Close to 35% of the company’s sales happens in the overseas markets with developed markets, especially the US being a major area of operation. The company continues to focus on exports and regularly participates in overseas exhibitions. Last year it participated in interpack for the first time.

“We regularly participate in focused exhibitions all over the world, mainly those related to food. Last year, we exhibited at interpack for the first time as we wanted to further expand our footprint in the European continent. It was a very good experience,” Patel shares.
This year, Knack will be present at Pack Expo International that will be held in Chicago in October.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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