Digital applications and eCommerce can boost corrugation industry

Indian corrugated box manufacturers’ annual conference

The inauguration ceremony of the Federation of Corrugated Box Manufacturers being held in Kochi. Photo PSA
Santosh Nair country manager of HP
Santosh Nair, country manager of HP, speaking about digital solutions for corrugators. Photo PSA

The Federation of Corrugated Box Manufacturers (FCBM) annual conference held in Kochi from 20 to 22 November 2015 covered a range of topics, including digital printing and the impact of eCommerce on the printing and packaging industry. Supported by the Kerala Corrugated Box Manufacturers’ Association, the Smart Pack Expo 2015 showcased national and overseas machinery and paper suppliers to the industry. Carl Bohm, president of the International Corrugated Case Association (ICCA), spoke about the growth of the Indian packaging industry while K Babu, minister of fisheries, port and excise and VK Ebrahimkunju, the Union minister for public works also spoke at the even. However, the number of corrugated industry participants were fewer than at the previous annual events.

On the first day, representatives from HP and Dupont spoke about the digital applications in corrugation. Santosh Nair, country manager of HP Graphic Solutions, addressed the need for corrugators to provide innovative print solutions to brand owners. “With the increase in short-runs, the use of the conventional printing process has become monotonous and that is where digital printing comes into the picture. It simplifies the production workflow with quick delivery and high-quality printed graphics. Printers have a quick and easy solution to manage many short-run jobs which increase their production capacity. The digital press is an economical solution as it avoids wastage of raw material and consumables. Before a product comes to the shelf, brand owners conduct a market survey using a few printed samples and accordingly design the package.” Larger quantities can be also produced with new technology digital printing with automated material handling. Nair suggested, “It’s a win-win solution for brand owners and corrugated converters to quickly turnaround the job and improve their margins.”

HP displayed digitally printed corrugated products at the stand by using the HP Scitex 15500 press which is specifically designed for corrugated converters as a solution to produce higher volumes of short-runs at a low cost. A few personalized printed boxes were showcased as examples of a creative solution that can help corrugators to build strategic partnerships with consumer product companies.

Ashwin Satish Kumar marketing manager of Henkel Adhesive
Ashwin Satish Kumar, marketing manager of Henkel Adhesive, speaking about adhesive solutions for corrugators. Photo PSA

On day two, Henkel Adhesive talked about the foamed-based adhesive it launched in the market four months ago. Ashwin Kumar, marketing manager of Henkel Adhesive explained, “Due to high water content in adhesives, corrugated converters face the issue of board warping. With a drying time of around 48 hours, wastage rate is high and boards can be affected by bacterial attacks such as mould growth and others in the litho lamination process. With the use of aerated adhesive, converters can experience quicker turnaround time, increase in production speed and flexibility in the supply chain as the drying time is reduced to anywhere from two to eight hours. Around 70% less moisture content in board shelps to avoid slight bend in boards, and cleaning and maintenance of the machine becomes easy.”

The next session discussed a detailed study on enhanced performance of papers using burst factor, ring test, edge crush tester and an update on material handling procedures in developed economies. In the afternoon, various panelists including Satya Poddar, expert on goods and services tax (GST),Manohar Shetty, chairman of the Taxation Committee, FCBM and others spoke about the impact of GST on economy, industry, trade, corrugated packaging and the supply chain.

The topic on the last day was ‘strategies for business evolution.’ Rajesh Upadhyayula, associate professor, IIMK Kochi, said, “With the growth in eCommerce sector, the packaging industry has a better chance to grow. By 2020,the corrugation industry will witness a growth of around7billiondollars. The focus of the packaging industry must be to grab the ample opportunities that are being provided by the eCommerce players with customized and personalized solutions for their clients.” “eCommerce players are trying to get kirana (neighbourhood) stores to deliver the product. Packaging converters should get in touch with both and try to figure out a solution where convertors can provide branding with innovative packaging solutions to both eCommerce players and kirana stores.”

The event concluded with the election of representatives for box manufacturers’ association across 12 Indian states. NX George, managing director of Super Packaging Industries, was elected the new president of the FCBM committee.

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