Faster automated gravure and Made in India CI flexo presses are coming

Plastindia exhibition 2018
SP Ultraflex Roboslit Plus running at 1000 meters a minute in Hall 7 at Plastindia 2018. Photo PSA

The PLASTINDIA show got off to a solid start this morning in Gandhinagar. The Packaging South Asia team is moving around the 15 halls at the show while I have visited only Halls 7 and 8 so far. Fortunately, many of the leading flexible packaging companies are in these halls and I have already been able to see the new SP Ultraflex Roboslit Plus slitter rewinder running at 1000 meters a minute—the fastest flexible packaging machine manufactured in India.

This was a good introduction to the show—an indication that the exhibitors are up and running on the first day of the show. What was exciting about the new Roboslit plus running at 1000 meters a minute was the smooth acceleration to that speed accompanied by the quiet whining sound coming from the evacuating fan that sounds like a well-insulated mini jet engine. Needless to say, the slit and rewound reels were perfectly neat and clean.

We met up with some of the players in the Multigraph Machinery group, including its president Hiten Mehta, who is also the owner of Perfect Printgraph, and Kaku Kohli of Kohli Industries, who manufactures both gravure presses and laminators. Perfect Printgraph is showing a high-quality electronic line shaft (ELS) stack flexo press with high quality registration. Multigraph has sold a good number of Kohli gravure presses to the domestic market while Kohli Industries itself has exported perhaps a slightly higher number.

Jayesh Pathare Application Head-Flexible Packaging of Exzone Solutions with the Honeywell solvent measuring system attached to the hot air evacuation system of the Perfect Printgraph ELS stack flexo press in Hall 7 at PLASTINDIA 2018. Photo PSA

Jayesh Pathare of Exzone Solutions, who sells green technologies for flexible packaging, showed us the Honeywell System for measuring the solvent content of the air being evacuated from the driers of the Perfect Printgraph ELS stack flexo press. This system can help to improve the efficiency of the solvent recovery system, which is going to become essential for flexible packaging presses as they meet with plant audits by brand owners and government regulations.

These two halls contain a number of leading flexible packaging prepress, tooling and press suppliers, including Bobst, W&H, Reifenhauser, Uflex Engineering Division, Daetwyler, KGS and Schroeder. It also includes several of the Indian manufacturers of flexo presses, most notably the oncoming manufacturers of central impression drum (CI) wide-web flexo presses, such as Uflex Engineering, Manugraph, Ishan International and Innovative Flexotech. On our way out, we heard of yet another Indian manufacturer making a CI flexo press. We will investigate this tomorrow so that our round-up of this phenomenon is thorough.

It’s clear that while this is a gravure-dominated show for flexible packaging, and the Indians are starting to look at high quality automated presses above 400 meters a minute, flexography is also making a real show perhaps in an unprecedented way at PLASTINDIA. This is because of the Make in India push, which is hopefully going to deliver locally manufactured wide web CI flexo presses at a variety of cost, quality and automation levels. With the coming of digitally engraved flexo sleeves, one can look forward to a wider expansion and acceptance of CI flexo printing in India for flexible packaging.