Into packaging and labels with a bang

EIH press in Manesar

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the EIH press did have equipment for packaging but what it has set up in Manesar for the labels and board packaging segment is again (as for commercial and digital printing) an unprecedented collection of technologies and equipment in a single plant. It catapults EIH into the top rung of packaging units in terms of modern integrated and end-to-end capabilities. However
Even in its earlier incarnation in Delhi, the EIH press did have equipment for packaging but what it has set up in Manesar for the labels and board packaging segment is again (as for commercial and digital printing) an unprecedented collection of technologies and equipment in a single plant. It catapults EIH into the top rung of packaging units in terms of modern integrated and end-to-end capabilities. However, it will take a bit of time for this capacity to be fully leveraged into profitability.
EIH always had mid web offset presses and also Heidelberg multicolour presses including a 6-colour plus coater. However the mid webs were generally used for computer stationery. Label production in Manesar has got off to a strong start with a fully automated 8-colour Gallus narrow web label press. As it grows in stature as a label supplier, additional label presses will have to be added. This is one way to rationalise the huge investments that the EIH Manesar plant has made in specialty prepress and finishing and postpress equipment.

EIH has been an EskoArtwork software and CtP user for many years, but at the new plant it has installed prepress and die-making hardware that is normally outsourced. This is in keeping with the project’s attempts to bring end-to-end solutions within the plant for greater security, quality, and productivity.

There is an upgrade to Esko’s full Suite 7 software at EIH and also its integration with a DuPont CDI flexo imager and CYRELfast system that allows the unit to make top quality flexo plates within an hour. This reflects the new trend to bring captive flexo imagers inside label and packaging plants in the country.

Moreover, for the converting process, EIH has acquired and installed complete in-house die-making capabilities. At EIH Manesar, Esko’s structural design and packaging prepress software drives several types of digital output — flexo plates using the CDI Spark digital imager with CYRELfast processing, and offset plates (using Esko and Screen CtPs). In addition, Esko’s structural design software drives the SEI laser device for producing die-boards that are embedded with cutting and creasing rules that are automatically cut, bent and nicked using automated equipment from Unica.

We do not know of any other plant in the country with this level of structural design, prepress, imaging and die-making capability. It seems like a luxury but, if EIH grows and is able to serve a combination of printed and converted products to major consumer product companies, this one-stop shop for commercial, digital printing and labels and packaging, could gain traction.
For printing and converting of labels there is the aforementioned 8-colour Gallus EM 410S with finishing stations for foiling, rotary screenprinting and rotary die-cutting. EIH uses it for paper and film label production including shrink labels. For offline label converting and products such as beer labels, there is a Buhrs punch cutter that is also used for the production of telephone scratch cards.

For board packaging there is a battery of Heidelberg multicolour presses from the older plant including a 6-colour plus coater that have been moved to Manesar. The new Heidelberg’s at Manesar include a 5-colour plus coater CD 102 and a 6-colour plus coater CD-102 full UV press. The full interdeck UV curing and end of press UV curing on this press, (which we call the “dreamliner” configuration), is meant for printing luxury-packaging products on plastics as well as metallised board such as FMCG goods and cosmetics.
For finishing and special applications the plant has an automated Steinneman HIBIS rotary silkscreen UV printer. For converting board packaging EIH has added brand new equipment from Bobst — a Speria 106E autoplaten die-cutter and a Fuego 80 folder gluer. In fact as a rule, EIH press does not buy any second hand equipment.

R Shankar, the Chief Operating Officer of the EIH press is quite frank about being a beginner of sorts in the label and packaging segments. In the earlier establishment there was some packaging and POP production but not with the kind of equipment that could immediately turn the company into a leading player. Even now at the new plant, the product mix is heavily weighted in favour of commercial and digital printing, with labels and packaging making up as little as 10% to 15% of the product mix. However, with the large capacity that EIH has put in place in these segments they are likely to grow to 50% of the expanded turnover within two years.

While present capacities can most likely increase turnover anywhere from 85% to 100%, Shankar prefers to conservatively estimate that this will take another two years. It could take as long as the 2011-12 financial for the EIH Manesar plant to break even. Moreover in this time, another plant could be built to house both a heatset web for commercial printing and a high volume web fed packaging press. And other packaging equipment as well!