Overview of the packaging industry

Gravure, flexo presses from leading global suppliers


Flexible packaging

The first quarter of the 2015-16 financial year is over and while consumer product company results are mixed – with the wished for ‘good days’ not yet here, investments and installations continue. Even without huge profits, our industry’s entrepreneurs have great belief in the India story and the larger ones see themselves as low cost producers globally in the manufacture of films, cylinders and packaging materials. They are supported by a healthy set of press, converting, filling and sealing manufacturers and to some extent by the local raw material polymer and masterbatch suppliers.

The current financial year to 31 March 2016 will see a good number of both gravure and flexo presses from the leading global suppliers. On the gravure side the Indian suppliers including Expert, Kohli, Pelican and Uflex will also play a significant part in high-speed presses. For high-speed gravure presses that can print on 20 micron films many of the automation components are now manufactured or distributed and supported locally and it is possible for these organized manufacturers to compete with the European and even the Chinese manufacturers.

Out of the 25 to 30 gravure presses likely to be installed in the current financial year, European high-speed gravure presses will likely have a 33% market share – 8 to 10 presses. These installs will be dominated by Bobst’s Rotomec brand and apart from several of its very high-end presses there is likely to be good traction for the second generation shaftless Rotomec 5002. As we find more and sensitivity to the needs and demands of emerging markets, this press is designed to be a workhorse for markets such as the South Asian countries. Bangladesh is gaining traction as a particularly strong packaging market.

A conservative guesstimate on the basis of speaking with several industry insiders and customers reveals that anywhere from six to eight wide web CI flexo presses are likely to be installed in the current financial year to 31 March 2016 in India. This approximate number includes four to six brand new presses from the European manufacturers such as Bobst-F&K, Comexi, Soma and W&H. In addition possibly one or two second-hand European presses that will be imported and installed. Another three or four CI wide web flexo presses sourced from China and Taiwan will also be installed in the period.


The organized monocarton industry continues to grow with at least half a dozen installs in the current financial year that are actually deliveries of last year’s sales – delayed partially by plant construction and shipments. There seems to be an industrial revival in Eastern India with several packaging presses installed in the past year including TCPL, Nexgen and York. One of the new players in that region is Kolkata-based Exquisite Print and Pack which has ordered a KBA Rapida 105 full UV 7-color plus coater combination press.

North India continues to grow with Haridwar and Delhi-NCR carton producers adding high configuration presses. In addition to last year’s KBA sales that are being installed this year at TCPL and ITC at their Haridwar plants, Nutech Packaging’s Heidelberg press at its new LEED certified green plant at Greater Noida is awaiting full commissioning. PR Packaging at Palwal in the Delhi NCR has ordered a Heidelberg 7-color plus coater full UV combination press to be installed in the current financial year. Komori will also install at least two packaging presses in the current financial year including one at International Print-OPac’s plant in Noida and another at Award Packaging’s new plant near Mumbai in Western India.

A discernible trend in the monocarton industry is the preference for highly configured 7-color plus coater UV presses. Overall, a conservative or practical estimate is that a dozen packaging presses comprising at least 6-color plus coater and most with full interdeck and end-of-line UV curing. systems will be installed by 31 March 2015. This will also be the year in which converters, packaging designers and buyers learn and demonstrate the capabilities of in-line foiling in the Indian context.

Label printing

ACTIVOThe Indian label industry with its large footprint of narrow web flexo presses added significant capacity last year with higher configuration short path servo presses gaining good traction. As we have written earlier, Gallus has put in its ECS press at the Avery Dennison Knowledge Centre in Bengaluru which has trained several batches of print diploma holders rather than wait for converters to make up their mind to send their current operators for training.

The industry seems to have survived a phase of hyper-competition and top line growth at the cost of sustainable profits and is looking at the upcoming Labelexpo in Brussels. Labelexpo will likely attract huge attendance from Indian and South Asian converters and is likely to feature new presses from players such as Soma and Mark Andy as well as a spate of digital presses. The lead up to Labelexpo is taking place in Jaipur with the always interesting and very social LMAI conference that is held every two years.

The impact, resilience, and growth of responsible packaging in a wide region are daily chronicled by Packaging South Asia.

A multi-channel B2B publication and digital platform such as Packaging South Asia is always aware of the prospect of new beginnings and renewal. Its 16-year-old print monthly, based in New Delhi, India has demonstrated its commitment to progress and growth. The Indian and Asian packaging industries have shown resilience in the face of ongoing challenges over the past three years.

As we present our publishing plan for 2023, India’s real GDP growth for the financial year ending 31 March 2023 will reach 6.3%. Packaging industry growth has exceeded GDP growth even when allowing for inflation in the past three years.

The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 33% over the past three years. With orders in place, we expect another 33% capacity addition from 2023 to 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels have grown similarly. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

Even given the disruptions of supply chains, raw material prices, and the challenge of responsible and sustainable packaging, packaging in all its creative forms and purposes has significant headroom to grow in India and Asia. Our context and coverage engulf the entire packaging supply chain – from concept to shelf and further – to waste collection and recycling. We target brand owners, product managers, raw material suppliers, packaging designers and converters, and recyclers.

In an admittedly fragmented and textured terrain, this is the right time to plan your participation and marketing support communication – in our impactful and highly targeted business platform. Tell us what you need. Speak and write to our editorial and advertising teams! For advertisement ads1@ippgroup.in , for editorial info@ippgroup.in and for subscriptions subscription@ippgroup.in

– Naresh Khanna

Subscribe Now
unnamed 1


Subscribe to our Newsletter

As 2023 begins and FY 23-24 unfolds, will you support us?

What lies in store for the packaging industry in India and South Asia this coming year? Inflation, disruption of supply chains or environmental regulation? Or the resumption of high rural demand, continued investment and industry consolidation? Whatever happens, Packaging South Asia will be there, providing clarity and independent technical and business information in India and South Asia and around the world. We are a compact Indian organization bringing a window of fair and rigorous technical and business information that the industry can access this year and beyond. Please support us with your advertising and subscriptions, to keep us going and growing.

Thank you.

Previous articleBosch showcases rotary pen assembly machine at Achema
Next articleUflex expansion – the largest plant to be in Gujarat
Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.