Carton solutions provider Pace Printers earlier this year made a big investment when it bought its first brand new Bobst folder-gluer, the Expertfold 80 with 4 and 6 corners. This is Pace’s second Bobst product. The first was a second-hand Bobst punching machine it bought few years ago. The company is managed by two partners Harshad Chitale and Sandeep Chitale. Although Pace’s major business comes from the carton segment with 80% share, the company operates in the commercial printing segment as well which contributes the remaining 20%. The Navi Mumbai-based company operates from a factory spread over
a built-up area of over 15,000 square foot. The Navi Mumbai plant has two 5-color KBA presses taking care of the printing duties.
“Although it required a huge investment, our confidence in the Bobst brand was such that we felt it would be worthwhile. Before we got the Expertfold, we were employing two Indian made machines. The improvement in operations post Bobst installation is huge. It has lived up to our expectation,” says Harshad Chitale.
The biggest advantage the Expertfold offers is versatility. For Pace, the machine’s versatility comes in very handy as it has many customers from the FMCG sector who demand a variety of solutions. “The Expertfold does complex and complicated cartons with ease. The changeover is very easy. Its speed and accuracy are excellent. Once the setting is done we really do not have to bother,” says Sandeep Chitale.
The company has also managed to reduce its wastage by employing the Expertfold. Although wastage reduction varies depending on the job, on an average the reduction has been about 2-3%. “That is a significant number given the competitive environment we operate in,” he adds.
Both Harshad Chitale and Sandeep Chitale visited drupa this year and had some interesting takeaways from the event. Digital technology was the definite buzzword this year and according to Sandeep Chitale it is a technology which is gaining wider acceptance. “Digital technology is something we cannot ignore anymore. It is definitely a threat to commercial and variable printing segments. Maybe in a few years the label industry could see a threat as well. In the case of packaging, however, digital technology has still a long way to go in order to catch up,” he said.
Harshad Chitale says in the packaging industry, digital has to compete in terms of cost and then from the point of view of run lengths. Digital is still striving for a place in the 2,000-3,000 sheet market while packaging has volumes in excess of 10,000 sheets, he argues. Another observation made by Sandeep Chitale during the drupa visit, in the context of the Indian packaging and printing industry, was that converters and printers are now shedding the mentality of buying secondhand machines. “People are reluctant to buy second-hand machines there. They are more inclined towards brand new products as there are a variety of benefits such as after-sales, guarantee and productivity,” says Sandeep Chitale.