Gujarat’s packaging pre-press companies get ready to ramp up

Government announces gradual relaxation of lockdown

Packaging converters have been operating at limited capacity

Many packaging pre-press solutions providers in Ahmedabad are planning to gradually ramp up production once the relaxations announced by the central government come into effect. The Indian home ministry on 15 April issued guidelines about relaxation in several industrial activities from 20 April. A variety of sectors have been allowed to start operations given they follow all the required health and social distancing guidelines. The government has permitted industries in rural areas, including food processing, mines, packaging material, oil and gas exploration, and refineries, to resume operations.

Gajanan Bhavsar of Shilp Gravures

Shilp Gravures, manufacturer of engraved gravure rollers and photopolymer plates for flexo printing for the narrow-web and wide-web segments, will gradually increase production. The company was not operational during the lockdown, which came into effect on 25 March.

“We were completely shut till now. However, on 15 April, we started operations after getting proper permission from the authorities. At present, we are operating only one shift but will gradually ramp up activities after 20 April. We have arranged for buses to transport our employees to our factory,” says Gajanan Bhavsar of Shilp Gravures.

According to Bhavsar, a lot of labels and flexible packaging converters in Gujarat have been operating during the lockdown but only to service their customers who are part of the essential services industry such as food, milk, and pharmaceuticals. “With a lot of sectors being allowed to operate after 20 April, I expect demand for packaging also to increase gradually,” adds Bhavsar.

Ankit Darji
Ankit Darji of Ankit Graphics (right)

Ahmedabad-based flexo pre-press bureau, Ankit Graphics, is also looking to accelerate operations. It supplies digital plates for narrow web label, wide web CI flexo, letterpress, corrugated, flexible film, container, paper cup, and notebook printers and converters. Ankit Graphics has been functioning during the current lockdown but in a minimal capacity.

“During the current lockdown, we were shut for only two days. A large number of label printers were operational, but they were mostly supplying labels for application in the pharmaceutical industry. With some relaxation coming in, we expect an increase in demand, but a lot will depend on the supply of raw materials. If courier services get back to normal after 20 April, things will improve,” says Ankit Darji of Ankit Graphics.

Technomec Roll Manufacturing Company, one of the leading manufacturers of rotogravure cylinders in India, has also been functional during the lockdown but only at 20-25% of its capacity. The company, which has its plant on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, supplies cylinders to some of the leading flexible packaging converters. It also expects to see increased activity after 20 April 2020.

Amal Amin of Technomec (centre)

“We have been working with a limited workforce and have followed all the health and safety guidelines. Also, we have got tremendous support from our customers. We are fully geared up if there is an increase in demand after 20 April. Since agricultural activities have been allowed, I see demand for packaging material in segments such as seeds and fertilizers,” says Amal Amin of Technomec Roll Manufacturing Company.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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