SMC Packaging plans for new Komori and Kodak prepress

Appliance packaging manufacturer plans to grow strategically

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Shailesh Garg (centre, seated), managing director, (Behind L-R)Manish Garg, director, Harshul Garg and Devashish Garg at SMC Packaging plant in Baddi. Photo PSA
Shailesh Garg (centre, seated), managing director, (Behind L-R)Manish Garg, director, Harshul Garg and Devashish Garg at SMC Packaging plant in Baddi. Photo PSA

SMC Packaging started in 1999 in Gurugram with three corrugation lines and by outsourcing its print work. In 2005, it moved to Baddi and purchased equipment for printing on corrugated boxes. Right from the start, SMC was involved in the production of packaging for electrical appliances. Unlike others who shifted to Baddi for its SEZ status, SMC shifted to Baddi in order to cater to its biggest then customer, Su-Kam.

Since Su-Kam had its plant in Baddi, it was only profitable to supply the packaging from nearby according to Shailesh Garg, managing director of SMC Packaging. Its next major customer at the time was Bajaj Appliances. Currently, SMC is the OEM supplier to Usha and Crompton, among others. In a month, SMC produces nearly 5 to 6 lakh litho laminated fluted cartons in a month. The major portion of these goes to Bajaj.

Diversify in order to grow

“Our focus is more on quality as compared to volume sales. We believe that quality service will more easily fetch customers than having to run after them. With the service that we provide, we have been able to grow our business by 10% to 15% every year for the last ten years. Our annual turnover stands at Rs. 15 crores,” shares Manish Garg, director of SMC Packaging.

“We believe that we will get business according to the manufacturing atmosphere in the country. If we want a drastic change in the market, we have to work towards it. We are focused on appliance packaging in the printed corrugated cartons segment. Right now, the only way we can expect a huge growth or drastic change, as I mentioned earlier, is by diversifying to other packaging segments.

L-R: Harshul Garg, Manish Garg, and Devashish Garg alongside the 1998 model Komori 6-color press. Photo PSA
L-R: Harshul Garg, Manish Garg, and Devashish Garg alongside the 1998 model Komori 6-color press.
Photo PSA

“We are the older generation. We believe that in order to grow, young and fresh minds have to come into the picture. Both Manish’s and my son have joined our business recently after completing college. Again, we don’t want them to take things casually by giving them a top position in the company straight away. They work as interns at our office and with time, when they develop maturity, we shall think about giving them much more prominent roles in the company,” says Shailesh.

Future not bright for labels and monocartons

Shailesh says that 20 years ago, new imported offset presses did not dominate the market. According to him, currently, all the European used machines that are close to 20-25 years old have been dumped in India with more than 100 second-hand offset machines being installed annually.

“If we look at the label segment, the same scenario is repeating. For offset to reach a stagnation point in India, it took close to 10 years. I’m pretty sure that the labels segment will be affected sooner. All the commercial offset printers are diversifying to monocartons or labels, which will surely bring the margins down in the near future and the segments will no longer remain profitable. Those are the two areas which don’t seem to have a bright future. That is the reason why we want to continue in the corrugated box segment for now before taking any further steps,” says Shailesh.

SMC to invest in a brand new Komori

Currently, SMC has three corrugation lines including narrow and micro fluting. One of these lines has been imported from China, a fingerless corrugation machine. For printing, SMC has a 1998 model Komori Lithrone 6-color press plus coater and a Planeta 6-color press. Going ahead it plans to invest in a Komori UV printing press by next year.

SMC Packaging’s prepress business – Bwin Creation

Bwin Creations, which is a sister concern of SMC Packaging, had purchased North India’s first Kodak Flexcel NX Hybrid imager – a 30 x 40 inch plate-making machine for making flexo and offset plates. Its Digicap NX produces engineered flat top dots that help improve ink transfer in shadow and solid areas to achieve better overall print quality, allowing platemakers to mix solid areas and halftones on the same plate. The feature also helps to reduce setup times with plates that come to color more quickly for increased efficiencies.
The Flexcel NX runs in two eight-hour shifts each day to deliver plates to many of the printers in the region. Manish says that it takes 32 seconds to process an offset plate, adding that Bwin is looking to purchase another prepress system of a wider size from Kodak.

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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– Naresh Khanna

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