area sales manager of Soma and Bhupendra Srivastava

Founded by Ladislav Verner, in the year 1992, Soma Engineering manufactures flexo printing presses, laminators and slitter rewinders. Even though Soma was present in the market from the past 26 years, it claims to have manufactured its first slitter rewinder back in the year 1956. At that time, the company ran under the name Tesla and would manufacture electronic components. Today, Soma has around 230 employees with operations across the world. The company has an enviable client base across Japan, South Korea, China, India, former soviet union market, Europe and USA.

At Plastindia, Soma is showcasing a variety of solutions, including SOMA Flex Optima2 (square), SOMA flex optima and SOMA Flex Premia from their flexographic presses product range. The company also has on display Lamiflex E, Slitter Rewinders — Venus lll and lll – T and Pluto lll and Flexmont S and Flexmont ARUN plate mounters.

“The core business of our company is the production of flexo printing presses. We produce presses with CI drum because we believe that is the future. Another positive aspect of the machine is that it delivers accurate output and supports solvent-based, water-based and UV/LED cured inks,” said Patrik Vejrek, area sales manager for Soma Engineering. “Talking about laminators, we produce solvent-less laminators as they are more in demand now keeping the government restrictions in mind.”

The company recently launched Optima 2, a flexo printing press with a printing width up to 1275 mm which can be extended up to 1400 mm with the next upgrade. The machine has a print repeat length of 800-1200 mm and is capable of printing on LDPE, HDPE, PE/PP, CPP, BOPP, PET, film laminate and paper.

“We see Asia as a rotogravure territory. However, we have observed in the last few years that the demand for flexo machines in this territory has gone up significantly. The main reason behind this, according to me, is that rotogravure machines cannot print well on thin materials. According to me, the environmental impact has also deeply affected the sale of rotogravure machines,” he added.

Vejrek also feels that flexo technology in India is quite fresh and people have been hesitant in adapting to the change. Nevertheless, he expects the technology to gain momentum in the Indian market soon and that in turn will lead India to become one of the biggest markets for flexo machines.

Soma operates in India in collaboration with the Insight group. They have been able to gain considerable penetration in the Indian market post the collaboration.

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The capacity for flexible film manufacturing in India increased by 45% over the past four years. With orders in place, we expect another 20% capacity addition in 2024 and 2025. Capacities in monocartons, corrugation, aseptic liquid packaging, and labels are growing similarly. As the consumption story returns over the next six months, we expect demand to return and exceed the growth trajectory of previous years. The numbers are positive for most of the economies in the region – and as shown by our analytics, our platform increasingly reaches and influences these.

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– Naresh Khanna (25 October 2023)

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