Edelmann India has been successfully growing the Janus Packaging business, in which it acquired a majority stake in 2013. The Edelmann India plant in Baddi, in the Himachal foothills an hour away from Chandigarh, has grown profitably in the past three years. And now in a bold investment initiated more than a year ago, it has installed and is in the process of commissioning a Heidelberg CX 102 10 unit sheetfed offset press with two additional drying and curing units between the 7th and 8th printing units. (The 10 unit figure is arrived at by counting just the printing and coating towers as units while some other reports count the dryers also as units, thereby calling the press a 12-unit press.)
The fully automated UV press will use the 8th printing unit after the two dryers as a special coating unit, which will be followed by an extended delivery and end-of-press curing. The 22-meter long press comprises several interdeck UV curing systems while the curing systems between the 7th and 8th unit will combine both UV and hot air for printing innovative cartons with coatings in a variety of special effects and haptics or textures. The last printing unit is meant to be used mainly as a coater—to create special structures with precision. The unique configuration allows the use of a combination of coatings on the same sheet.
The main aim of the project is to experiment and create a novel set of textures or 3-dimensional effects for packaging that evokes the exclusive aesthetic and touch-me quality of the luxury products that are contained inside. Textured, embossed and 3-dimensional effects such as wood grain can be produced with the use of appropriate high-quality carton boards and coatings.
Klaus Nielsen, managing director of Heidelberg India says, “It is interesting to have customers who are pushing the boundaries, that we have customers who are willing to take the risk and make a significant investment in order to be creative and open the eyes of their customers to novel possibilities and innovations—to think outside the box.”
The unique Heidelberg CX 102 press with several automation and energy saving features is installed in the newly constructed extension of the plant set in the Himalayan foothills and which has always had an elegant architectural feel to it. The recent expansion takes the scale of the project to 135,000 square feet of built-up industrial space.
Munish Aggarwal, one of the founders of Janus Packaging and who has enjoyed the confidence of the Edelmann board since it acquired the company, says, “Innovative cartons are tough to develop but easy to sell since customers are asking for packaging that will stand out on the shelf. Our infrastructure is designed to create reasonably or relatively high volumes of extremely attractive and special packaging. However, unless we are able to translate our innovations to the mainstream packaging market, we will not be able to justify our investment. This means significant print enhancement and value addition at an absorbable price for the brand owners.”
When Edelmann India ordered the new Heidelberg 102 CX press more than a year ago, the economy was facing the prospect of an upward inflection in the second half of the 2016-17 financial year. The effects of demonetization in November 2016 and the less than smooth implementation of the GST tax regime from 1 July 2017 have led to a contraction of the economy and a severe crunch in the consumer product and packaging markets, which have also negatively impacted Edelmann India’s financial results in the past year.
Munish Aggarwal, Edelmann India presents a gift carton with soft-touch coating to Klaus Nielsen, managing director of Heidelberg India. Photo PSA
The new press presents a significant growth opportunity to the company accompanied with all the challenges of developing and proving new products and establishing the appropriate raw materials. Higher quality FBB and SBS board with good surface smoothness is required to achieve the full effects of haptic coatings and while some of the Indian paperboard manufacturers are attempting to match this quality, it may simply have to be imported.
However, Aggarwal who is refreshingly outspoken and forthright in his views, is not new to challenges, being the first in the country to get an ISO 12647 Ugra certification for his Heidelberg packaging press in 2012—long before Edelmann acquired his company. A focused carton supplier to consumer product segments including cosmetics, perfumes and pharmaceuticals, he has championed processes, standards and quality in a challenging environment.
Nevertheless, he is obviously keen to bring innovative cartons to the market and apart from a range of luxury feel consumer products that can benefit from the shelf impact of his innovations, he sees great potential in the recent upsurge of wellness, lifestyle and over-the-counter pharma products. With this in mind, he is planning to show some of Edelmann India’s new haptic innovations to potential customers at the CPhi India and South Asia pharmaceutical industry event in Mumbai from 28 to 30 November 2017.
(Minor corrections to this article have been made by the author on 26 October 2017)