W&H India upbeat on Indian packaging 

Maintaining packaging supplies in the Covid-19 lockdown 

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W&H-Aventus automated FFS bagging and filling solutions such as the Topas are gaining traction in the Indian market

We recently discussed the global coronavirus pandemic, which is affecting everyone and presenting the greatest challenges to individuals and economies across the globe with Anuj Sahni general manager Sales & Marketing of Windmoller & Holscher India. Based in New Delhi, Sahni said, “The pandemic and lockdown may affect the projected economic growth in India to some extent, however as optimists, at W&H India we are hoping that as in every dark cloud, there is a silver lining. We want to salute all our customers and the whole flexible packaging industry. They have been at the forefront of serving the public by supplying materials to keep the essential products supply chain running. They also motivate us to achieve new heights in terms of serving the industry with innovative ideas for support.”

W&H, as an organization, is confident in its age-old legacy of customer focus and employee care. It is determined to emerge strongly from the current challenging situation as well. The company is making sure that its customers get the best available support, although there are severe restrictions to movement across the country and even worldwide. Several measures have been taken.

24/7 hotline and Visual Assistance with Data Glass

The company’s hotline services for providing round the clock 24/7, 365 days support via telephone and remote service modules have been available for years. But these have become much more relevant and critical in these unusual times with severe movement and physical contact constraints.

W&H engineering and service experts have a powerful new tool called Visual Assistance that offers a direct view of the machine and seamless communication with the machine operator through an App and Data Glasses. The service engineer in his remote location can see over the internet, what the operator next to the machine sees, raising the bandwidth of visual understanding and hotline support to another level.

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The W&H-Aventus Topas inline system includes stacking the filled sacks on palettes

The W&H Express Manufacturing Team for Spare Parts based in Germany has been fully operational in offering its expertise. The focus of the W&H support system remains on the most efficient and secure production of its customers.

Motivated by customers

Sahni says, “We feel that all of us in the packaging community are lucky that our industry can serve the public while it also benefits by staying active and productive. Most of the company’s flexible packaging and other customers are suppliers of packaging materials for essential items, including food and pharmaceuticals. They have contributed to the continued functioning of the supply chain and have managed good running capacities despite several restrictions in the workforce and the availability of raw materials.

“While the overall situation is difficult, W&H India believes that for packaging, there will be a positive impact in the Indian market in the middle and long term. The company’s committed dispatches to India this April concluded with customers keeping their faith in positive outcomes for the industry in the midterm. Hats off to all the flexible packaging converters for managing the show despite so many restrictions!”

No-touch automation

Sahni also believes that the ‘No touch’ sentiment or culture will grow and help the flexible packaging business, as this would also be a demand from packaging consumers. It would further push automation concepts like Packaging 4.0, “We already see a lot of interest in this direction globally. The demand for higher levels of automation in the packaging industry will also increase. We are engaged in several discussions in these directions with our Indian customers, and there are several examples already in the market. W&H has delivered several machines to converters here with the highest level of integration wherein all the components on the machines are fully integrated, allowing the machines to talk to the outside world as a single unit.”

W&H’s FFS bagging and woven sack solutions with much higher automation are also gaining traction in the Indian market. Sahni says, “Our solutions for woven sacks have helped automate the bag making process for cement and rice bags with minimal human contact and labor dependence. We also see FFS bagging solutions for polymers grow with fully automatic bag forming and palletizing systems available. This level of automation means no human contact while the bag is formed, filled, palletized, and loaded on trucks.
Even though travel is restricted and this year’s trade fairs such as Interpack are postponed to next year, W&H is keen to keep the unique trade fair spirit and experience alive. To this end, it has organized the ‘W&H Says Hi to the Future’ Virtual expo – a live online event on 24 and 25 June 2020. Those interested can register at https://www.wh.group/int/en/company/virtual_expo/

Sahni reiterates, “With a world where everybody finds it very difficult to predict what will happen, we see the flexible packaging industry working actively and our customers stretching themselves to the limit and staying positive. We are motivated by this and proud to be a part of this industry.

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.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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Editor of Indian Printer and Publisher since 1979 and Packaging South Asia since 2007. Trained as an offset printer and IBM 360 computer programmer. Active in the movement to implement Indian scripts for computer-aided typesetting. Worked as a consultant and trainer to the Indian print and newspaper industry. Visiting faculty of IDC at IIT Powai in the 1990s. Also founder of IPP Services, Training and Research and has worked as its principal industry researcher since 1999. Author of book: Miracle of Indian Democracy.

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