Shilp Gravures achieves best in class Esko XPS certification

Shilp is the first Esko-accredited platemaking specialist in India

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Shilp Gravures Office
The Esko CDI and XPS Crystal platemaking system at Shilp Gravures

Shilp Gravures, the Gujarat-based gravure cylinder and flexographic platemaking specialist, has become the first company in India to receive best in class certification under the XPS Crystal Program from Esko. One of Asia’s largest gravure cylinder makers, Shilp Gravures moved into flexographic plate manufacturing in 2008. Having worked with Esko and used the company’s integrated software and hardware solutions for more than 25 years, the company installed the industry leading Esko CDI Crystal and XPS plate imager and exposure solution at its facility in Rakanpur, near Ahmedabad, Gujarat.

Shilp Gravures
The Esko CDI and XPS Crystal platemaking system at Shilp Gravures.

“We have worked with the team at Shilp Gravures for a number of years, since before they moved into flexo plate manufacturing,” said Murad Kalal, Esko Regional Sales manager. “Following their commitment and investment to digitize and automate their processes to ensure the best quality plates for their customers, it is only fitting that they are the first company in India to achieve this certification.

“The XPS Crystal Program was developed to recognize those businesses that consistently produce superior plates, which lead to superior flexographic print quality,” added Murad. “This certification underlines the professionalism and dedication to excellence of the Shilp Gravures flexographic team and recognizes their commitment to producing the very highest quality plates.”

Gajanan Bhavsar, Marketing director with Shilp Gravures, said the company has worked hard to develop a strong relationship and reputation during its more than 30 years in business. “This has led to us being a leading supplier to the industry,” said Bhavsar. “We have a very strong, experienced workforce that understands our clients’ requirements and adapts quickly to new trends and technologies. While this makes us a preferred supplier of plates, it also means that we are under constant pressure to deliver large volumes of quality plates, as quickly as possible.”

In order to continue meeting the ever-increasing customer demand, to further improve productivity, and in turn customer satisfaction levels, Shilp Gravures sought to adopt a more efficient workflow. “We were looking to maximize output in terms of productivity while also reducing errors, waste and operator time,” said Bhavsar.

He explained that the combination of the Esko CDI Crystal 5080 with the XPS Crystal 5080 enabled Shilp Gravures to streamline its flexo platemaking with a far more efficient workflow. “The CDI Crystal 5080 XPS delivers huge benefits to us,” said Bhavsar. “We have reduced manual steps, reduced errors which means less plate waste, and reduced the amount of operator time,” he said. “Now instead of needing to send a flexo plate through as many as seven individual manual steps, a coordinated, linear process makes things incredibly simple, and fast. We can now expose six to eight color wide-web flexo plates at a time.”

“With our complete Esko set-up, we are able to supply flexo plates even faster with unmatched relief, image consistency and perfectly formed flat-top dots,” he said. “Achieving the gold standard Crystal XPS Certification was the logical next step for us.”

The XPS Crystal Certification Program is open to all users of the innovative Esko XPS Crystal exposure unit, the award-winning technology which optimally combines UV main and back exposure, using LEDs that always emit consistent UV light. As a certified Esko partner, Shilp Gravures benefits from benchmarking and identification of best practice around quality control processes and production efficiency. Certification also enables the business to promote an extra level of quality assurance to customers, as well as providing reassurance of best practice in production processes and communicating the consistent quality of final print.

“The XPS Crystal Certification Program was developed to ensure the entire supply chain can meet the exacting needs and requirements of brands and converters in terms of predictable and accurate plate quality and the highest plate making consistency available, for any given photopolymer,” added Kalal. “Shilp Gravures is leading the way in delivering to these highest of standards, and we are thrilled to be able to recognize that through this certification program.”

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.

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