Echaar gets orders for CI flexo presses

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Kirti Panchal and Ramesh Panchal of Echaar
Kirti Panchal and Ramesh Panchal of Echaar during the open house (Image:PSA)

Packaging machine manufacturer Echaar saw its order book swell as the flexible packaging industry warmed up to its CI flexo presses at the company’s open house at Ambernath near Mumbai from 13 to 20 April. Kirti Panchal, managing director, Echaar, revealed this to Packaging South Asia during the open house for demonstrating its newest product – the Flexomaster HR500 CI flexo press.

“We expect to sell a minimum of three CI flexo presses by the end of FY2023. Deal signings include one Flexodelight and one Flexosmart press. We received a very healthy response for the Flexomaster during the open house from our informed customers. Serious discussions are on with several potential customers for the Flexomaster HR500 press demonstrated at the open house and we expect a deal by year-end. As you know, Kolkata-based Kalyani Packaging is already running our 400 meters a minute Flexodelight press,” Panchal said. 

open house at Echaar
Converter and brand owners at the open house keenly witness the Flexomaster HR500 demonstration
(Image: PSA)

The Flexomaster HR500 performed at its rated speed of 500 meters a minute using Kodak Flexcel NX plates with both water and solvent-based inks. According to Panchal and as witnessed in the demonstrations, the press has a very quick changeover time because it integrates Easylock – a patented technology of Echaar’s Italian partner, CT Service SRLS. Other highlights of the press include a carbon fiber doctor chamber, a full auto wash system, heavy-duty turrets on both unwinder and rewinder, and an automatic reel lifter. 

Echaar collaborated with CT Service SRLS. owned by Claudio Maggio an ex-founder and director of Uteco. A veteran of the flexo printing industry, Maggio has worked with some of the leading CI flexo press manufacturers in Italy.

In December 2020, Echaar conducted an open house to demonstrate its Flexodelight HL 400 CI press that was sold and installed at Kalyani Packaging in Kolkata. With a speed of 400 meters a minute, the Flexodelight HL400 has a CI drum diameter of 1850mm with Hestalloy coatings and eight print stations. With a web of 1350mm and a print width of 1300mm, the Flexodelight prints on LDPE & HDPE, PET, BOPP, and paper using both solvent and water-based inks.

To offer CI flexo presses to all segments of the flexible packaging market, Echaar has designed and built the Flexosmart CI press for running at 300 meters a minute. The Flexosmart press is nearly ready and will be demonstrated at another open house later this year. 

Echaar open house gets an interactive response

The Echaar open house for the Flexomaster HR500 CI flexo press received an excellent response as many enthusiastic converters and brand owners were keen to witness the demonstrations and give their inputs and feedback. There is considerable support for the company from the fast-growing flexible packaging industry wishing it to succeed in its engineering and machine building efforts. 

“We got a really good response during all the days of the open house which was much bigger than the one we organized for Flexodelight HL 400 press. We ran the press at the maximum speed of 500 meters per minute. We successfully demonstrated that our new press can perform both surface and reverse print at the maximum speed,” Panchal noted.

Sample of flexible packaging
Samples of flexible packaging produces in the Flexomaster demos (Image: PSA)

Packaging South Asia spoke to officials from major flexible packaging converters who attended the open house to get their feedback about the press. “I found the press to be very versatile. The most impressive part was the stability and rigidity of the machine. Also, the drying mechanism between the stations is a very unique one. Ink leakage is a big challenge in flexo presses and it seems this issue has been controlled to a great extent in the Flexomaster HR500. I would rate this machine 7.5/10,” says Shivaji Jadhav of Parakh Flexipacks, one of the leading flexible packaging users of CI flexo presses in the country.

Bapan Sengupta of Huhtamaki India also attended the open house and appreciated the made for appropriate safety and protection features built into the very fast machine. Impressed, he said, “The power backup feature is something I found very interesting about the Flexomaster HR500. If there is a sudden power failure when the press is running, there is a danger of damaging the press. The power backup feature ensures the machine, as well as the material, are safe. This will be very helpful for smaller converters. Also, Echaar’s core advantage is their expertise in precision tool making as they are supplying critical tools and components to many hi-tech industries. This is a big advantage when it comes to manufacturing CI flexo presses.”

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We have received similar positive feedback so far from at least two other experts who attended the demonstrations. They are all praised for the engineering and machine building while appreciating that the company is bound to master some of the finer points of flexographic CI printing if it continues to listen to industry experts and its customers. 

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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